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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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Re: BRYONET: local endemics


Hi Ken,

Yes, I am saying that the rank "species" does not fit the complexity
of evolutionary processes. nor do the other ranks. But if you read my
papers and other literature about the Phylocode you'll see I am not
advocating using clade names like "Clade 124!7N48". The clade names
to be be used are regular names, following common usage if possible.

Just between us and the lamppost, the reason ranks are still used in
the new Jepson Manual is sociological. The community can only move so
far so fast; there is an amazing amount of intrinsic intellectual
conservatism, even in science (a field that prides itself on open-
mindedness and questioning authority!). Getting botanists to use
monophyletic taxa is the most important step!

And no, I don't think (and never said) that a phylogenetic study
reveals the "true" phylogeny. Like all science, it is just a model of
reality that is the best fit to current data (which might be entirely
morphological, that's fine), a hypothesis to be tested by current data.

The sad thing in all this Bryonet debate, from my perspective, is that
while systematics is currently in a very exciting phase of its
history, at the forefront of the biological sciences in innovation and
rapid advance (and acknowledged as such by general theoreticians,
philosophers, and empirical biologists from ecologists to
genomicists), some of our best bryological practitioners are either
unaware or even actively working against this progress. We need to
break down the artificial barrier between alpha taxonomy and
phylogenetics -- it is all the same endeavor, just different scales.
And as I just mentioned in the response to John, all sources of data
(morphological and molecular) need to be used at all levels. Times
are tough in academia at the moment, now is the time to come together
and push our field forward.



Brent D. Mishler
Professor, Department of Integrative Biology
Director, University and Jepson Herbaria
Mailing address:
BERKELEY, CA 94720-2465 USA
Phone: (510) 642-6810
FAX: (510) 643-5390
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