[Taxacom] Taxonomy (and ICZN) mention in The Scientist

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Tue Mar 8 07:36:27 CST 2011


I for one have no problem with molecular data having a role in species
delimitation and I certainly agree that their boundaries can be fuzzy in
one way or another (not surprising for evolving entities), although the
fuzziness may be more biological than spatial. But the problematic
divide that remains is the widespread claim that molecular similarity is
the falsifier of morphological (morphogenetic) similarity, and that
somehow any morphological phylogeny is suspect unless supported by
molecular DNA similarity.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Roderic Page
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 8:01 AM
To: TAXACOM
Cc: Bob Mesibov
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Taxonomy (and ICZN) mention in The Scientist

I'm probably going to regret this, but here goes. I'd suggest that the  
divide is not between morphological taxonomy and molecular taxonomy,  
but:

a) between those who have realised that "species" can be fuzzy and may  
require sophisticated tools for their "discovery" (be it with  
molecules or morphology) and those that expect the world to provide  
nice, clean, macroscopic characters to delimit taxa. The world doesn't  
always work this way, yet we can still do science.

b) between databases that underpin actual research (NCBI) and those  
that don't (e.g., CoL, EOL).

I'd lost track of this debate, but if anyone, like me wants to catch  
up, the original paper is http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.0662,  
the critique http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.1330, and the reply
http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.1864 
.

The three new taxa have NCBI tax_ids 797295-797297, so you can find  
them here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?mode=Info&id=797
295
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?mode=Info&id=797
296
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?mode=Info&id=797
297

(look at all the lovely data attached to them: sequences, specimen  
codes, literature...).

Regards

Rod




On 8 Mar 2011, at 10:25, Bob Mesibov wrote:

> Nearly 9 months behind the discussion of the work on Taxacom (search  
> 'New lizard species'), with posts from ICZN Commissioners, which  
> flourised 5 months before the multi-author attack on the paper in  
> Proc Roy Soc B.
>
> What's really interesting is to track the 3 new 'species' names  
> through the usual channels. They aren't in CoL, EoL, ION or ZooBank,  
> and they're listed as synonyms of Hemidactylus fasciatus in The  
> Reptile Database (http://www.reptile-database.org/).
>
> However, you can find the new 'species' names and a taxonomic ID for  
> each in NCBI and UniProt. Do I remember someone worrying about a  
> potential divide, between morphological taxonomy and molecular  
> taxonomy?
> -- 
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
> School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
> Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
> Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570
>
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---------------------------------------------------------
Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792
AIM: rodpage1962 at aim.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage
Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com
Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html








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