Merci for posting the link here! I can muddle through French, but my Spanish is rubbish, so please excuse me if there was discussion of this in the paper. I'm always curious the rational for splitting species from closely related widespread species. It looks like P. lilacina is pretty widespread. It also looks like this paper is crating a new species on morphology alone (no DNA work), correct? Is the morphology of P. lilacina highly conserved across its extensive range? In morphology-only splits, I fear the new proposed taxa are often simply local variants of the larger-ranged species. Please note this is a broad concern of mine. We have tools that can help clarify much of this, and yet people persist in generating taxonomic confusion when we could be working toward finding the real relationships. I'm reminded of the work on Pachypodium, where some of the Malagasy species (see Figure #3) were in actuality named across lineages - layman's terms, it was a mess. These putative species were all classed morphologically. This is the sort of thing that gives rise to my concerns. So I guess the summation is, do you happen to know why the authors are so confident that these are not just geographic variants? Not sure how close you are to this work, but thought I'd ask.
I have no connection with this study, I am only an information courier.
if you look at the table on page 7 you can see the comparisons between close species.
for my part just by seeing the profiles on page 6 including the scratches on the tube and the shape of the spur the 2 does not look alike.
for me taxonomy and systematics are linked, these are studies and morphological descriptions which lead to a classification.
phylogenetics rather a search for the ancestor.
besides for my part I think that 2 other sciences should enter into the process:the palynology (study of pollens) the cytogenetics: study of chromosomes (karyotype)
also for a complete study one must use: the taxonomy(systematics), the cytogenetics , the palynology , the phylogenetics .
for me one without the other gives only a partial idea of the species.
Absolument! Vous soulevez des idées très importantes. You are correct that there are multiple levels of classification, including those below species. And indeed in many cases the boundaries of what we call "species" are not clean. That, I think, supports my primary message, that it's not clear why people continue to publish mophology only (by this I mean morphology sensu lato, which would include the study of pollen). I do absolutely believe that morphology needs to be used to support molecular phylogenies. But I think the days of new species being accepted on physical characteristics alone need to come to a close.
At the heart of my concerns is clarity about what we are trying to reconstruct. I believe it is an accurate picture of the evolutionary relationships between related organisms, and in the larger picture between all life on Earth. Morphology work can get us much of the way there, and has. However, its limitations mean that we will never get a true picture in the way we want or need. We will end up only with an idea of how similar organisms look to us, as human observers. To truly understand the relationships of life on Earth we must go deeper. This is what molecular techniques allow us. It is true they d not do this alone. They need be assisted by off of the techniques you mention and more; fossil dating, pollen studies showing genetic isolation, studies of pollinator relationships, etc. But the gold standard starting place for all future descriptions of new species must be recognized to be genetic. All other baseline work must be viewed as a suggestion for a starting place for the real work to begin.
This is fun, Jeff! I've very much been enjoying my discussions with you of late.
I fully agree with you that is your purpose is breeding and hybridization, then the phylogeny of any taxa is perhaps not of primary concern. However, that doesn't negate my argument that to define a species if fundamentally a component of building a phylogenetic taxonomy. I've had this discussion with breeders in the past, some of whom have bristled. I hope that is not the case here, as that is not my intent. If breeders want to build a taxonomy based on desirable attributes and the capacity for interbreeding, they are capable.
But that is not what a species is (I know, I know, I say this despite the continued debate about the definition of a species, but I would argue that doesn't apply in the current discussion). Scientists are working to define species, genera, families, etc. as a means to understand the evolutionary relationships between all organisms. That is the purpose of this work. There is no other purpose.
By creating "species" names and groups with other intent it only serves to act as a road block to the phylogeny work being done. Describing an interesting and unique population is fantastic. Deciding to call it a "species" without gathering the necessary data for modern classification, which allows it to be placed it in the appropriate broader phylogenetic context is at best a distraction, and at worst significantly slows progress.
breeding and hybridization does not interest me, my passion is discovery 'in situ'
what i meant was that phylogeny is a lab science, not a field science.
When I make the determination and the study of these plants 'in situ', phylogeny is of no use to me, on the other hand the systematics and the taxonomy yes, and enormously, especially thanks to the morphological characteristics of the plant.
Agreed. In situ work sheds light on aspects of a plant's biology that no genetic work can ever illuminate. Nor can we predict the incredible differences one might find in the field in morphology from genetics alone. And we are only just now beginning to scratch the surface of what genetics can tell us about plasticity (though this is a difficulty for morphological works as well - but that's completely another topic). I fully agree that to give a full picture of what any plant is, we need people in the field studying it. That is critical work!
My argument is only that naming species at this point in history should require placing the new species in its proper evolutionary context with morphological work. The descriptions of that species still, and I believe always will (DNA barcoding arguments considered) need fully fleshed out morphological descriptions. Genetics is never going to replace that, and is to threat that that work. I'm glad, and a bit jealous, that there are people out here doing the important fieldwork on these species, and so many others.
Biology is the science that explores the living world around us. To communicate the wonders of nature, names are needed to describe the variety of forms we encounter. This wildly diverse nature may be represented through a hierarchical structure where names are used to indicate groups of...