[Taxacom] Why stability?

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Apr 30 13:14:41 CDT 2015


Yeah!  What he said, too! Both of Alan's posts to this thread.  And Jason's too!

:-)

Rich

[OK, I'll shut-up now....]

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
> Weakley, Alan
> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 4:47 AM
> To: Robin Leech; 'Stephen Thorpe'; 'Taxacom List'
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
> 
> Surely the issue is not whether one IDs the species by "recognition", a key, a
> web-based tool, or whatever, but providing a clear indication of the "taxonomic
> standard" being applied in the identification (and therefore providing additional
> and more explicit evidence as to the actual meaning of the name applied, that
> is not provided by the name itself -- unless it happens to be the holotype, in
> which case there is no ambiguity).
> 
> The expert who glances at a specimen and says "oh that is Aus Qus"  is
> implicitly or explicitly applying a taxonomic standard, whether or not (s)he
> hauls out a book to make the ID.  The thought process is, "I know that is Genus
> A, my current understanding of the taxonomy within Genus A is that there are
> 27 species, and that is species 23, to whit:  "Aus Qus".  That "current
> understanding" is usually based on a particular published work (but may be
> more complicated, esp. if the expert is the actively working "primary expert"
> on the group).  The great bulk of IDs made in herbaria, museums, protected
> area checklists, ecological studies etc. though ARE EXPLICITLY BASED on a
> particular published and accessible publication, and it would be of great benefit
> to explicitly state that as disambiguation of the naked name.  A simple, easy,
> helpful practice.
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
> Robin Leech
> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 10:18 AM
> To: 'Stephen Thorpe'; 'Taxacom List'
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
> 
> Stephen, This is starting to turn into a bun fight.  The specialists I know have
> hundreds and hundreds of species being able to to be IDed with a mere glance.
> They have the literature to confirm that the one with which they have little
> experience is, or is not, a new species, or is an introduced species or a species
> far from its known distribution.
> 
> If I did not know the families, and many genera of spiders, I could set about to
> describing a new genus/species or whatever in perfect ignorance and bliss, all
> the time thinking that I have done a good job.  Many species that pass through
> my hands are passed on to one or more good buds.  In turn, the feedback is,
> "Yup, I agree that it is Xus yus." Very occasionally I receive a reply, "Jeez, never
> seen it before."
> 
> The point here is that we all work cooperatively together, otherwise we would
> have an anarchistic situation.
> I will send you an article on Spiders of the Canadian Prairies, pubublished last
> year, which was a multi-leveled cooperative publication.  The chapter on
> spiders is one chapter in a set of 4 books on the Arthropods of the Canadian
> Prairies.
> 
> What we don't need or want is someone who does not play well in the sandbox.
> 
> Robin
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
> Sent: April-29-15 8:27 PM
> To: Robin Leech
> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Why stability?
> 
> Indeed. Was it just me, or was there a definite assumption by some people on
> the list that IDs are always done using a publication?
> 
> --------------------------------------------
> On Thu, 30/4/15, Robin Leech <releech at telus.net> wrote:
> 
>  Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Why stability?
>  To: "'Stephen Thorpe'" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>  Received: Thursday, 30 April, 2015, 2:24 PM
> 
>  And, alternatively, much
>  of the ID info is in the head of one or two specialists,  and is not yet in the
> literature. And it may  never be put there.
>  Robin
> 
>  -----Original Message-----
>  From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
>  On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe
>  Sent:
