Free Content The botanical and zoological codes impede biodiversity research by discouraging publication of unnamed new species

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Abstract:

Molecular systematics is advancing rapidly, while the pool of taxonomic expertise dwindles: thus, the lag between recognising potential new species, and formally describing those species, will increase. Given the urgency of the biodiversity crisis, the existence of potential new undescribed species should be communicated as rapidly and widely as possible, thus highlighting the relevance and importance of systematics to other sciences, and to biodiversity managers, policy makers, and the general public. However, under the current botanical and zoological codes, scientists who reveal the existence of unrecognised taxa are vulnerable to having those candidate species rapidly named by unscrupulous individuals using unrefereed (and often self-published) works. This compelling argument for peer review in nomenclature has been largely overlooked in previous debates about the codes. The botanical and zoological codes need to be immediately updated to discourage such taxonomic piracy; this would encourage taxonomists to disseminate their vital biodiversity data as quickly and broadly as possible.

Keywords: BIODIVERSITY; CRYPTIC SPECIES; ICBN; ICZN; NEW SPECIES; NOMENCLATURE; PEER REVIEW; TAXONOMIC IMPEDIMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia, Natural Sciences Building, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia;, Email: paul.oliver@adelaide.edu.au 2: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia, Natural Sciences Building, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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