Message 2001-02-0044: [unknown]

Fri, 09 Feb 2001 02:19:53 -0500

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Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2001 02:19:53 -0500
From: "Janovec, John" <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: [unknown]

Dear Pcoders:

David Marjanovic wrote on 8 Feb:

"In short: More interdisciplinary communication. If too many or too few
neontologists or paleontologists are involved in making the PhyloCode, the
others will run into problems."

I hate to be a pessimist, but I observe very little to no discussion of the
groups for which no to few phylogenies are available.  How will the Pcode be
applied to the many groups of organisms which are not represented by
phylogenies?  Insects come to mind.  Many tropical plants at the subfamilial
level come to mind.  I hear plenty of arguments for application of the Pcode
with regard to vertebrates and perhaps even higher levels in the plant
world, but how in the hell can we expect to apply a Pcode classification and
nomenclature to understudied and very diverse groups?  What do we have to
start with but the current system of classification and nomenclature?  In my
opinion and the opinion of a growing number of folks, I think the answer is:
NOTHING but the current systems.

If we freeze names of clades based on current phylogenetic understanding (or
misunderstanding), then what happens when the phylogenies change?  The names
remain the same but get placed in different clades.  What will this do to
the (utilitarian) system of communication?  Confusion? Chaos?  Disorder?
And what do we tell the general consumers of taxonomic information-- the
agrarians, the foresters, the high school teachers, or even local indigenes
in the Neotropics being trained to recognize local plants as assistants in
biodiversity surveys.  Is the Pcode really a communication and recognition

Like many, I am just learning about the Pcode and comparing it to the
current botanical code.  I agree with various points of the Pcode.  

Without getting thrown into the argument, can someone please tell me how the
Pcode (in January 200n) will deal with the bulk of biodiversity that has not
been phylogenized and cladicized?  Folks have been arguing about birds and
reptiles for years.  I hope that some conclusion can be drawn and that the
Pcode can help in the matter.  But, what about the millions of insects, for
example?  Will they be left out of the first adoptions of the Pcode?

Is taxonomic stability ignorance (Stuessy)?  Is the Pcode truly rank-free?
Won't there always be a ranked hierarchy in nature, regardless of the
classification system applied?  In the angiosperm world, is the problem
based on the various sister families that deserve to be 'lumped'?  If so,
why not just lump them with the current system and move on?  Have Pcoders
drawn any agreements on how to actually name species? 

Don't we have a great deal of basic biodiversity survey work to do before we
can just drop the current system and convert to a new system?  

Muitas perguntas.  

John Janovec


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