Taxonomic inflation, species concepts and global species lists.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution (impact factor: 15.75). 02/2005; 20(1):7-8; author reply 8-9. DOI:10.1016/j.tree.2004.11.001 pp.7-8; author reply 8-9
Article: Island Evolution and Systematic Revision of Comoran Snakes: Why and When Subspecies Still Make Sense[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Species delimitation and species concepts have been a matter of debate among biodiversity researchers in the last decades, resulting in integrative taxonomy approaches and the use of modern species concepts, such as the phylogenetic, evolutionary or general lineage species concepts. The discussion of subspecies status and concepts has been addressed much less extensively, with some researchers completely refraining from recognizing subspecies. However, allopatric insular populations that are particularly differentiated have traditionally been assigned subspecies status. We studied the molecular phylogeny and morphology of endemic Comoran tree snakes of the genus Lycodryas. Taking an integrative taxonomic approach, we used the concept of independent lines of evidence to discriminate between evidence for specific and subspecific status. Molecular (mtDNA) and morphological data provided sufficient evidence to support four different taxa within Comoran Lycodryas. In a revision of this group, we propose two species, each with two subspecies. We present a discussion of the strong sexual dichromatism unique to Comoran Lycodryas within the genus and related genera that may be explained by sexual selection in combination with the absence of major predators. Then, we discuss the effects of insular evolution and the ''island rule'' on morphological traits in Comoran Lycodryas and in Liophidium mayottensis, another snake endemic to the Comoros. The absence of larger-bodied snakes may have promoted an increase in body size and the number of dorsal scale rows in these species. Finally, we discuss the subspecies concept, its applications and its significance for integrative taxonomy and for limiting taxonomic inflation. We emphasize that taxon descriptions should be based on an integrative approach using several lines of evidence, preferably in combination with statements on the underlying species concepts or operational criteria, to increase the objectivity and comparability of descriptions.PLoS ONE 08/2012; 7:e42970. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: A Global Assessment of Distribution, Diversity, Endemism, and Taxonomic Effort in the Rubiaceae1[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Analyses of distribution, diversity, endemism, and taxonomic effort for Rubiaceae are reported, based on queries from a World Rubiaceae Checklist database. Rubiaceae are widespread and occur in all major regions of the world except the Antarctic Continent, but are predominantly a group in the tropics with greatest diversity in low- to mid-altitude humid forests. A count of Rubiaceae species and genera is given (13,143 spp./611 genera), which confirms that this is the fourth largest angiosperm family. Psychotria L. is the largest genus in the Rubiaceae (1834 spp.) and the third largest angiosperm genus. Most genera (72%) have fewer than 10 species and 211 are monotypic. Calculation of relative species diversity and percentage endemism enables areas of high diversity and endemism to be enumerated, and identifies areas where further field collecting and taxonomic research are required. Endemism is generally high in Rubiaceae, which supports data from recent studies showing that many species have restricted distributions. Given the assumed ecologic sensitivity of Rubiaceae, in combination with a range of other factors including restricted distribution, we suggest that species in this family are particularly vulnerable to extinction. The rate at which new species are being described is inadequate; more resources are required before the diversity of Rubiaceae is satisfactorily enumerated.Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 04/2009; · 1.83 Impact Factor
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