>  April-29-15 8:18 PM
>  To: Taxacom; JF Mate
>  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
> 
>  I am merely saying that in
>  lots of cases (not all cases, but lots), species cannot be  identified from the
> literature, so there is no publication  to cite for the ID. If there is a suitable
> publication, and  it was used for the ID, then it may make some sense to cite  it.
> My point was just that this is only going to be possible some of the time, that's
> all.
> 
>  Stephen
> 
> 
>  --------------------------------------------
>  On Thu, 30/4/15, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>
>  wrote:
> 
>   Subject: Re:
>  [Taxacom] Why stability?
>   To:
>  "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>   Received: Thursday, 30 April, 2015, 1:37 PM
> 
>   "Hence there is no
>   publication to cite for the
>  identification."
> 
> 
>  Here is the kernel of
>   inaccuracy. I have
>  (and I suspect most people in  Taxacom do as well, either  in cellulose or
>   digital) a large
>  collection
>   of things called
>   books which are called upo as our external  brain  hard-driveI. No just for
> Europe or North  America,  poor in species as  they may be, but  for many areas
> in  the world. There are many groups  without modern keys, I grant you that,
> but when  keys are available,  citing them  is a useful  for those who will come
> after. In fact NZ  has  a number of modern keys covering many  Coleoptera
> groups (can´t comment  on what I  don´t know). Are you tellng me you don´t
> use them?
> 
> 
>   Jason
> 
>   On 30 April 2015 at 03:21,
> 
>  Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>   wrote:
>   > Sorry Jason, but
>  I was not
>   incorrect! As I said, many
>  (perhaps most) species are not  identifiable from the  literature. Most insect
> IDs (at least  in this country) are  done by somebody directly
> comparing  specimens to already  identified specimens in collections.
> 
>  Typically, the only thing published is a useless original  description from the
> 1800s or something. Hence there is no  publication to cite for the identification.
> 
>  "Experience" enters the issue because the result  of comparing specimens
> depends on the experience of the  person doing the comparison, i.e. a newbee
> will typically  make lots of mistakes.
>   >
>   > Stephen
>   >
>   >
> 
>  --------------------------------------------
>   > On Thu, 30/4/15, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>
>   wrote:
>   >
> 
>  >  Subject:
>   Re: [Taxacom] Why
>  stability?
>   >  To:
> 
>  "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>   >  Received: Thursday, 30 April, 2015,
>  1:15  PM  >  >  Sorry Stephen  but this is  >  incorrect. Everybody´s "experience"
> is  a  >  combination of actual experience (burning the  > midnight oil
> comparing  >  own material  against  >  identified specimens in a museum or
> advice from  >  colleagues or mentors  that we have internalised  >  and
> made  our own for  >
>  example) and  >  literature. By putting your name on  the  I.D. label and
> >  the year you tell  others  more or less at what  >  stage of  your
> experience  >  you where at when  >  you attached the label.
>  The  "sec" is to indicate  >  on  >
>  which authors you rely on (let´s  face  >  it, nobody  is an expert in
> every  >  group). For  >  example, in Europe if you work on  scarabs you rely on
> >  Baraud and  Balthasar most of the time. In 50  >  years we may
> have  >  different ones but  it  >  would be helpful to know which one  you
> owned or  >  used most often or a  that time. As a practical  >  example think
> of  >  Aphodius fimetarius.
>   Since
>   >  2001 I write
>  "sensu Wilson
>   2001" to make it
>   >  clear that the
>   concept
>  I am using acknowledges
>   >  the
>   specific
>   >
>  distinctiveness of
>   pedellus.
>   >
>   >  As to
>   citing the authority, I
> 
>  >  see it as
>   part of the binomial. It
>  makes
>   >
>   communication
>  more accurate.
>   >
>   >
>  Jason
>   >
>   >  On 30
>  April 2015 at 01:15, Stephen
>   Thorpe
>   >  <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>   >  wrote:
>   >  >
>  What
>   Mary said is, IMHO,
> 
