[Taxacom] Taxonomy Anarchy

Scott Thomson scott.thomson321 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 2 12:09:12 CDT 2017


"As a side question, how many degrees (environmental management, ecology
etc) that most conservationists take include one or more courses on
taxonomy? None? A few?"

General Ecology degrees and Environmental management degrees generally have
either no taxonomy or very basic taxonomy at best. That is an overview of
the classification of organisms. But units on taxonomy, systematics,
phylogenetics or nomenclature, none would be the best assumption.

Cheers, Scott

On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 2:05 PM, John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:

> I would endorse Scott's observation about the desirability of responding
> in ways that are relevant to the concerns of the conservationists
> and has been brought up by the authors. Nothing is ever going to be
> perfect in the regimentation of conservation policy, but at least offering
> a taxonomic perspective on reaching better solutions (I would rather say
> 'better' than just solution as all solutions of one kind or another have
> advantages and disadvantages). No matter the deficiencies of the
> Nature paper, there should be an expression of encouragement for at least
> attempting to address what seems to be generally recognized as something
> that needs to be addressed. As a side question, how many degrees
> (environmental management, ecology etc) that most conservationists take
> include one or more courses on taxonomy? None? A few?
>
> John Grehan
>
> On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 12:54 PM, Scott Thomson <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com
> > wrote:
>
>> A couple of points on this.
>>
>> Although in theory a species should not loose protection status if
>> nomenclature changes the reality can be different depending on the
>> structure of the legislation in a given country. Conservation is always a
>> big issue in turtles, which I work with, and with 63% of the order
>> vulnerable or worse it tends to be a big issue.  In a number of countries
>> they do not recognise invalid names for taxa and species are listed by
>> their valid name as an Act of Government, not available names. Changing
>> legislation takes Acts of Government and this can take 2 or more years to
>> accomplish. Up to 10 years in some countries. I agree that it would be
>> good
>> if this legislation listed taxa by their name at the time as suggested,
>> but
>> to do this also requires a change to the legislation which is also an Act
>> of Government. Another issue is when they change their taxonomic level, eg
>> species become subspecies is a particular issue. Under CITES legislation,
>> which is the Country level protection that enacts the CITES agreement, a
>> subspecies inherits its protection from the valid parent species, this
>> means if a CITES species becomes a subspecies of a non-cites species it
>> looses CITES protection. When the nomenclature changes some countries
>> reserve the right to reassess the necessity for protection (Malaysia for
>> example) and as such yet again nomenclature can cause a species to loose
>> or
>> at least temporarily loose its status, ie about 10 years. I am against the
>> proposals in the Nature paper and agree it needs to be addressed but
>> stating that species should not loose their protection due to changes in
>> taxonomy may be desirable but is not the reality.
>>
>> With the benefit of hindsight it would have been better if taxonomists had
>> been involved in the development of legislation for species protection,
>> clearly conservationists do not understand taxonomy and consider it a tool
>> for their purposes which to them should be creating stable names for
>> organisms, the reality is different of course. Unfortunately taxonomists
>> do
>> not become involved in species legislation. I do this, but I acknowledge
>> its probably because I work with a highly endangered group. I am a member
>> of the IUCN and work directly with those who develop both the RedList and
>> the CITES lists.
>>
>> I think what we need to do is address the points of the Nature article and
>> explain the reality of the science of taxonomy. We should limit our
>> response to that which is relevant to the concerns of the conservationists
>> and has been brought up by the authors. Obviously their proposal in
>> untenable and I doubt they realise why it is. I have often said to people
>> including on this list that taxonomists do need to remember that we are
>> not
>> only the only people who use nomenclature but we are a small subset of
>> those who do. Papers like this Nature paper are why I try to remind people
>> of this.
>>
>> I would like to be a part of a refutation of this paper, I think that is
>> needed, but I think we will serve ourselves better if we do this in a way
>> to open communication with conservationists.
>>
>> Cheers, Scott
>>
>> On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 1:10 PM, Dagmar Triebel <triebel at bsm.mwn.de>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > Dear colleages,
>> >
>> > I might also add another aspect, because we currently have a regional
>> > project to curate such a regional checklist of plant taxa with "current
>> > taxonomy" in relation to two so-called conservation codes, i. e. that of
>> > the Bavarian nature conservation agency and that of the German nature
>> > conservation agency. These codes reflect two status/ administrative
>> > snapshots.
>> >
>> > Thus, the app involved (in our case an installation of
>> > DiversityTaxonNames)  has to organise (a) the changes of taxonomy and
>> > nomenclature (including more than one taxon concept) beside different
>> > administrative snapshots  for these taxon concepts mainly referenced by
>> >  published red list books. The consistent management of a number of
>> stable
>> > intern and extern identifiers in this context is crucial.
>> >
>> > If we could discuss the various facets of this subject - also with hint
>> to
>> > some aspects of data management and data publication via web services in
>> > this context, I would also sign such a reponse.
>> >
>> > Cheers
>> >
>> > Dagmar
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >  Am 02.06.2017 um 17:39 schrieb Marcos Lhano:
>> >
>> >>
>> >> Dear colleagues
>> >>
>> >> I totally agree with Francisco comments. I was thinking exactly the
>> same
>> >> before read this email, for example, a valid name don´t delete the
>> >> synonyms. And for classification, we are constantly looking for the
>> natural
>> >> one, but all proposed classifications are theories and, in this way, a
>> new
>> >> classification don´t delete the previous one.
>> >> I also agree with Dijkstra comments, specially: "/...it is true that
>> most
>> >> conservationists have no appreciation of taxonomy and (worse still)
>> that
>> >> most taxonomists have little understanding of conservation/". And, the
>> >> point of view of these authors fits clearly here.
>> >> So, I also would be happy to sign any response.
>> >>
>> >> Cheers, Lhano
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> > --
>> > ____________________________________________________________
>> > _______________________
>> >
>> > Dr. Dagmar Triebel
>> >
>> > Head of the IT Center
>> > Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns
>> >
>> > Senior Curator of Fungi and Algae and Deputy Director
>> >
>> > Botanische Staatssammlung München
>> > Menzinger Straße 67
>> > 80638 München, Germany
>> >
>> > Tel   ++49-089-17861-252
>> > Fax   ++49-089-17861-193
>> > Email triebel at bsm.mwn.de
>> >
>> > http://www.snsb.info
>> > http://www.snsb.info/staff_triebel.html
>> >
>> > Mailing lists:
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>> >
>> > Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 30 Some Years,
>> 1987-2017.
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Scott Thomson
>> Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
>> Avenida Nazaré, 481, Ipiranga
>> 04263-000, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
>>
>> Chelonian Research Institute
>> 402 South Central Avenue,
>> Oviedo, 32765, Florida, USA
>>
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>>
>> Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 30 Some Years, 1987-2017.
>>
>
>


-- 
Scott Thomson
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Avenida Nazaré, 481, Ipiranga
04263-000, São Paulo, SP, Brasil

Chelonian Research Institute
402 South Central Avenue,
Oviedo, 32765, Florida, USA

http://www.carettochelys.com
ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1279-2722
Lattes: *http://lattes.cnpq.br/0323517916624728*
<https://wwws.cnpq.br/cvlattesweb/PKG_MENU.menu?f_cod=1E409F4BF37BFC4AD13FD58CDB7AA5FD#>
Skype: Faendalimas
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