[Taxacom] Taxonomy Anarchy

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Fri Jun 2 07:14:46 CDT 2017

It is possible to list an undescribed species as endangered in the U.S.
Subspecies of vertebrates can be endangered, but other taxa are recognized
at the species level.  If species A is listed and then is divided into two
species, the status of the new taxon is ambiguous.  This is a legal and
political problem, not taxonomic, though it affects us.

On Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 8:05 PM, Fred Schueler <bckcdb at istar.ca> wrote:

> On 6/1/2017 6:37 PM, Richard Pyle wrote:
>> I began drafting a rebuttal Correspondence note to Nature before I was
>> even finished reading the article.  I'm glad to see I'm not the only one
>> who had a similar reaction.
> * It would be more practical to tell physicists to stop studying anything
> that might contribute to a weapon and chemists to delist anything that
> might be used in environmental exploitation.
> It is certainly clear that it is a problem is that "The assumption that
> species are fixed entities underpins every international agreement on
> biodiversity conservation, all national environmental legislation and the
> efforts of many individuals and organizations to safeguard plants and
> animals," but the solution should be to incorporate scientific language in
> the legislation, not to have the science degenerate to legal language. The
> problem is often that the drafters of legislation and regulation don't know
> how to cite scientific literature. Why does legislation always have to say:
> "Elaphe vulpina" instead of "the populations designated by Elaphe vulpina
> in Witsonstead 1998"?
> I don't know about the situation in Australia, but I understand that the
> US Endangered Species Act can only designate a formally named taxon, while
> in Canada a species or subspecies can be divided into "Designateable Units"
> for Species at Risk classification, which obviates a lot of the hysteria in
> the article.
> fred.
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>           Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
>            Fragile Inheritance Natural History
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Dr. David Campbell
Assistant Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Box 7270
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017

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