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Taxonomic data issues: An ecologist’s experience R.K. Peet The University of North Carolina Adapted by J Kennedy.

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Presentation on theme: "Taxonomic data issues: An ecologist’s experience R.K. Peet The University of North Carolina Adapted by J Kennedy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taxonomic data issues: An ecologist’s experience R.K. Peet The University of North Carolina Adapted by J Kennedy

2 Taxonomic database challenge: Standardizing organisms and communities The problem: Integration of data potentially representing different times, places, investigators and taxonomic standards. The traditional solution: A standard list of organisms / communities.

3 Standard lists are available for Taxa Representative examples for higher plants in North America / US USDA Plants ITIS NatureServehttp://www.natureserve.org BONAP Flora North America These are intended to be checklists wherein the taxa recognized perfectly partition all plants. The lists can be dynamic.

4 Abies lasiocarpa Abies bifolia Abies lasiocarpa sec. Little sec. USDA PLANTS sec. Flora North America Three concepts of subalpine fir Splitting one species into two illustrates the ambiguity often associated with scientific names.

5 USDA Plants & ITIS Abies lasiocarpa var. lasiocarpa above the red line var. arizonica below the red line One concept ofAbies lasiocarpa

6 Flora North America Abies Abies lasiocarpa Abies bifolia A narrow concept of Abies lasiocarpa

7 Andropogon virginicus complex in the Carolinas 9 elemental units; 17 base concepts

8 Standardized taxon lists fail to allow dataset integration The reasons include: Taxonomic concepts are not defined (just lists),Taxonomic concepts are not defined (just lists), Relationships among concepts are not definedRelationships among concepts are not defined The user cannot reconstruct the database as viewed at an arbitrary time in the past,The user cannot reconstruct the database as viewed at an arbitrary time in the past, Multiple party perspectives on taxonomic concepts and names cannot be supported or reconciled.Multiple party perspectives on taxonomic concepts and names cannot be supported or reconciled.

9 NameReferenceConcept Taxonomic concepts A taxon concept represents a unique combination of a name and a reference. Report -- name sec reference..

10 NameConceptUsage A usage represents an association of a concept with a name. The name used in defining the concept need not be the same name used in your work. e.g. Carya alba = Carya tomentosa sec. Gleason & Cronquist Usage can be used to apply multiple name systems to a concept

11 Relationships among concepts allow comparisons and conversions Congruent, equal (=) Includes (>) Included in (<) Overlaps (><) Disjunct (|) and others …

12 High-elevation fir trees of western US AZ NM CO WY MT AB eBC wBC WA OR var. arizonica Abies lasiocarpa Distribution USDA & ITIS Flora North America Abies bifoliaAbies lasiocarpa A. lasiocarpa sec USDA > A. lasiocarpa sec FNA A. lasiocarpa sec USDA >A. bifolia sec FNA A. lasiocarpa v. lasiocarpa sec USDA >A. lasiocarpa sec FNA A. lasiocarpa v. lasiocarpa sec USDA | A. bifolia sec FNA A. lasiocarpa v. arizonica sec USDA

13 When reporting the identity of organisms in publications, data, or on specimens, provide the full scientific name of each kind of organism and the reference that provided the taxonomic concept. e.g., Abies lasiocarpa sec. Flora North America Best practice: Report taxa by reference to concepts.

14 Reference high-quality sources for taxon concepts such as a major compendium that provides its own defined concepts, or a source that references the concepts of others. Avoid checklists as they typically lack true taxonomic descriptions or circumscriptions. Best practice: Choose high-quality concepts

15 A name in a publication could be either a concept or an identification. An annotation is an identification. Identifications should include linkage to at least one concept, but need not be limited to a single concept. Concepts and identifications are distinct.

16 Documenting identifications Relationships added for identification =Indicates identification ~(or aff.) Indicates similarity ≡ Indicates identity, or defined as Example of complex identification < Potentilla sec. Cronquist ~ Potentilla simplex sec Cronquist ~ Potentilla canadensis sec Cronquist 1991

17 Fuzzy logic qualification 1 = Absolutely wrong 2 = Understandable but wrong 3 = Reasonable or acceptable 4 = Good answer 5 = Absolutely correct

18 Demonstration Projects Concept relationships of Southeastern US plants treated in different floras. Based on > 50,000 mapped concepts

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