[tdwg-content] Name is species concept thinking

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Jun 10 21:55:22 CEST 2010

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] On Behalf Of Peter DeVries
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 9:38 AM
To: 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

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

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

- 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

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