[Taxacom] Data query, ETC.

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Thu Jun 27 10:01:49 CDT 2013


I most definitely agree with the sentiment that all sources are
provisional. I have an example where some specimens were labeled from an
island in the Caribbean, a region from which no members of the family of
these specimens are reported. The specimens are identical to a mainland
species and the labels are not original, but part of a mass production
later applied to these and many other specimens. Unfortunately, but the
time I had seen this the collector had passed away. There may be other such
erroneous records that escape notice because they fall within a well
documented range (i.e they may be within the rage, but the locality itself
is incorrect).

John Grehan


On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 3:17 AM, Quentin Groom <quentin.groom at br.fgov.be>wrote:

> Dear Pierre,
> a similar program was tried in Georgia, USA to monitor the killing of
> feral pigs by hunters. Hunters had to prove their kill by providing the
> tails of the pigs they shot.
> Unfortunately, this led to a trade in pigtails at the local abattoirs
> and resulted in a great over-reporting of kills.
> There is a good report on it on Freakonomics Radio
> (
> http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/10/11/the-cobra-effect-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/
> )
> It just goes to show that even physical evidence can be unreliable and
> that scientists should always be skeptical whatever the source of evidence.
> Regards
> Quentin
>
>
>
> Pierre Deleporte wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > a colleague of mine, working on red deer populations control,
> > refused to rely on official declarations of deer kills by hunters,
> > and imposed the collection of the mandibles of the killed animals
> >
> > immediately, the annual kill showed a sudden "drop" of some 17 %
> > this was due to previous false declarations by hunters
> > (there were punished if they did not kill their quota,
> > so they tend to declare more than they really killed...)
> >
> > now, the exhaustive collection of the left mandible
> > of each and every killed animal works pretty well :
> > the hunters play the game by the rules
> > and their benevolent work is very useful to the scientists
> >
> > so I agree that proto-data become scientific when controlled by a
> > scientist,
> > and the scientist is judge of the reliability of the record - and their
> > interpretation
> >
> > there is much more to scientificity than data quality and testability of
> > hypotheses
> > (connexion with other scientific theories, scientific background
> > knowledge...)
> > but this is another story
> >
> > best,
> > Pierre
> >
> > Le 26/06/2013 15:59, John Grehan a écrit :
> >
> >> Ken,
> >>
> >> No problem with 'have'. I was referring images in general. I presume
> that
> >> the photo provides diagnostic information that allowed you to definitely
> >> identify the bee species that you named. I presume that the photographer
> >> did not collect the specimen.
> >>
> >> Your reference to the bee work illustrates my point, I think, in that
> the
> >> complete quote is
> >>
> >> "The image itself is not science as it contains no information until
> >> verified in some way."
> >>
> >> Verification is indeed the key. With that verification the image comes
> into
> >> the realm of science. So images can have scientific value as you have
> amply
> >> illustrated. But to analyze images alone would be problematic for many
> >> organisms because the content of that analysis - the 'data' is
> unverifiable
> >> no matter how confident one may be about what that image represents.
> >>
> >> Another case might be the involvement of the public in recording monarch
> >> butterfly migration using the wing tags. If people just called in the
> code
> >> I would view that information as hearsay and outside scientific analysis
> >> (even though one could analyze such data). If I recall correctly, the
> tags
> >> are turned in, and that provides the verification necessary to make the
> >> data 'scientific' - I suppose.
> >>
> >> John Grehan
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 7:51 PM, Walker, Ken<kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au
> >wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>>   Finally John,****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>> images that come to attention might represent an unnammed taxon****
> >>>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Correction from “might” to “have” see here:
> >>>
> http://io9.com/5933986/this-new-species-of-insect-was-discovered-on-flickr
> >>> ****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>> The image itself is not science as it contains no information****
> >>>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> In 1983, a new species of Australian bee was described as *Euhesma
> >>> tubulifera* .  This is a short tongue bee belonging to the family
> >>> Colletidae but it is an obligate feeder on the plant genus
