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Linnaean nomenclature in the 21st Century: a report from a workshop on integrating traditional nomenclature and phylogenetic classification

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As a follow-up to the 2001 Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, in late June of 2002 a group of 15 taxonomists took part in a Workshop entitled "Linnaean Nomenclature in the 21st Century" at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh to discuss integrating phylogenetic information into the current systems of naming plants, animals, and microorganisms. The Hunt Group included a diversity of taxonomists, including traditional and phylogenetic practitioners as well as authorities on the current codes and end-users of nomenclatural rules. The discussion ranged from identifying problems and possible solutions to devising strategies for implementing change. It was concluded that the central problems revolve around the concepts of (1) circumscribing taxa, (2) hierarchical ranking, and (3) the use of binomials. In a critical article-by-article examination of the current edition of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature it was found that only 14 of the total 62 articles (plus appendices) are relevant to whether or not classification is phylogenetic. Furthermore, each of these potentially problematic articles is either amenable to conveying phylogenetic information or neutral to phylogenetic considerations. There is nothing in the current Linnaean nomenclature that prevents cladistic information from being incorporated into the naming procedure. We suggest that a major effort is needed to educate the botanical community as well as lay persons on the implications and use of these pertinent articles in phylogenetic nomenclature.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 509 Pecan Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102, U.S.A. 2: Botany, MRC-166, United States National Herbarium, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, D.C. 20013, U.S.A. 3: Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, U.S.A. 4: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11225, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2004-02-01

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