[tdwg-content] New terms need resolution: "Individual"

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Jul 14 08:41:50 CEST 2011

My turn to disagree (strongly, in this case).  It's not an instance of a
taxon, it's an instance of an Organism.  A taxon is merely a non-factual
(i.e., opinion-based)  attribute of an organism, secondarily associated via
an Identification instance.

I could probably be comfortable with "OrganismInstance"; but in that case,
why not just "Organism" as Paul suggested?  Isn't "Instance" sort of implied
by all the classes?

I am certainly open to debate about where the "upper boundary" of an
instance of this class, and I agree that "population" could be interpreted
more as a low level of "taxon", rather than a high level of "organism".  But
I certainly don't think that instances of this class should be limited to a
singular organism.  Would a coral head then constitute thousands of
instances of this class?  Surely such colonies could be collapsed into a
single instance of this class.  And the same would likely also be useful for
colonies of insects (ants, termites, bees, etc.), as well as small groups
(pack of wolves, pod of whales, etc.); not to mention a specimen "lot" in a
Museum collection.

I agree it should have only *one* taxon, but that there should be no upper
limit on the rank of this taxon. If more than one taxon is identified, then
there needs to be a separate instance of this class for each identified
taxon.  But this only applies when multiple taxa are acknowledged -- it does
NOT restrict multiple taxa being linked to the same instance via multiple
identifications when there is a difference of opinion about what the correct
taxon identity should be.  In other words, an instance of this class may be
identified as "A" *or* "B", but could not legitimately be identified as "A"
*and* "B" simultaneously (except, perhaps in the case of hybrids, but that's
another situation altogether).

More later.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-content-
> bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Gregor Hagedorn
> Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 10:09 AM
> To: Steven J. Baskauf
> Cc: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org
> Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] New terms need resolution: "Individual"
> > represent a single taxon.  I think that Individual is probably not a
> > good name due to confusion with the technical use of that term
> elsewhere.
> TaxonInstance seems to me to be perhaps most precise.
> Personally I have a problem merging individual with population, since
> population -> metapopulation -> subspecies form a continuum in my
> understanding. But I am quite willing to be pragmatical :-)
> Gregor
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