[Taxacom] Systematic Biology textbook -- I feel a challenge coming on here (can I risk a smily face??)

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Thu Nov 8 20:06:22 CST 2012


I concur with the first paragraph  and in general principle I agree that
morphology (really morpho-genetics) and and molecular genetics have equal
credibility in terms of being potentially informative. But for me it is the
way that information (about relationships for example) may
be constructed for either source that generates issues over credibility. I
have taken a position on this and of course everyone is free to take
whatever position they may make, whether for or against.

John Grehan

On Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 10:55 PM, Ashley Nicholas <Nicholasa at ukzn.ac.za>wrote:

>  John -- I agree with you.
>
>  If you have read that other email I sent to Taxacom you will see that I
> believe all levels of organismal organization and interaction (possibly
> even quantum aspects) carry important information on how organisms manifest
> and evolve. I do not think any of them should be ignored. First and second
> year students cope better with morphological aspects as this resonates more
> with their world view -- morphology has a very meaningful context for them.
> By third year, however, I find they are able to understand the more
> esoteric molecular systematics and cladistics, and so I introduce this to
> them at that stage. By postgrad level they have the skills to critic
> evaluate each discipline and come to their own conclusions. Interestingly,
> three of my past and present PhD students have done this and opted to leave
> molecular systematics and return to morphology. I personally like to do
> them both as they give insightful information -- I don't intend to abandon
> either perspective.
>
>  I am all for a holistic understanding of organisms and organismal
> diversity. Why have a blinkered view of organisms? Rather take off those
> blinkers [called molecules and monophyly] and see organisms in all their
> true and amazing multifaceted/multilevel glory. In my mind I hold both
> morphology and molecules in equal credibility -- both are useful as they
> give insight into what is happening at both the morphological and genetic
> level.
>
>  Ashley
>
>
>  ------------------------------
> *From:* John Grehan [calabar.john at gmail.com]
> *Sent:* 08 November 2012 19:23
> *To:* Ashley Nicholas
> *Cc:* taxacom
> *Subject:* Re: [Taxacom] Systematic Biology textbook -- I feel a
> challenge coming on here (can I risk a smily face??)
>
>    "Perhaps in your country the situation is different and you would give
> Soltis et al. to a first year student. But don’t judge the rest of the
> world by your standards"
>
> I wasn't suggesting that. I was objecting to the implication that
> molecules was for the 'mature' student as if morphology was for the
> 'immature' student - that molecules were at some higher level of knowledge
> while morphology was at a lower level of knowledge.
>
> John Grehan
>
>  On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 4:11 AM, Ashley Nicholas <Nicholasa at ukzn.ac.za>wrote:
>
>>  I feel a challenge here (can I risk a smily face??)
>>
>>
>>
>> *My comment had nothing to do with the scientific value or morphology
>> versus molecules and everything to do with teaching paradigms in a
>> developing country.*
>>
>>
>>
>> You try giving the Soltis et al. to a first year student who has just
>> come into varsity from a rural setting in which there was no electricity to
>> learn at night, no proper desks or even test tubes. Students who have had
>> the shade of a tree as their school room and who live in a world dominated
>> by a scientific language they don't fully understand. These students
>> understand morphology they live with it on a daily basis and the organisms
>> supplies many of their needs (needs many of us city dwellers don't even
>> comprehend). I would say that giving them Soltis et al. at this point would
>> be pretty superfluous -- however by third year, now equiped with the
>> content and skills needed, I think I would give Solitis et al. to these
>> more mature students. Perhaps in your country the situation is different
>> and you would give Soltis et al. to a first year student. But don’t judge
