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

Nico Cellinese ncellinese at flmnh.ufl.edu
Thu Jul 14 17:16:10 CEST 2011

I really don't know why you insist in saying that taxa are abstract  
concepts. Yes, linnean taxa are but othrwise taxa are very real, so  
real that they are  = to clades. I assume DwC will deal with taxa in  
general and not just Linnean artifacts.


Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 14, 2011, at 10:31 AM, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>  

> Viruses differ in other ways as well (no Linnean-style names,  
> different
> fundamental concepts for what a "Taxon" is, many biologists don't even
> include them within the scope of "life", etc.)  I'm not sure  
> "Organism" is
> any more inconsistent with population than it is with a coral colony  
> or two
> members of the same species; but I agree more careful though would  
> be useful
> here.
> I'm not married to "organism", but I *really* don't like the word  
> "taxon"
> embedded in the term.  Taxa are abstract notions, invented by  
> humans.  What
> I think we need a term for is an explicit indication of the physical  
> "stuff
> of life".
> I think that DwC is very, very close to having what we need to  
> represent
> almost all of the information we're interested in.  I think one of  
> the main
> problems with the existing DwC is that "Occurrence" is overloaded --  
> too
> many disparate things are being force-fit into instances of that  
> class, and
> it gets a bit messy.  Most of the other DwC classes are pretty  
> consistently
> understood and utilized by the community.  I think this conversation  
> we're
> having now (the introduction of a new class) should really focus on  
> how best
> to define that class in such a way that it maximally enhances data  
> sharing.
> In other words, it should solve a problem, and should enable new  
> features
> for information exchange that satisfy a need. Also, as we define it,  
> part of
> the definition is figuring out which existing attributes of  
> "Occurrence"
> that the new class should inherit.
> My own understanding of the core DwC classes (with my own  
> interpretation of
> "Occurrence" added) are as follows:
> Locality:  A defined place.
> Event: The intersection of a Locality and a specific window of time,  
> with
> metadata pertaining to some action that happened at that place & time.
> Taxon: an *implicit* set of organisms circumscribed by a taxon  
> concept and
> labeled with a taxon name
> Organism: an *explicit*set of one or more instances of organisms  
> (sensu
> lato, including viruses?).
> Occurrence: the intersection of an Event and an Organism.
> Identification: the intersection of an Organism and a Taxon.
> Steve created some very useful diagrams of this sort of thing the  
> last time
> we had this conversation (Steve: can you re-post the link to your  
> diagrams?)
> Aloha,
> Rich
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Gregor Hagedorn [mailto:g.m.hagedorn at gmail.com]
>> Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 11:52 AM
>> To: Richard Pyle
>> Cc: Steven J. Baskauf; tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org
>> Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] New terms need resolution: "Individual"
>> On 14 July 2011 08:41, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>  
>> wrote:
>>> 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.
>> WIth respect to organism: strictly, Viruses are not organisms, but  
>> I could
> live
>> with that.
>> But the goal is to find a term including population. Population  
>> definitely
> is not
>> an organism.
>> I believe the instances of taxon are organisms, populations,  
>> individuals.
>> Gregor
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