[tdwg-content] Name is species concept thinking

Kevin Richards RichardsK at landcareresearch.co.nz
Thu Jun 10 22:47:37 CEST 2010

Yes, good point!

This is something that has been slightly confused over the years, ie there seems to be 2 ways of defining a "taxon concept":

1.       A Taxon Name (nomenclatural data) + Literature Reference - ie Name X as defined in article Y

2.       As you have said a grouping of data that define a taxon concept (Name + Reference + Synonyms + Type Specimen + Protologue, ...)

1 has been covered quite well with the various schemas we have come up with over the years, but I think these schemas have failed to capture 2 very well (the data fields are there, but the encompassing ID is not), ie

TaxonName ID = N1, FullName = "Aus bus"
Reference ID = R1, Citation = "Richards, how to define a taxon concept"
TaxonConcept ID = C1, NameID = N1, ReferenceID = R1

BUT, the taxon concept C1 does not encompass all related data that defines that concept (synonyms etc)

To do that we need more Concept Ids and relationships between these concepts, eg

TaxonName ID = N2, FullName = "Aus cus"
Reference ID = R2, Citation = "Richards, how to define a taxon concept"
TaxonConcept ID = C2, NameID = N2, ReferenceID = R2
ConceptRelationship ID=CR1 ConceptFromID=C2, ConceptToID =C1, RelationshipType='has preferred name'

BUT this means there is no "Concept" ID that covers all of this data??


From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Peter DeVries
Sent: Friday, 11 June 2010 8:09 a.m.
To: Richard Pyle
Cc: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] Name is species concept thinking

Hi Richard

You are agreeing with me.

My point is that the DarwinCore should include an identifier that resolves to a site that provides some information about how that concept is defined.

1) First by mapping the concept to the various names and related identifiers
2) By providing additional information that helps one determine if a specimen is a close match to that species concept.

The field nameAccordingTo does not provide this kind of information.

- Pete
On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 2:55 PM, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org<mailto:deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>> wrote:
I don't think that's right.  Names are pointers to species concepts, but are not concepts themselves.  A label for a species concept would look like "Aus bus sensu Author/Citation" or "Aus bus sec. Author/Citation".  Also, of course, the name is not, in itself, a unique identifier (in something like 10% of cases -- which in my mind is non-trivial).

Also, I disagree with the idea that Aedes triseriatus and Ochlerotatus triseriatus necessarily refer to different taxon concepts.  To me, the "concept" is the circumscribed set of organisms.  If I curcumscribe a set of organisms that I label with "Aedes triseriatus", and then later decide that this set of organisms is best classified in the genus Ocherotatus, then naming it as such does not change the circumscribed set of organisms.  It certainly may have implications on the concepts for the genera "Aedes" and "Ochlerotatus", but in my mind, it has no effect on the implied circumscription (=Concept, sensu me) of what is indicated by the species epithet "triseriatus".

I do not think it makes sense to include hierarchical clasification as part of the terminal taxon "concept".  Taxa at each hierarchical rank are, in my mind, defined by their contents; not their higher classification.

The way I visualize it, there is a many:many relationship between names and concepts (I *think* this applies no matter what you mean by "name", and no matter what you mean by "concept").  The same circumscription of organisms can be labelled by many different names, and the same name may apply to many different circumscriptions of organisms (not just homonyms/homographs, but also lumper/splitter issues).

Therefore, I don't think it is appropriate to try to equate names:concepts as 1:1, or even many:1.


P.S. I certainly think that "Aedes triseriatus" and "Ochlerotatus triseriatus" are different "things", just not (necessarily) different taxon concepts.  Actually, from an informatics perspective, I think that treating these different combinations as unique/identified objects doesn't gain us much.  I think it's *MUCH* more robust to parse out the different individual usages of each combination as the identified objects, then derive the unique combinations/spellings/etc. from those usages.  If the notion of indexing usages seems too intimidating, then start with the easy ones -- like the original useages of each of the name elements ("Aedes", "Ochlerotatus", and "triseriatus"), and the key treatments (e.g., whoever first combined "triseriatus" with the genus "Ochlerotatus", and/or whoever robustly defined alternate concepts for each).

From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org<mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org> [mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org<mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org>] On Behalf Of Peter DeVries
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 9:38 AM
To: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org<mailto:tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org>
Subject: [tdwg-content] Name is species concept thinking
I was looking through the latest DarwinCore and comments related to the TaxonConceptID.

Since the name serves as both a unique identifier and a phylogenetic hypothesis, you are effectively saying that observations labeled

Aedes triseriatus


Ochlerotatus triseriatus

Are separate species concepts, and should therefore be treated as separate things.

i.e. The name is the concept.

Also since there are several name variants for each "species", how do you distinguish which of these nameID's are the same species and which are different?

- Pete

Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
GeoSpecies Knowledge Base
About the GeoSpecies Knowledge Base

Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
GeoSpecies Knowledge Base
About the GeoSpecies Knowledge Base

Please consider the environment before printing this email
Warning: This electronic message together with any attachments is confidential. If you receive it in error: (i) you must not read, use, disclose, copy or retain it; (ii) please contact the sender immediately by reply email and then delete the emails.
The views expressed in this email may not be those of Landcare Research New Zealand Limited. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.tdwg.org/pipermail/tdwg-content/attachments/20100611/52936a2c/attachment.html 

More information about the tdwg-content mailing list