>> the rest of the world by your standards.
>>
>>
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Ashley
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:
>> taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of John Grehan
>> Sent: 08 November 2012 16:42
>> To: taxacom
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Systematic Biology textbook
>>
>>
>>
>> "Focused on the molecular -- for the more mature student"
>>
>>
>>
>> As if we morphologists are a little less 'mature'.
>>
>>
>>
>> John Grehan
>>
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 3:20 AM, Ashley Nicholas <Nicholasa at ukzn.ac.za
>> >wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> >  Hi Alan,
>>
>> >
>>
>> > I have used the following books for my Plant Systematic modules:
>>
>> >
>>
>> > WOODLAND, D.W. 2009. Contemporary Plat Systematics 4th edn. Andrew
>>
>> > University Press, Berrien Springs. ISBN 978-1-883925-64-2. [This is a
>>
>> > nice mix of practical and field botany and molecular systematics
>>
>> > Introduces students to the broad picture -- good level 2 & 3 textbook]
>>
>> >
>>
>> > SIMPSON, M.G. 2010. Plant Systematics. 2nd edn. Elsevier Academic Press:
>>
>> > Burlington. ISBN 978-0-12-374380-0. [This is a popular text book in
>>
>> > South Africa for years 2 to honours].
>>
>> >
>>
>> > JUDD, W.S., CAMPBELL, C.S., KELLOGG, E.A., STEVENS, P. & DONOGHUE, M.J.
>>
>> > 2007. Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach. Sinauer Associates :
>>
>> > Sunderland. ISBN-13: 9780878934072. [Excellent for Honours and
>>
>> > Postgrad teaching]
>>
>> >
>>
>> > SOLTIS, D.E., SOLTIS, P.E., ENDRESS, P.K. & CHASE, M.C. 2005.
>>
>> > Phylogeny and Evolution of Angiosperms. Sinauer Associates :
>>
>> > Sunderland. ISBN 0 87893
>>
>> > 817 6 [Focused on the molecular -- for the more mature student]
>>
>> >
>>
>> > I would be interested to see what other lecturers around the world are
>>
>> > using.
>>
>> >
>>
>> > Regards
>>
>> > Ashley
>>
>> >
>>
>> > ---------------------------------------------------
>>
>> > Ashley Nicholas (PhD)
>>
>> > Associate Professor & Curator Ward Herbarium School of Life Science,
>>
>> > Westville Campus University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001,
>>
>> > Durban, 4000, South Africa
>>
>> > Tel.:+27-31-260 7719 Fax.: +27-31-260 2029 nicholasa at ukzn.ac.za
>>
>> > ----------------------------------------------------
>>
>> > Empirical scientists do not deal with the truth, we deal with
>> hypotheses.
>>
>> > At their best these hypotheses are insightful and predictive, however,
>>
>> > nonetheless experience has shown that they are often only a poor
>>
>> > approximation of reality and therefor the truth. - Ashley Nicholas
>>
>> > --------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> >
>>
>> > -----Original Message-----
>>
>> > From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:
>>
>> > taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Alan Harvey
>>
>> > Sent: 07 November 2012 20:31
>>
>> > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>
>> > Subject: [Taxacom] Systematic Biology textbook
>>
>> >
>>
>> > Greetings,
>>
>> >
>>
>> > After a ten-year hiatus, I'm going to be teaching Systematic Biology
>>
>> > this spring to a mix of graduate and upper division undergraduate
>>
>> > students. The class itself is a mix of lecture and lab, and I've been
>>
>> > looking over a few recently published books as potential texts. Wiley
>>
>> > and Lieberman (2011) looks like a solid candidate for lecture topics;
>>
>> > Barry Hall's book seemed promising as a hands-on guide, except for its
>>
>> > exclusive focus on molecular data (not sure how I missed that).
>>
>> >
>>
>> > Anyone have any experiences with these, or others, as course textbooks?
>>
>> > Any suggestions or recommendations would be most appreciated.
>>
>> >
>>
>> > Cheers,
>>
>> >
>>
>> > Alan
>>
>> >
>>
>> > --
>>
>> > Alan Harvey
>>
>> > Professor of Biology
>>
>> > Georgia Southern University
>>
>> > Statesboro, GA 30460-8042
>>
>> > (912) 478-5784
>>
>> > fax (912) 478-0845
>>
>> > http://www.bio.georgiasouthern.edu/bio-home/harvey/index.html
>>
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>>
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