[Taxacom] Integrative taxonomy

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sat Jul 31 21:51:53 CDT 2010

Hi, Stephen.

The fragmentation has already happened, which is the point of the FIZ article. There are tree-based and non-tree-based taxonomists, molecular and non-molecular taxonomists. To slow the fragmentation and move towards unity, the authors suggest

(a) that taxonomists of all persuasions join the growing consensus that what we want to denominate with Linnean taxon names are lineages in an explicit evolutionary framework,

(b) that evidence for such nameable entities can come from morphological, molecular, ecological, behavioural, etc studies [and they forgot biogeographical],

(c) that this information needs to be integrated to make a sound scientific case for a distinctive evolutionary lineage (integration by your 'sensible' and my 'knowledgeable' taxonomists; I wrote 'real' at first...),

(d) that we need a temporary, public storage place for such entities while evidence is accumulating.

Not a bad argument, IMO. In fact, I can see its value for morphology-only taxonomy as well. I recently published a monograph on a Tasmanian millipede genus with 19 species, 18 new. It took 2 years to gather the extra specimens and the character data. Some of the species were 'done' before others. Those 'done' ones could have become candidate Tasmaniosoma spp for conservation and other purposes before I published formally, if there were a mechanism for doing so. The split here isn't between molecular and non-molecular taxonomy, it's between Code-valid and provisional taxonomy.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
03 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570

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