[Taxacom] Organism names in the news - Plant name housekeeping

Redhead, Scott Scott.Redhead at AGR.GC.CA
Thu Sep 23 07:42:22 CDT 2010


Dear All:

We all should know how difficult it is to keep track of synonyms and therefore what a useful contribution the Plant List will be. And we should be experienced enough to know that 'the press' often plays with wording or takes subjects out of context to sell more copy. At least the list received some publicity and the press release by Kew and  Missouri botanic gardens specified the limitations that included weaker coverage of plants with generic names in the second half of the alphabet and in SE Asia, in addition to no coverage for ferns and similar plants or algae.

What now strikes me as a mycologist as notable in the curent Taxacom discussion, is how in general an estimated 1.5 million fungi (many with thousands of names and synonyms) are overlooked, possibly because their names are governed by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Zoo lists (which would be useful), prokaryote lists, and plant lists will not cover fungi.  

It is a frequently made lapse in light hearted discussions that reflects how easily such an oversight occurs among biologists, which is why some mycologists wish to raise the profile of fungal systematics.

see:

Mycobank  http://www.mycobank.org/

Index Fungorum http://www.indexfungorum.org/names/names.asp

Because plants and fungi are covered by the same Code (for now) these sites should be consulted in addition to the Plant List for possible homonyms prior to publishing a new plant name. 


Scott 


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of bti at dsmz.de
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2010 1:03 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Organism names in the news - Plant name housekeeping

Tony,
In the areas of virus and prokaryote names the code compliant names  
have been tracked for a number of decades, but we simply don't get the  
same press coverage because if it's already done it is not headline  
news ;-) Perhaps we should stop doing it, wait ten years and then  
start all over again with Science and Nature articles.
As Arthur Chapman is aware his lists are of known species, otherwise  
places like Australia would be almost sterile with regards the number  
of named prokaryotes known to occur there.

Brian
PS be nice if the databases that aggregate names were to also pick up  
on what has been done already.

Quoting Tony.Rees at csiro.au:

> Dear all,
>
> Apart from the Guardian missing the point in the main (perhaps the  
> article should be entitled "Guardian reporter discovers synonyms"),  
> the main part of the article appears to be drawn from this press  
> release:
>
> http://www.kew.org/about-kew/press-media/press-releases-kew/kew-and-missouri-announce-plant-list/
>
> This states that a version of "The Plant List" will aim to be  
> published in the last quarter of 2010 i.e. presumably some time in  
> the next 3+ months and also:
>
> "the result will be far from perfect but it will be the most  
> comprehensive list to date, will include almost all scientific names  
> at species level that have been published for plants. At least 80%  
> of the names in the list will be clearly flagged either as accepted  
> (the correct name for a known plant species) or as a synonym with a  
> pointer to the correct name."
>
> To me this is much more significant than the headline "Scientists  
> prune list of world's plants" which according to Google already has  
> been reproduced over 18,000 times in 3 days...
>
> Also of interest is the quotation reportedly from Alan Paton that  
> the number of valid species names for flowering plants is likely to  
> be around 400,000. If this figure is reliable then this is an  
> increase of some 48,000 on the value provided by Paton et al. (2008)  
> and used in producing estimates of total named extant species such  
> as Arthur Chapman's revised (2009) document, bringing his previous  
> total from just under 1.9m to close to 1.95m.
>
> Now all we need is "The Animal List" and we will all be happy :) (as  
> bacteria and maybe also viruses already have their house/s in order)
>
> Regards
>
> Tony Rees
> Manager, Divisional Data Centre,
> CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,
> GPO Box 1538,
> Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
> Ph: 0362 325318 (Int: +61 362 325318)
> Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000)
> e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au
> Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/
> Biodiversity informatics research activities:  
> http://www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre/biodiversity.htm
> Personal info:  
> http://www.fishbase.org/collaborators/collaboratorsummary.cfm?id=1566
>
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
>> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of ICZN-EM
>> Sent: Wednesday, 22 September 2010 4:39 AM
>> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Subject: [Taxacom] Organism names in the news - Plant name housekeeping
>>
>> Somewhat surprisingly, an article on plant taxonomy and nomenclature
>> landed
>> on the front page of The Guardian yesterday (this is arguably the UK's
>> best
>> newspaper, parallel to the New York Times). You can read it here:
>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/19/scientists-prune-world-
>> plant-l
>> ist?
>>
>> with this linking to all the comments:
>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/19/scientists-prune-world-
>> plant-l
>> ist?showallcomments=true#comment-fold
>>
>> These make some interesting reading, as of course a few people take this
>> in
>> flaming, incendiary directions, and a few commentators put a more accurate
>> spin on this story. Some of you might like to fight the good fight here,
>> as
>> the Guardian readership is very large.
>>
>> Overall, the message I think we should take from this is the timeliness of
>> getting our global names house in order and on-line. We finally have the
>> tools to do it and it needs to be done in very short order. The world is
>> beginning to expect it.
>>
>> Bring on ZooBank.
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>>
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>
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>



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