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

dipteryx at freeler.nl dipteryx at freeler.nl
Thu Sep 23 09:22:30 CDT 2010

Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Redhead, Scott
Verzonden: do 23-9-2010 14:42

> 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.  

The Mycobank-website states "Total number of species: 405890" which 
would mean approximately equal numbers of plants versus 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.

Yes, there is something of a hierarchy: when talking biology nobody 
overlooks big mammals or brightly coloured birds, but it all goes 
downhill from there. The smaller an organism is the more it tend to
get overlooked. 

Still, it would be very regrettable if mycologists decided to split 
off and start a separate Code of their own. For one thing it requires
a certain critical mass of nomenclaturally-aware participants to 
succesfully maintain a Code of nomenclature, and there are not all 
that many such participants now. But clearly, the examples in the 
ICBN do not reflect that there is an equal number of plants and fungi.
* * *

> 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. 

Yes, that is a very good point. However, the website of the ING has 
not missed this point, and is now searching the various relevant 
databases, along with the ING proper (sensu stricto).

Also, it looks to me that, even if a split-off should happen, it 
could be hugely destabilising to decide that fungal and plant names 
would no longer inhabit the same nomenclatural universe (and would 
no longer be homonyms of each other, with lots of "later homonyms" 
suddenly becoming "legitimate"!).

Paul van Rijckevorsel

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