Abstract Detail



PhyloCode 2020: Naming the Tree of Life

Mishler, Brent [1].

Application of the PhyloCode at the level formerly known as species, with examples from mosses.

            The recent availability of extensive genetic data within and between named species has made it abundantly clear that the biological species concept does not apply in plants, animals, or microbes.  There is interbreeding (and other forms of horizontal transfer) going on at multiple hierarchical levels, and contrariwise there is lack of interbreeding and emerging phylogenetic structure at many levels as well.  There is no particular level where rampant interbreeding abruptly transitions to no interbreeding, despite many diagrams in textbooks and papers illustrating just such a magical distinction to justify treating the species level as unique.  There are nested clades smaller and larger than traditional species that have important roles in ecology and evolution.
             Systematics needs to be completely rankless, and discover and name clades down to the finest scale that the data allow (the SNaRC — smallest named and registered clade; Mishler & Wilkins 2018, Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10: 1-18).  As published, the PhyloCode is a major step-forward for phylogenetic classification, but it is still not logically complete.  One rank still remains embedded in the PhyloCode -- the always troublesome and divisive species level.  The community of PhyloCode supporters is still split on this, with zoologists largely wanting to hold on to the species rank, and botanists largely wanting to get rid of that rank with all the rest (Cellinese, Baum, & Mishler 2012,  Systematic Biology 61: 885-891).  The PhyloCode is in need of further evolution to become completely rankless.
            A revolution in many areas of study, including diversification (formerly known as “speciation”), niche evolution, biogeography, coevolution, and conservation will follow once a rigid focus on the species level is replaced by a multi-level view.  Examples will be given, with emphasis on mosses (e.g., Fisher 2006, Systematic Botany 31: 13–30).


Related Links:
New book by speaker: "What, if Anything, are Species?"


1 - University Of California, Berkeley, Department Of Integrative Biology, University And Jepson Herbaria, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Building, # 2465, Berkeley, CA, 94720, United States

Keywords:
species concepts
PhyloCode
mosses
SNaRC.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number:
Abstract ID:1120
Candidate for Awards:None


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