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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.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Re: BRYONET: local endemics



Thanks for the response. Two simple points (out of many) are as follows:

1. You have side-stepped the point I included before, that species
are substantially related (in most organisms) to breeding groups.
Dogs, cats, humans etc come in various shapes and sizes, but a dog
can't breed with a cat and a cat can't breed with a chicken. Indeed,
as populations diverge, if they are sympatric or where they overlap
in range, they often develop mechanisms specifically to reduce or
eliminate hybridization with each other, because the hybrid is less
adapted to any one niche than are non-hybrid offspring. So, to this
extent species are natural entities, notwithstanding that, in plants,
species that arise allopatrically quite often fail to develop such
barriers. The species rank differs from other ranks in this
important respect.

2. Concerning the silverswords and monophyly, I agree with you that:

"The ... problem is imposed by the current code of nomenclature, that
won't allow genera to be nested inside of other genera".

But isn't that exactly because of the perceived need to have
monophyletic and not paraphyletic taxa? If we permit Madia to be
paraphyletic, we can call silverswords Dubautia etc without any
problem. Similarly, if you want to go your own way and invent
rank-free names for Silverwords, you can name the clades whatever you
like, but the names should acknowledge that Dubautias are more
similar to other Dubautiaa than they are to Madias, and also should
not split the Madia clade here in California simply because Hawaiian
silverswords evolved from within it. Lets get rid of strict
monophyly in our naming, that's all. (Well, actually for other
reasons the binomial system and the ranks are essential and are here
to stay).

As for your comment "The other issues you raise are red herrings,
well debunked in the literature" - what actually do you mean? What
issue or issues did I raise that have been debunked?

Best wishes,

John Game.

Research Associate,
University and Jepson Herbaria,
University of California,
Berekeley, CA.
510 527 7855

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