[Taxacom] Integrative taxonomy

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat Jul 31 23:07:40 CDT 2010

to recap slightly, I am wholly in favour of a properly integrated single system 
of taxonomy/nomenclature, which takes into account DNA and whatever else 
evidence, though I think it will be a "challenge" to keep all the elements 
balanced appropriately. I am mainly diagreeing with the "candidate species" 
proposal, as I don't think it solves anything, but just adds a new level of 
complexity. I suspect you are thinking of these "candidate species" from your 
perspective as a balanced taxonomist, so you are thinking that you can ignore 
the names created by the gel-jockeys, and all will be well. However, what I can 
foresee happening is this: the DNA crew will ignore your names, and use only 
their names (based on DNA only), and since they are the teachers pets of 
managers and funders, their names will grow in perceived importance at the 
expense of yours ... the tentative names will become THE names ...

From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Cc: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Sun, 1 August, 2010 3:47:26 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Integrative taxonomy

Hi, Stephen.

"As long as we all have to work within the same (ICZN/ICBN) system, there is 
some hope ..."

We already have DNA-only species appearing within that system, sometimes 
invalidly (that African lizards paper this year). The danger is that the two 
independent and reciprocally antagonistic streams of research *within* this Code 
system will separate entirely, or will fission into a traditional, Code-based 
system and a new, non-Code molecular system, both vying for attention from 
'end-users' of taxonomy.

One stream (the one you favour) ignores DNA-only evidence and complains that 
molecular taxonomists haven't a clue about the real world outside their labs. 
The other stream is suspicious of anything other than hard genetic evidence for 
lineage separation. One stream is slow, badly funded and reliant on the 
accumulation of knowledge and experience over many years. The other stream is 
fast, well funded and reliant on nothing but data that a complete nitwit can 
generate overnight.

Which stream will generate more species faster? Which will get more attention 
and 'usage'?

I get the feeling you'd prefer to ignore molecular taxonomy entirely. If not, 
perhaps you could suggest a way to integrate it with traditional taxonomy other 
than the way suggested in the FIZ article.
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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