29 Jun 2017 · Politics

Comments in Nature

The Article “Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation” (see below) evoked several comments in Nature (Vol. 546, 599-600). Three people pointed out the scientific roles of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) vs. International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi and Plants (ICN) in governing nomenclature compared to the body, which regulates zoological nomenclature (the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, ICZN). A conservationist proposes to take the red list maintained by volunteers as registry. A botanist agrees with the article but suggests to avoid too much bureaucracy. Another scientist reminds that taxonomists are neither service providers nor do they want to be censored by particular species concepts. The former IUBS president sees the establishment of a body to defining taxa as essential but reminds to accept the freedom of taxonomists and to avoid prolonged endorsements of new species. The current president of IUBS welcomes the suggestion, sees its importance and states that the primary aim would be to rationalize what constitutes a "distinct species". As president, he ensures that IUBS would be capable to take on the responsibility. He also points out that IUBS would strive to work for a consensus approach that serves the community.

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01 Jun 2017 · Politics · IUBS

NATURE: IUBS suggested to facilitate and integrate taxonomy

Entitled "Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation" two authors suggest that IUBS could solve the classification of complex organisms, which according to them is in chaos. In the journal Nature (546: 25–27, 1 June 2017, doi: 10.1038/546025a) Stephen T. Garnett and Les Christidis propose, that the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) shall be the leading institution to overcome differences in taxonomic decisions to define species across all organism groupss. The authors argue that failure to govern taxonomy threatens effectiveness of global efforts to halt biodiversity loss and damages the credibility of science. Therefore, they propose four steps how IUBS could act to overcome existing shortcomings.

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