[Taxacom] A simple solution?

Alec McClay alec.mcclay at shaw.ca
Mon Nov 15 16:07:54 CST 2010

At 11:00 AM 2010.11.15, dipteryx at freeler.nl wrote:

>What the "client" also does not want is a classification, except  as 
>a method for browsing. Why else could the CoL (followed by others) 
>have its own version / just a plain wrong rendition of the Cronquist 
>classification (this has been around for decades, so the aberration 
>cannot be caused by newness or surprise)? Nobody cares. To the 
>"client" a classification is just a quaint idiosynchrasy.
and also
>I don't see it. The client does not care about an "index of  life": 
>he wants actual (accurate) information on the actual organism(s) he 
>is dealing with. The (religious?) pursuit of
>a Tree-of-Life does not concern him in any professional capacity / 
>for any practical purpose: a Tree-of_Life is good for entertainment 
>only, a headline and few paragraphs in the Saturday/Sunday paper.

This may be true of many users but certainly not all. Biological 
control researchers make increasing use of phylogenetic information 
when designing test plant lists for host specificity determination 
(see e.g. Briese, D.T., and A. Walker. 2008. Choosing the right 
plants to test: The host-specificity of Longitarsus sp. (Coleoptera: 
Chrysomelidae) a potential biological control agent of Heliotropium 
amplexicaule. Biological Control 44: 271-285.) It does actually make 
a difference to us whether Scrophulariaceae is monophyletic or 
polyphyletic, or whether Jacobaea is really part of Senecio. So there 
is at least one tiny constituency within your user community that 
cares about trees as well as names, and I suspect there may be others 
out there.

I will now return to following this debate from the sidelines, with 
awe and fascination and a vague, dawning sense that there is actually 
some progress towards a consensus.

Alec McClay, Ph.D., P. Biol.

McClay Ecoscience
15 Greenbriar Crescent
Sherwood Park, Alberta
Canada T8H 1H8

Phone (780) 464-4962
Mobile (780) 953-4077
Fax       (780) 410-0496
Skype alec.mcclay
Email <mailto:alec.mcclay at shaw.ca>alec.mcclay at shaw.ca or 
<mailto:biocontrol at mcclay-ecoscience.com>biocontrol at mcclay-ecoscience.com

Biological control, invasive species, insect-plant ecology  

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