[Taxacom] Fwd: Taxonomic Anarchy and which group do you work on? Also, outreach to conservationists
peter.poczai at gmail.com
Sun Jun 4 17:35:27 CDT 2017
I think we who are involved in taxonomy are just failing if we cannot get
the message through and cannot educate people that systematics is much more
than just naming this and that somehow. For example working with CITES is
always hard, with questions that 'you are a species person?' 'get a species
guy to comment on this or that!' When layers think you can tell apart
tropical trees from grind wood chips or 'why can't you tell the species
what the 100 yrs old violin was made from?'.
I have heard exactly the same reasoning and story in Brussels corridors or
on CITES meetings/dinners as how it is stated in this paper. It is in the
air and it depicts the situation very clearly how some people in the
legislation process see it. For example forming working groups to produce
IDs to tell apart wild and captive breed species.
Some large countries with bigger political soft power - not telling names -
use taxonomy as a tool to lobby for up or down-listing species in their
economic favor. Since splitting or lumping species could mean they are in
or out endangered status or they could have other economical benefits.
There are numerous examples but one: in the European law on wine,
interspecific hybrids are not defined, or indirectly, are excluded from the
production of quality wines, because wine can be produced only from
varieties of Vitis vinifera. The taxonomy of grapes is blurry and species
could be crossed with each other easily. They are really hard to
distinguish morphologically, genetically or in any other way. If the
taxonomy could be modified to treat several other Vitis species under V.
vinifera that could mean a huge increase in the grape gene pool bypassing
the current legislation...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Scott Thomson <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com>
Date: 2017-06-04 23:44 GMT+03:00
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Taxonomic Anarchy and which group do you work on?
Also, outreach to conservationists
To: Tim Dickinson <tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca>
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Of note on this is that apart from being a misrepresentation on inverts and
plants, the assumptions made with birds and mammals is also not
representative of other vertebrates. Reptiles, amphibians and fish may be
smaller in number than invert groups but the knowledge of their numbers of
species is still low.
On Jun 4, 2017 3:15 PM, "Tim Dickinson" <tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca> wrote:
> Thank you Laurent for this reality check. Is it significant that
> Christidis works on birds? Maybe so. There is a recent attempt at
> comprehensive phylogeny of birds that appeard to be well-founded (
> https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2016/01/last-year-we-ta.html). Also, the
> number of bird species world-wide is perhaps less than 1/20 the number of
> vascular plant species worlwide, and less than 1% of the the number of
> invertebrate species world-wide (https://www.factmonster.com/s
> cience/animals/estimated-number-animal-and-plant-species-earth). Working
> with such a relatively small, well-studied, charismatic, macroscopic,
> warm-blooded group might make its taxonomy seem like it could be cast in
> stone (law). Maybe that's even the case.
> In other larger, sometimes less accessible, and hence less well-studied
> groups of organisms the situation is very different, as indicated by many
> of the responses on this list. One of the things prospective authors of a
> "rebuttal" should perhaps consider is how to convey this variation in
> numbers and the extents to which we "know" the systematics (evolutionary
> history) underlying the diversity. Likewise, as several commenters have
> mentioned, it might be useful also to try to engage groups concerned with
> conservation (and agriculture and pharmacognosy and ...) in the effort.
> My two cents' worth.
>> Re: [Taxacom] Taxonomy Anarchy
>> Laurent Raty <l.raty at skynet.be>
>> 2017-06-04, 8:51 AM
>> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> On 06/02/2017 04:04 PM, KD Dijkstra wrote:
>>> What I find notable about most responses (Donat’s and Francisco’s are
>>> the exceptions) is that they shout “rebuttal!” without actually
>>> the faults and especially merits of the comment. The piece is easy to
>>> trash* as the authors’ understanding of systematics, conservation and
>>> evolution appears about as sophisticated as Noah’s back in the day of
>>> great flood, but [...]
>> Another thing that is notable about most responses is that they assume
>> that the Nature piece was written by 'environmentalists' or
>> 'conservationists' with no or little knowledge of taxonomy.
>> Not so, thus.
>> Cheers, Laurent -
> <Tim Dickinson
> <Senior Curator Emeritus
> <ROM Green Plant Herbarium (TRT)
> <Department of Natural History
> <Royal Ontario Museum
> <100 Queen's Park
> <Toronto ON
> <CANADA M5S 2C6
> <Phone: (416) 586 8032 FAX: (416) 586 7921
> <E-mail: tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca
> <URL: http://www.rom.on.ca/en/collections-research/rom-staff/tim-dickinson
> <URL: http://www.eeb.utoronto.ca/people/d-faculty/Dickinson.htm?
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Péter Poczai, PhD
Curator, Botany Unit
Finnish Museum of Natural History
PO Box 7 University of Helsinki
"*Vive memor nostri rigidi servator honesti*" Georgikon
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