[Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory

Geoffrey Read gread at actrix.gen.nz
Tue Nov 16 03:39:10 CST 2010

Stephen Thorpe loves finding and pointing out errors made by others, that
much we know about him. However, here he is unwisely pontificating
publicly about a book which has not yet been published, but which
apparently he has been allowed to preview.  Perhaps he would like to make
clear to the list how this came about legitimately, and tell us how
voicing his opinions of it internationally, and pointing out its perceived
flaws now, is absolutely not the breach of trust that it appears to be.

The publisher is not distributing the volume until January*, so
unfortunately the rest of the world cannot yet evaluate the worth of his
nitpickings -now somewhat backtracked upon.

* http://www.cup.canterbury.ac.nz/catalogue/nz_inventory_bio_Vol2.shtml

Geoff Read

On Tue, November 16, 2010 Stephen Thorpe wrote:

> yes, Penny did a very good job with the Collembola, and had there been
> someone
> like her for every group, thinks would be pretty near ideal. Part of the
> reason
> why the N.Z. Collembola list will not easily become out of date is due
> to the
> lack of anybody actively working on them much. My point was really just
> about
> sections involving taxa that I know the N.Z. fauna of very well, and
> seeing
> certain stuff and thinking "where the heck did they get that from???"
> and not
> being given enough info to be able to verify or refute it. Just one
> somewhat
> minor example is the longhorn genus Blosyropus which was originally
> thought to
> be a lepturine, but subsequently found to be a cerambycine. Now I see it
> listed
> back (WITHOUT COMMENT) as a lepturine again! One step forward, two steps
> back.
> It would actually change the biogeography of the subfamily a lot if N.Z.
> had
> native ones ...
> so, yes, let me be perfectly clear that there are no problems with the
> Collembola list that I am aware of ...
> Stephen
> ________________________________
> From: Penelope Greenslade <p.greenslade at ballarat.edu.au>
> To: Chris Thompson <xelaalex at cox.net>; Peter DeVries
> <pete.devries at gmail.com>;
> Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> Cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Tue, 16 November, 2010 7:04:31 PM
> Subject: Re: taxacom NZ Inventory
> Re: the NZ inventory.  I wrote the chapter on Collembola, a group I have
> been working on
> for over 40 years. Also I had it refereed by a  younger colleague who
> spent about ten years in New Zealand and who
> also works on Collembola.  As I reviewed the text again only a few
> months ago, it is hardly out of date.  No data
> in it has not been published already. Relevant synonyms were included
> but certainly only those that relate to New Zealand species. There are
> other web sites that give full synonyms for widespread species so there
> was no point in including them all.
> For me as an unsalaried researcher to have prepared an electronic
> catalogue which allowed continuous updating
> would have been impossible because of time and other constraints.  Also
> I doubt that I am an exception looking at the list of authors.
> So, I do think that Stephen Thorpe's generalisations were somewhat
> overstated.
> Penelope Greenslade
> Senior Research Fellow
> Centre for Environmental Management
> School of Science and Engineering
> University of Ballarat
> Mt Helen Campus, University Drive
> Mt Helen Victoria Australia
> PO Box 663, Ballarat, Victoria 3353, Australia
> (61) 03 5327 6205
>>>> Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> 16/11/2010 9:39 am >>>
>>what can you do when there are NO peers
> a good example of this is rolling off the presses as we speak, in the
> form of
> the NZ Inventory of Biodiversity, and particularly the chapter on
> Hexapoda. Each
> of the sections were written by an expert on that particular group
> (actually,
> not even that is true, but we won't go there), and they all acted as
> peer
> reviewers for each other. But hang on, what does a lepidopterist know
> about NZ
> Coleoptera, etc. etc. ??? Not much, and the sections are all just
> details on the
> NZ fauna of each group. So, effectively there were no peers, and
> nothing much
> for them to review apart from details on groups that they don't know
> much about!
> Worse is that there are many records of undescribed taxa etc. given
> without any
> indication of the basis for those records, so the records are
> effectively
> irrefutable and unverifiable. Is this science? As a hard copy, it is
> already out
> of date, so wouldn't it be far better to develop the wiki system for
> this kind
> of checklist stuff? I do not particularly value
> unverifiable/irrefutable
> information of this kind written in stone. The user is unable to
> distinguish
> errors and omissions from "oh, they must know something I don't which
> makes what
> they say correct", particularly since it is not a synonymic checklist

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