Detailed action plan for the triennium 2012-2015

As a result of these activities linking communities across biology International Committee for Bionomenclature (ICB) is now opening up three new areas of work aimed at harmonising the various sets of international rules governing the naming of organisms across biology.

  • Development of a formal framework for the naming of organisms discovered using molecular tools
  • Resolving problems associated with the nomenclature for organisms that are or have been treated as covered by more than one of the existing sets of nomenclatural rules.
  • Development of a co-ordinated life-wide international informatics agenda in support of nomenclature and registration of the names of organisms.

The International Committee for Bionomenclature proposes to initiate the first of these, whose rationale is outlined above. Some of the key issues to be addressed by the proposed activity involving the naming of organisms identified using solely molecular tools include:

  • Appreciating the resolution of the molecular data (including methods of analysis) in a taxonomic context.
  • Investigating the value of using such data alone, in the context of taxonomies and nomenclatural systems as currently practiced.
  • Alternative possibilities for administering the data taking into account the requirements of both those who generate the data as well as a diverse range of end users.

The project will drive forward an international agenda on nomenclatural activities in a world in which discovery of biodiversity is increasingly based on molecular tools and whose use is only forecast to increase. This discovery process is currently not compatible with type-based naming as regulated by the traditional nomenclatural Codes (including the BioCode) and the community is in need of a unified system of naming and registering these new entities and integrating our knowledge of them with that of currently named diversity. The work undertaken by the International Committee for Bionomenclature under this project will create the community forum and framework for unifying the naming of these newly discovered taxa and will help to promote the harmonisation of nomenclature that in the absence of the work proposed here looks increasing as though a nomenclature based on molecular data alone will diverge from that currently in use throughout biology, creating significant problems for the future.