[Taxacom] OMG! DNA only descriptions (with one habitus photo)!

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jul 25 16:17:28 CDT 2019


 Derek,Option (2), except with diagnostic photos, is far and away the best option. Verbal descriptions can be kept to diagnoses. Most of the additional characters should be visible in the photos (which may include photos of dissections, etc.) Photos are quick, cheap and easy these days. I suggest that you are incorrect to equate option (2) with a "return to the 1800s". A lot of taxonomists today seem to think that overly longwinded and detailed descriptions make them look better, but it is a facade!Stephen

    On Thursday, 25 July 2019, 08:45:49 pm UTC, Derek Sikes via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:  
 
 Interesting...

I see three basic options for dealing with the remaining 5+ million insects
awaiting names:

1) continue with our traditional integrated approach - low error rates, but
slow (at 10k new spp / year that's 500 more years minimum, to complete
this, meanwhile we're in the middle of the planet's 6th mass extinction
event)

2) speed up our traditional methods using brief morphological diagnoses in
a manner typical of the 1800s (a few sentences, no illustrations) - high
error rates (as evidenced by the # of synonyms among older names)

3) speed up our traditional methods using DNA barcodes as diagnoses -
medium (or low-ish depending on taxon) error rates

this new approach fits option 3, balancing the need for speed with the need
for higher quality data. As long as the names are code compliant, why not?
Seems better than having all these DNA barcode BINs with just code names,
or these species going extinct before they're named.

Thankfully, my taxon is not hyperdiverse, so I'll stick with option 1, but
for those working in really hyperdiverse taxa with 90% undescribed rates,
I'd rather see them use option 3 than 2. In an ideal world, we'd have
enough research support to speed up option 1 by generating a much larger
work force of taxonomists. I don't think we live in an ideal world.

-Derek

On Thu, Jul 25, 2019 at 11:51 AM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

> https://dez.pensoft.net/article/34683/
>
> Yikes!
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-- 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Derek S. Sikes, Curator of Insects
Professor of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
1962 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK  99775-6960

dssikes at alaska.edu

phone: 907-474-6278
FAX: 907-474-5469

University of Alaska Museum  -  search 400,276 digitized arthropod records
http://arctos.database.museum/uam_ento_all
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