>  >  somewhat mixed up
>   and confused! One
>  should cite the authors  >  of the original combination  primarily  for
> nomenclatural (not  >  taxonomic  reasons). Botany confuses the issue by
> making  >  combinations a nomenclatural matter.
> 
>  Zoology treats them
>   >  (almost
>  entirely)
>   as taxonomic. The "reference
>  used for
>   >  the identification" is
>  another
>   matter altogether. Most
>   >  IDs published
>   in
>  ecological studies are done by people  >  ("experts"), who, like myself, identify
> taxa  based  >  more on  experience/memory with relevant collections
> and  >  familiarity with the local fauna,  rather  than by way of
> a  >  specific  publication.
>  Many species can only be identified by  >  a historical  chain of IDs,
> hopefully  involving comparision  >  to  the type at  some stage along the way.
> They cannot be  >  identified from the literature.
> 
>  >  >
>   >  >
> 
>  Stephen
>   >  >
> 
>  >
>   >
>   >  >
>   >
> 
>  --------------------------------------------
>   >  > On Thu, 30/4/15, Mary Barkworth
>   <Mary.Barkworth at usu.edu>
>   >  wrote:
>   >  >
>   >  >  Subject:
> 
>  >
>   Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
>   >  >
>   To:
>   >  "JF Mate" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>,  >  "Taxacom"
> <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>  >  >  Received: Thursday, 30 April,  2015,  >
>  10:51 AM  >  >  >  >  IMO. It  >  is
>  not the lack  >  >  of a catchy name that  >  has  prevented the practice of
> citing  >  >  >  the reference used for  identification in giving a  >
> scientific  >  >  name but the  insistence  by  >  taxonomists that one should
> cite  >  >  the  >  original author(s) of the combination  and that
> this  >  >  provides  accuracy of  interpretation. It  >  was  not until the  >
> >  Vienna  Botanical  >  Congress of 2005 (or
>   thereabouts) that the
>   >
>  >  wording
>   the botanical code read
>  "In
>   >
> 
>  publications,
>   >  >  particularly
>   those
>   >  dealing with
>  taxonomy and
>   nomenclature,
> 
>  >  >  it **may** be
>   desirable, even
>  when no
>   >
> 
>  bibliographic
>   >  >  reference to
>   the
>   >  protologue is
>  made, to cite the
>   author(s)
>   >  >  of the name
> 
>  concerned ...". Before
>   >  that
>  it
>   read as if
>   >
>  >  one always had
>   to
> 
>  >  cite the authors - and all journal
> 
>  and
>   >  >  book editors wanted
>  the
>   works they
>   >
>  published seen to be
>   good
> 
>  >  >  science so
>   >  they
>  required citation of the original  authors  >  >  and people that became faculty
> said it  >  was  necessary too.
>   >  >
> 
>  >  >  So we
>   have to change a
>  culture. That
>   >  is
> 
>  >  >  always difficult.  I have
> 
>  been
>   >  told I do not understand
>   >  >  nomenclature
> 
>  >  for  arguing that one should cite
> 
>  the
>   >  >  reference used to
>   determine the name (a
>   >
>  flora or some
>   such).
> 
>  >  >  The objections
>   >  that I
>  have heard are that someone is  simply  >  >  using the name they  were told
> by someone  >  else or  that  they  >  >  know the plant so  >  well they do not
> know whether it has  ever  >  >  had  another concept, or  that they are  >  using
> the  concept  they  >  >  have  >  developed.
>   >  >
>   One reason I like
>  the
>   >  >  Symbiota
> 
>  data entry form is that it
>   >
>  provides
>   for citing the
> 
>  >  >  reference
>   >  used
>  (although perhaps it should be
>   visible
>  by
>   >  >  default?) but
>   taxonomists have spent
>   >
>  decades
>   convincing
>   >
>  >  people that, to
>   be
> 
>  >  good science, the original authors
> 
>  of
>   >  >
>   >
>   scientific names should be cited. We should  not be  >  surprised  >  > if it
> takes a  similar  >  length of time  to change the practice.
>   >  >  Do
>   those of you
>  that are journal editors
>   >
>   ask for information
>   >
>  >  as to
>   the
>   >
>  reference used for an
>   identification or for
>  the
>   >  >
>   original
>  authors of the combination.
>   >
>   >  Mary
>   >  >
>   >  >
>   >  >
>   >  >
>   >  >
>   >
> 
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