[Taxacom] Ecological Errors Exposed [ was:The role of ADBC (NSF national digitizationsol...]

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Wed Sep 29 21:55:51 CDT 2010


On 9/29/2010 10:14 PM, Bob Mesibov wrote:

> The wider public also clearly derives benefits from the work of taxonomists: see any of the taxonomy/biodiversity promotions of the last X years for lists and case histories. 'a remotely comprehensive or reliable resource on the world's biota' is not high on the list of public benefits that taxonomists are aiming for, or they would be dropping all their other work to labour for the acronyms. Taxonomists deliver benefits more directly in their specialties. They do it by adapting what they know to particular problems or queries, and not by stripping what they know down to names and name uses to suit gigantic nomenclatural databases. Or have I misread you again?

* this might be the place to insert this abstract (apologies if this 
article has already been TAXACOM'd).

I will say that one time when I was acknowledged as what could have been 
scored in this as a taxonomic "authority" I'd never seen any specimens, 
none were saved, and I have no idea which species may have been studied...

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Subject: Ecological Errors Exposed
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 08:23:21 -0500
From: CNAH <jcollins at cnah.org>
To: bckcdb at istar.ca

CNAH ANNOUNCEMENT: The Center for North American Herpetology, Lawrence, 
Kansas - http://www.cnah.org 29 September 2010

Alejandro Bortolus. ERROR CASCADES IN THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES: THE 
UNWANTED CONSEQUENCES OF USING BAD TAXONOMY IN ECOLOGY. 2008. Ambio 
37(2): 114-118

Abstract: Why do ecologists seem to underestimate the consequences of 
usingbad taxonomy? Is it because the consequences of doing so have not 
been yetscrutinized well enough? Is it because these consequences are 
irrelevant? In this paperI examine and discuss these questions, focusing 
on the fact that because ecological works provide baseline information 
for many other biological disciplines, they play a key role in spreading 
and magnifying the abundance of a variety of conceptual and 
methodological errors. Although overlooked and underestimated, this 
cascade-like process originates from trivial taxonomical problems that 
affect hypotheses and ideas, but it soon shifts into a profound 
practical problem affecting our knowledge aboutnature, as well as the 
ecosystem structure and functioning and the efficiency of human health 
care programs. In order to improve the intercommunication among 
disciplines, I propose a set of specific requirements that peer-reviewed 
journals should request from all authors, and I also advocate for urgent 
institutional and financial support directed at reinvigorating the 
formation of scientific collections that integrate taxonomy and ecology.

A pdf of this article is available from the CNAH PDF Library at
http://www.cnah.org/pdf_files/1612.pdf

-- 

fred schueler
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          Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre - http://pinicola.ca/bmnhc.htm
now in the field on the Thirty Years Later Expedition -
http://fragileinheritance.org/projects/thirty/thirtyintro.htm
Daily Paintings - http://karstaddailypaintings.blogspot.com/
     RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
   on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
    (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca/
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