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Systematics Section / ASPT

Murrell, Zack E. [1].

Phylocode and species concepts: is pattern versus process a useful construct?

The debate over species concepts has been understood as either recognition of pattern or process. The pattern of monophyletic diagnosable lineages used in the phylogenetic species concept (PSC) has been accepted by many in the systematic community. Deconstruction theory states that organizing constructs are developed through exclusion and, when applied to species concepts, we could conclude that phylogeneticists have excluded the process or niche from this construct. Therefore, deconstructionist theory tells us that the construct is repressive and that we should seek to determine the consequences of this exclusion. There appear to be at least two consequences: first, population genetics is not utilized to understand species, and second, there is no strong theoretical basis for protecting the imperiled niche along with the imperiled organism. Phylogeneticists agree that taxonomic groups are real, but that ranks are human constructs. The Phylocode codifies this concept in the principle of naming only monophyletic clades of the ancestor and all descendents. However, the Phylocode currently has not addressed the rank of species due to conflict among the founding systematists concerning the reality of this rank. Analysis of various species shows that the "least diagnosable unit" is typically at the level of the population or locality. This would suggest that the PSC should not be recognized in a strict interpretation of the Phylocode. It would appear that the integrationof population genetic analysis with phylogenetic analysis is severely hampered by this construct, and much could be gained by a fusion of the PSC with niche analysis.

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1 - Appalachian State University, Biology, 572 Rivers Street, Boone, North Carolina, 28608, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 38-2
Location: 400/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
Time: 2:15 PM
Abstract ID:461

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