Message 2001-02-0046: poorly known groups

Fri, 09 Feb 2001 08:45:18 -0500

[Previous by date - concerns]
[Next by date - Problems with the PhyloCode? [Re: your mail]]
[Previous by subject - phlyogenetic systematics/the PhyloCode -- new philosophical overview]
[Next by subject - proofreading needed]

Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2001 08:45:18 -0500
From: Kathy Kron <>
Subject: poorly known groups

I'd like to address the question of higher "ranks" from the 
perspective of my current work in the Ericaceae (blueberry family). 
My coworkers and I are working on a new classification based on 
phylogenetic relationships - at this point we are working under the 
current ICBN but I would like to point out that the current code 
gives us precious little guidance on names at higher ranks other than 
"Family" (especially between "family" and "genus").  The only person 
who has made a broad attempt at sorting out some of the chaos has 
been Jim Reveal.  Especially with the changes in the code made in the 
St. Louis meeting, it is abundantly clear that the current system is 
not satisfactory for even "well-known" groups like Ericaceae.

However, the PhyloCode offers a system where one can place a new 
entity without having to designate a particular formal rank. From my 
work on the tropical blueberries (which are poorly known - especially 
in the Old World) it is clear that the present (ICBN) nomenclatural 
system has forced newly discovered entities to be placed in a genus, 
before they can be formally described. This has (in my view) resulted 
in a number of extremely artificial groups, that upon, even 
preliminary phylogenetic study, are shown to be mere mental 

Dr. Kathleen A. Kron
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7325
phone (336)758-5321
fax (336)758-6008


Feedback to <> is welcome!