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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.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

RE: BRYONET: local endemics [SEC=Unclassified]


A species, or not a species, that is the question - to twist Shakespeare
a little. If we take Brent's view to the extreme (but perhaps it is not
too extreme for him?), every individual could be a "species" or, as some
would have it, No. xxxxxx -or is that xxxxxx+1, or 2, etc.
While this sort of research line may be of amusement to the molecular
purists, of what practical use is it to most people - of the upbringing
of David Wagner? We like to classify or sort everything to try and
produce some sort of order in the chaos. I have no argument with this
behaviour. It is easier to regard the human race as Homo sapiens - but
is Homo sapiens black skinned, or brown, or yellow, Caucasian, Asian? -
rather than 4 billion and rapidly rising species. I wonder if we were,
in fact, plants and not who we are, whether a black skinned individual
would be the same as an Asian, or Caucasian, etc., and given the name
Homo sapiens along with the remaining 4 billion and rapidly rising
Perhaps taking this to the required, but in practice impossible,
conclusion, can we really say anything sensible about relationships
until we have obtained the full genome of every organism.
I like to, and will continue to do so, regard species as a collection of
like organisms that I can recognise as being - at least in my mind -
sufficiently similar to each other to place in the same posting box. I
like to consider this as my simple way of making some order out of chaos.

Prof Rod Seppelt
Principal Research Scientist
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Higway
Kingston, Tasmania, 7050
Ph +61 (0)3 6232 3438


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