News from IAB

The mission of the International Association of Bryologists (IAB), as a society, is to strengthen bryology by encouraging interactions among all persons interested in byophytes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

BRYONET: local endemics


I was a bit surprised that some participants in the species discussion
refer to the 'real world' as restricted to that of human policy and
actions. I understand well that this relatively small partition of what
I experience as the real world is of very high interest for some of the
things we want to reach with our actions. However, I am also convinced
that a universal species concept cannot be based on only a small part of
reality even if this is useful for specific purposes. I always entered
the species discussion considering what we know (or believe we know)
about how the real world of biological organisms looks and how this is
best described / reflected in the naming of its entities. This is
because I believe the way we name things affects how we (including
people outside systematic biology) approach various problems when we try
to reach a deeper understanding of biodiversity and organism function.
The phylocode is not yet perfect and may never become perfect, but on
the other hand our traditional species (and classification) concepts are
since long well known to be imperfect and do not reflect how the
biological world actually looks. Among other things, the old systems of
classification of entities were not predictive, and the entities (at
different levels) were not comparable. This could for example lead to a
situation in the conservation world (one partion of the real world)
where we conserve a portion of biodiversity but not the optimal portion.
Maybe this does not matter to everybody, but it matters to me.

Best wishes, Lars Hedenäs

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