> *Calothamnus*whose flowers hide their nectaries at the end of a long, deep
> corolla: see
> >>>
> http://researchdata.museum.vic.gov.au/padil/bowerbird/2013-06-26_0930.png*
> >>> ***
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Undeterred, this bee species has remarkably elongated its mouthpart
> palps
> >>> (hence its species name!) to form a fused tube resembling a drinking
> straw
> >>> almost the entire body length of the bee itself while its tongue (ie.
> >>> glossa) remained short and blunt: see arrowed length of fused palps:
> >>>
> http://researchdata.museum.vic.gov.au/padil/bowerbird/2013-06-26_0927.png*
> >>> ***
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> We had presumed that the bee used these elongated mouthparts to reach
> the
> >>> deeply hidden nectaries of *Calothamnus *and through capillary action,
> >>> the nectar flowed up the fused palpal tube to the short, blunt glossa.
> >>> Nothing more happened from the “scientific” point of view.****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Then in 2011, a group of retired, amateur bee photographers used
> >>> web-published bee distribution maps to plot a “field trip” for
> themselves
> >>> to the other side of Australia to photograph some of these “special”
> bees
> >>> that had remarkable mouthpart modifications.  They did not contact any
> of
> >>> the “bee scientists” but just accessed our published data on the
> web.****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> On Nov 7, 2011, one of them photographed *E. tubulifera* which showed
> it
> >>> clearly using its tube how we had predicted see:
> >>>
> http://researchdata.museum.vic.gov.au/padil/bowerbird/2013-06-26_0935.png*
> >>> ***
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> “The image itself is not science as it contains no information”.  I
> think
> >>> this picture does contain valuable scientific information.  The image
> taker
> >>> had done the necessary research to maximum her chances of finding the
> bee –
> >>> let alone photograph it.  Her photo completed the scientific knowledge
> >>> circle for this species.****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> The image was geotagged with GPS and date data and was entered into our
> >>> database along with a range of impressive images.****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Does “Citizen Science” offer any values to “Science”.  If nothing
> else, it
> >>> is getting non-scientists to use the outputs of “scientific” research
> – in
> >>> this case taxonomic … God forbid!  (:->!****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Ken****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> *From:* John Grehan [mailto:calabar.john at gmail.com]
> >>> *Sent:* Tuesday, 25 June 2013 11:15 PM
> >>> *To:* Walker, Ken
> >>> *Cc:* Chris Thompson; Frank.Krell at dmns.org; dpwijesinghe at yahoo.com;
> >>> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >>>
> >>> *Subject:* Re: [Taxacom] Data query, ETC.****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Ken,****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Your points are well taken insofar as practicalities go. Certainly one
> >>> cannot kill every this or that organism when it comes to the larger
> bodied
> >>> species. Where identification is regarded as fairly straightforward one
> >>> might take visuals on trust, but whether its science or not might be
> >>> another matter. What happens, for example, if a supposed single
> species of
> >>> koala becomes two? All those visuals for distribution are problematic
> if
> >>> not uninformative for science. ****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> Yes, images that come to attention might represent an unnammed taxon,
> but
> >>> then that is where the science comes in. The image itself is not
> science as
> >>> it contains no information until verified in some way. So even though
> there
> >>> is emphasis on 'science' in 'citizen science' I wonder how much of it
> is
> >>> science as such.****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> I have a photo of a koala in the forests of Borneo. So I might say. At
> >>> what point does that photo become science?****
> >>>
> >>> ** **
> >>>
> >>> John Grehan****
> >>>
> >>> **
> >>>
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> >> _______________________________________________
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> >> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
> >>
> >
> >
>
> --
> Dr. Quentin Groom
> (Botany and Information Technology)
>
> National Botanic Garden of Belgium
> Domein van Bouchout
> B-1860 Meise
> Belgium
>
> ORCID: 0000-0002-0596-5376
>
> Landline; +32 (0) 226 009 20 ext. 364
> FAX:      +32 (0) 226 009 45
>
> E-mail:     quentin.groom at br.fgov.be
> Skype name: qgroom
> Website:    www.botanicgarden.be
>
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>
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>
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> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
>



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