[Taxacom] Draft Checklist of the Nonmarine Arthropods of Alaska now online

Robert Guralnick Robert.Guralnick at colorado.edu
Wed Aug 28 03:18:05 CDT 2013


 Donat et al. --- Numbers do matter, but I agree wholeheartedly that simply
counting species descriptions is not sufficient (...but perhaps necessary).
 What we really need on top of that is the ability to track rates of
redescriptions and understand the whole process.  I think there are some
ways to begin tackling that problem, at least for select groups.  Its very
thorny, however, as it requires not just dealing with names entering the
system but the names, changes to names, and changes to name
circumscriptions eg. taxon concepts separate from the name changes.

Best, Rob



On Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 2:08 AM, Donat Agosti <agosti at amnh.org> wrote:

> A list can be criticized, especially if it is linked to publications and
> even more to imaged, digitized type material. Thus even the numbers of such
> a list have more value than the guestimates of how many species we have
> that are floating around.
>
> d
>
>
>
> From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 10:05 AM
> To: Donat Agosti; 'TAXACOM taxacom'
> Cc: 'Roderic Page'
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Draft Checklist of the Nonmarine Arthropods of
> Alaska now online
>
>
>
> Don't get me wrong: having the basic list of names IS IMPORTANT, but
> knowing the number of items in the list probably isn't important ...
>
>
>
> Stephen
>
>
>
> From: Donat Agosti <agosti at amnh.org>
> To: 'TAXACOM taxacom' <Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>; ECN-L at listserv.unl.edu;
> ENTOMO-L at listserv.uoguelph.ca
> Cc: 'Stephen Thorpe' <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; 'Roderic Page' <
> r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk>
> Sent: Wednesday, 28 August 2013 7:58 PM
> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Draft Checklist of the Nonmarine Arthropods of
> Alaska now online
>
>
> But the very basic list of names, be it synonyms or not, doesn't exist.
> And that is the starting point for all the scientific work (eg synonymies,
> etc.).
>
> That is just the tragedy, that a list of species "is [not] a useful
> question".  Rather work up in the space and fix issues whenever they accrue
> because of the discovery of some more names that might be relevant
>
> Donat
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:
> taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe
> Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:53 AM
> To: Roderic Page; TAXACOM taxacom
> Cc: ECN-L at listserv.unl.edu; ENTOMO-L at listserv.uoguelph.ca
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Draft Checklist of the Nonmarine Arthropods of
> Alaska now online
>
> Well, my act is together, and I am doing just that, as fast as I can, on
> Wikispecies. For example, have a browse through
> http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cephaloplectinae
>
> The question "how many species have we described to date?" probably
> doesn't have a very meaningful or useful answer anyway. Given that many
> taxa are unrevised, the answer will include an unknown number of
> synonyms-to-be. I just don't see it as a useful question ...
>
> Stephen
>
> From: Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk>
> To: TAXACOM taxacom <Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Cc: ECN-L at listserv.unl.edu; ENTOMO-L at listserv.uoguelph.ca
> Sent: Wednesday, 28 August 2013 7:36 PM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Draft Checklist of the Nonmarine Arthropods of
> Alaska now online
>
>
> I for one find it extraordinary that in the early 21st century our field
> has failed to get its act together and provide the simple, basic services
> most users require of taxonomic names. A simple list of names, linked to
> variations (spellings, synonyms, etc.) and appropriate literature, so that
> anyone can check a name (or set of names) and see relevant supporting
> evidence.
>
> Our failure to do this means efforts to aggregate biodiversity data, be it
> taxonomic, genomic or geographic have to continually deal with a mess
> almost entirely of our own making.
>
> Recent commentary on the Costello et al. paper in Science "Can We Name
> Earth's Species Before They Go Extinct?"
> http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1230318showswe can't even adequately
> answer the question "how many species have we described to date?", never
> mind how many might remain to be described.
>
> Regards
>
> Rod
>
> On 28 Aug 2013, at 06:37, <Tony.Rees at csiro.au> <Tony.Rees at csiro.au> wrote:
>
> > Hi Derek,
> >
> > I am interested in your point below namely:
> >
> >> There should be a single online classification such as ITIS or
> >> Globalnames.org that whomever is an authority on a group can edit to
> >> update their taxa of interest. Databases could then use that name
> >> server as a service so that the changes would be available to all
> >> without anyone needing to do those thousands of keystrokes to update
> >> their databases.
> >
> > There is a precedent here in the marine domain - the World Register of
> Marine Species (WoRMS) maintains up-to-date global checklists for marine
> groups, maintained (theoretically) continuously by designated 'expert'
> custodians for different sectors, and provides a unique "aphia" (=WoRMS) ID
> for each taxonomic name, although as yet I do not believe there is a
> facility for external systems to automatically synchronize with the list;
> however that would be a logical end point to aim for. Currently I guess the
> nearest most complete equivalent for nonmarine groups is the Catalogue of
> Life partnership although last time I enquired they did not seem to have a
> commitment to stable IDs, also the CoL coverage is not yet complete for all
> groups. It is definitely a space in which the provision of
> synchronization/update services to remote machine clients would be
> beneficial...
> >
> > One could of course extend the WoRMS centralized model to all taxa
> (requiring perhaps a 10-fold increase in size) but then there is a question
> of who would host and fund it, also whether or not it would be realistic to
> replace the present loose affiliation of disparate, distributed / locally
> maintained systems with a single centrally managed one.
> >
> > Regards - Tony
> >
> > Dr Tony Rees
> > Manager | Divisional Data Centre
> > Marine and Atmospheric Research
> > CSIRO
> > E Tony Rees at csiro.au T +61 3 6232 5318 CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric
> > Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
> > www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre Manager, OBIS Australia regional Node,
> > http://www.obis.au/LinkedIn profile:
> > http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tony-rees/18/770/36
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> >> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Derek Sikes
> >> Sent: Wednesday, 28 August 2013 4:56 AM
> >> To: Jose Fernandez Triana
> >> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; ECN-L at listserv.unl.edu; Entomology
> >> Discussion List
> >> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Draft Checklist of the Nonmarine Arthropods of
> >> Alaska now online
> >>
> >> Jose,
> >>
> >> Thanks Jose!
> >>
> >> Smaller fixes I can do myself. Larger classification corrections are
> >> more challenging and the topic of how best to handle such
> >> improvements is something I've been very interested in.
> >>
> >> It is a waste of many people's effort for a new classification to
> >> appear with hundreds or thousands of keystroke-name changes needed,
> >> and then for hundreds of entomologists, collection managers, etc to
> >> re-type all those changes into their own databases.
> >>
> >> There should be a single online classification such as ITIS or
> >> Globalnames.org that whomever is an authority on a group can edit to
> >> update their taxa of interest. Databases could then use that name
> >> server as a service so that the changes would be available to all
> >> without anyone needing to do those thousands of keystrokes to update
> >> their databases.
> >>
> >> Arctos is soon to release a new model that does just this. It will
> >> allow searches using various online databases of names. We as a
> >> community are still at the early early stages of such an approach
> >> being functional for the entire community but this seems to me to be
> >> the future. If someone disagrees with the consensus taxonomy they can
> >> override it for their own database but I'm sure many collection
> >> managers, for most taxa, would be happy to press a single button to
> >> update their database with the latest classification changes.
> >>
> >> I'll fix that Apanteles - Cotesia species and if you send me the rest
> >> of the suggested changes I'll see what I can get done!
> >>
> >> -Derek
> >
> >
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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
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>
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