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The PhyloCode will not address the naming of species (Was: The Papers That Ate Cincinnati)



T. Michael Keesey writes:
 > > Now that I see how PhyloCode works for the big groups, how does
 > > it work for the little ones?  Returning to hoatzins, how does it
 > > distinguish between, say, _Opisthocomus hoazin_ and _Opisthomus
 > > paradoxus_?
 > >
 > > (yes, I made up the second one, just to simplify things)
 > 
 > The first version of the PhyloCode is actually not going to cover
 > species. Those will continue to fall under the domain of the
 > current codes (ICZN, etc.).

I am pleased to say that the position of the ISPN is now rather
stronger than that: it looks pretty certain that the PhyloCode will
not in the future attempt to introduce species-naming rules.  The
discussion of species nomenclature at the 2006 ISPN meeting is
summarised in:

        Laurin, Michel, and Philip D. Cantino.  2007.  Second
        meeting of the International Society for Phylogenetic
        Nomenclature: a report.  Zoologica Scripta 36 (1):
        109-117.

The most relevant portion being as follows (pp. 113-114):

        J. Clarke, B. Dayrat, P. Cantino, and K. de Queiroz
        reported on their effort to prepare a code governing
        species names as a companion to the code for clade
        names.  At the Paris meeting, most participants
        favored an epithet-based approach, in which species
        would be named using an epithet combined with the
        author name and publication date (e.g. sapiens
        Linnaeus 1758).  This consensus had emerged following
        a talk by B. Dayrat that presented ideas first
        proposed by Lanham nearly four decades ago (Lanham
        1965; Dayrat et al. 2004).  However, extending the
        PhyloCode to species names using Lanham's format has
        drawbacks.  First, species names would be different
        under rank-based and phylogenetic nomenclature
        (e.g. `Homo sapiens' vs. `sapiens Linnaeus 1758').
        Second, if the definitions of species names under the
        PhyloCode and the rank-based codes would not differ
        fundamentally (i.e. the species that includes a
        particular type specimen), then the utility of
        publishing and registering every converted species
        name -- a very time-consuming endeavor -- is highly
        questionable.  Third, the introduction of species into
        the PhyloCode might be interpreted as introducing a
        rank (Mishler 1999), which might be considered
        inconsistent with the independence of ranks in the
        rest of the code.  Finally, differences in the
        handling of types by the ICZN and the International
        Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) complicate the
        development of a code dealing with species names of
        all life forms.

        For these reasons and others, the initial plan resting
        on an epithet-based naming method for species was
        dropped and a simpler approach was proposed by Clarke,
        Dayrat, Cantino and de Queiroz.  Under their proposal,
        the regulation of species names would be left entirely
        to the rank-based codes, but conventions would be
        introduced into the PhyloCode communicating the
        phylogenetic status of the genus portion of species
        binomina (to be referred to as the prenomen,
        emphasizing that it is simply the first part of the
        species name, not a taxonomic unit recognized under
        the PhyloCode).  For example, quotation marks would be
        used, as they frequently are already, to indicate
        paraphyly of a prenomen.  This approach has several
        advantages.  First, species names would be identical
        under rank-based and phylogenetic nomenclature.
        Second, no conversion or registration of species names
        would be required.  Third, this approach would not
        discourage systematists who are attached to binomina
        from using the PhyloCode.  Following a discussion of
        this proposal, a nonbinding vote of the participants
        revealed majority support.  Consequently, a new
        article will be prepared and submitted to the CPN
        concerning the use of Linnaean binomina in the context
        of the PhyloCode.

I am very pleased about this: I think that the perceived threat of the
PhyloCode to rank-based codes has been severely exacerbated by
perception that its "attack" might extend to species as well (mostly
suprageneric) taxon names.  I am much more hopeful for a
reconciliation between PhyloCoders and traditionalists now that it is
understood what the responsibilities of the two codes are, and how
little they overlap.

(My only regret is that I had a manuscript in review whose main point
was that the PhyloCode shouldn't mess with species, and this will now
never be published!)

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Documentation is worth it just to be able to answer all your
         mail with 'RTFM'" -- Alan Cox.