Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation

The place for new fieldguides and discussions on books on field herpetology, description and discussion on new (sub)species, etc.

Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation

Postby Mario Schweiger » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:04 am

an interesting paper has been published today -
and worth for a very extended discussion for sure ;)
So, lets read your opinions!
https://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/1.22064!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/546025a.pdf
Mario (Admin)

Please visit also my personal Herp-site vipersgarden.at
User avatar
Mario Schweiger
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2174
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 7:57 pm
Location: Obertrum, Salzburg, Austria
Hometown: Obertrum
country: Austria

Re: Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation

Postby Ilian Velikov » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:14 am

Very interesting! Thanks Mario.

I've long been not much of a fan of trying to "impose order on the natural world" because there isn't one, and denying this and making efforts to do so can only cause problems as it is clearly shown in this article.

I've raised this and the question about "species" definition here but I somehow felt alone in my opinion that it's a complete chaos and that we pretty much don't have an idea what a "species" actually is. I guess it is partly due to the fact that it is a lot of people's job and a way to justify their monthly income to "discover" something "new", a "new species"...

So I agree that there's a serious need in setting more solid rules and definitions in taxonomy. And my personal opinion is that those definitions need to be simplified and we need to use things that we actually know and are relevant to conservation to define things such as "species" and "lineage". If two animals look identical, have the same biological needs and adaptations, for me, they are the same "species" (e.g. Lacerta viridis and Lacerta billineata). Who cares if they have a few different genes and millions of years ago their ancestors came from different places or different "lineages", this is irrelevant to preserving them and their habitat now in this moment of time.

I also find it funny how we easily split or lump "species" when it comes to other animals but not to our own "species". I'm pretty sure there are many more differences between me and Australian aborigines for example (genetically) than there are between L.viridis and L.billineata or European Goldcrest and North American Kinglet, and yet we are all Homo sapiens while these animals are "different species"...
Ilian Velikov
 
Posts: 1200
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:19 pm
Hometown: Pravets
country: Bulgaria

Re: Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:06 pm

I've long been not much of a fan of trying to "impose order on the natural world" because there isn't one

order is only human perception

If two animals look identical, have the same biological needs and adaptations, for me, they are the same "species" (e.g. Lacerta viridis and Lacerta billineata).

if they are different genetically they will probably display these differences in phenotype, right?

Who cares if they have a few different genomes

did you mean genes?

millions of years ago their ancestors came from different places or different "lineages", this is irrelevant to preserving them and their habitat now in this moment of time.

it matters because effort of nature preservation focuses on genetic diversity so we have to take into consideration whether certain species is a living fossil for example, this will imply that it is very important to preserve it, genetics matters

I also find it funny how we easily split or lump "species" when it comes to other animals but not to our own "species".

political correctness :/
User avatar
Michal Szkudlarek
 
Posts: 1047
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:09 pm
Location: Poland
Hometown: ...
country: Poland

Re: Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation

Postby Ilian Velikov » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:31 pm

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:Who cares if they have a few different genomes

did you mean genes?


Yes, sorry...too much things going through my head at once when I was writing. I've edited my post.
Ilian Velikov
 
Posts: 1200
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:19 pm
Hometown: Pravets
country: Bulgaria

Re: Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation

Postby Ilian Velikov » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:48 pm

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:if they are different genetically they will probably display these differences in phenotype, right?


Right...supposedly, but as with everything else it's not so straightforward. As far as I know viridis and billineata were split into two "different" species based on their genotype while their phenotype is pretty much identical. So you tell me -
are differences in genes always displayed in phenotype?

Did you read the article or just my post? That was the whole point - we could only discuss those things if we have more solid definitions.

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:it matters because effort of nature preservation focuses on genetic diversity so we have to take into consideration whether certain species is a living fossil for example, this will imply that it is very important to preserve it, genetics matters


I didn't say genetics don't matter. What I said is that it is not relevant in conservation because in my opinion to preserve a species the most important thing is to not f**k up its habitat, and either leave it alone or exploit it sustainably. And for this you need to know how it is adapted to the environment and how it utilizes it, how it fits in the whole ecosystem, not if it evolved from a lizard or a bird, to put it (very) bluntly. Besides, who are we to decide what the biodiversity should be and should not be and which genes are more important than others. This kind of God-like selective conservation isn't going to get us anywhere. I repeat, I'm not saying history of evolution is not fascinating and worth studying.
Ilian Velikov
 
Posts: 1200
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:19 pm
Hometown: Pravets
country: Bulgaria

Re: Taxonomy anarchy hampers conservation

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:01 pm

are differences in genes always displayed in phenotype?

no

Did you read the article or just my post?

i have not read the article yet

This kind of God-like selective conservation isn't going to get us anywhere. I repeat, I'm not saying history of evolution is not fascinating and worth studying.

you are right to some extent, conservation cannot cover all species so taking care of one species you discriminate and not take care of another so it is kinda eugenics. and conservationists take also ecological variables into account when measuring value of species- whether they feed on pest or whether they are important in food web, genetics is important but it is one of the factors. i think that in wildlife conversation and earth conversation people underestimate importance of antinatalism
User avatar
Michal Szkudlarek
 
Posts: 1047
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:09 pm
Location: Poland
Hometown: ...
country: Poland


Return to Reading Room

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron