Describing Species: Practical Taxonomic Procedure for Biologists / Edition 1

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Overview

New species are discovered every day — and cataloguing all of them has grown into a nearly insurmountable task worldwide. Now, this definitive reference manual acts as a style guide for writing and filing species descriptions. New collecting techniques and new technology have led to a dramatic increase in the number of species that are discovered. Explorations of unstudied regions and new habitats for almost any group of organisms can result in a large number of new species discoveries — and hence the need to be described. Yet there is no one source a student or researcher can readily consult to learn the basic practical aspects of taxonomic procedures.

Species description can present a variety of difficulties: Problems arise when new species are not given names because their discoverers do not know how to write a formal species description or when these species are poorly described. Biologists may also have to deal with nomenclatural problems created by previous workers or resulting from new information generated by their own research. This practical resource for scientists and students contains instructions and examples showing how to describe newly discovered species in both the animal and plant kingdoms.

With special chapters on publishing taxonomic papers and on ecology in species description, as well as sections covering subspecies, genus-level, and higher taxa descriptions, Describing Species enhances any writer's taxonomic projects, reports, checklists, floras, faunal surveys, revisions, monographs, or guides.

The volume is based on current versions of the International Codes of Zoological and Botanical Nomenclature and recognizes that systematics is a global and multicultural exercise. Though Describing Species has been written for an English-speaking audience, it is useful anywhere Taxonomy is spoken and will be a valuable tool for professionals and students in zoology, botany, ecology, paleontology, and other fields of biology.

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Editorial Reviews

Nature - Henry Disney
This book is probably the most exhaustive treatment available of the practical aspects of describing new species or higher taxa.
Ecoscience - Pierre Brunel
A practical manual for all biologists, especially ecologists and other field naturalists, professionals or students, who are immersed in biodiversity and are likely to discover new or unknown species....The principal qualities of Winston's manual reside in its simple writing, direct and free of superfluous jargon, in the profusion of concrete and recent examples, and in its rich bibliography.
Nature
This book is probably the most exhaustive treatment available of the practical aspects of describing new species or higher taxa.

— Henry Disney, Cambridge University

Ecoscience
A practical manual for all biologists, especially ecologists and other field naturalists, professionals or students, who are immersed in biodiversity and are likely to discover new or unknown species....The principal qualities of Winston's manual reside in its simple writing, direct and free of superfluous jargon, in the profusion of concrete and recent examples, and in its rich bibliography.

— Pierre Brunel, University of Montreal

CABI Bioscience
Fascinating reading.
Biologist
... should be read by all students on biodiversity courses.
Pierre Brunel
A practical manual for all biologists, especially ecologists and other field naturalists, professionals or students, who are immersed in biodiversity and are likely to discover new or unknown species....The principal qualities of Winston's manual reside in its simple writing, direct and free of superfluous jargon, in the profusion of concrete and recent examples, and in its rich bibliography.
Biologist
. . . should be read by all students on biodiversity courses.
Henry Disney
This book is probably the most exhaustive treatment available of the practical aspects of describing new species or higher taxa.
Jens Rohwer
This is one of the books that every student of biology should read; even most professional biologists would benefit from reading it. . . .It will certainly become a standard reference for many decades.
CABI Bioscience
Fascinating reading.
Booknews
Introduces students and professional scientists to basic taxonomic procedures and to taxonomic writing. Part I introduces the history of species descriptions and the naming of organisms, and Part II covers background research, recognition of species in different groups, and library and museum research. Part III covers the writing of species descriptions and their publication, and Part IV addresses subspecies recognition and description, and advanced studies in systematics. Intended as a supplement to a systematics course and a desk reference and guide to nomenclatural procedure and taxonomic writing. Useful to those in biology, paleontology, and ecology. Paper edition (06825-5), $35. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231068253
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 1.38 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith E. Winston is director of research at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and a former curator and chair of the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

I. IntroductionDescribing the Living WorldWhy Is Species Description Necessary? How New Species Are DescribedScope and Organization of This BookThe Pleasures of SystematicsSources2. Biological NomenclatureHumans as TaxonomistsBiological NomenclatureFolk TaxonomyBinomial NomenclatureDevelopment of Codes of NomenclatureThe Current Codes of NomenclatureFuture of the CodesSourcesII. Recognizing Species3. Species and Their DiscoverySpecies ConceptsProcesses Affecting SpeciationTaxonomic CharactersExamples of Ways in Which Biologists Have Discovered New SpeciesSources4. Establishing Identity: The Literature SearchMistakes and Bad ExamplesEstablishing IdentityWhere to Find the Taxonomic LiteratureHow to Read the Taxonomic LiteratureSpecies DescriptionsTaxonomic Literature Searching on the InternetSources5. Establishing Identity: Using Museum CollectionsCollections, Museums, and HerbariaLocating MaterialBorrowing MaterialType MaterialVisiting Collections: What to Expect and How to BehaveCooperation with SystematistsSourcesIII. Writing Species Descriptions6. Species Descriptions in TaxonomyReasons for Writing Species DescriptionsDifferent Kinds of Taxonomic PublicationsForm of the Descriptive Paper7. Headings and SynonymiesDescription HeadingsSynonymsSynonymiesNew SpeciesTypes of SynonymiesTerms Used in SynonymiesDifferent Kinds of SynonymiesReferences in Headings and Synonymies8. Naming Species: EtymologyBrief Review of Latin and GreekBasic Rules of Species NamesDescriptive Species NamesGeographic Species NamesCommemorative Species NamesNonsense Species NamesThe Etymology SectionSources9. Type and Voucher MaterialRationale for Types and VouchersRules of Nomenclature Regarding TypesSelection of Types and VouchersComposition of Type MaterialDocumentation of Type MaterialDeposition of TypesType SectionSources10. DiagnosisWhat Is a Diagnosis? Diagnosis in Zoological TaxonomyDiagnosis in Botanical TaxonomyWhat Is a Diagnostic Character? The Diagnosis Section: AnimalsThe Diagnosis Section: PlantsAdditional Uses for Diagnoses11. Description SectionDescriptive WritingInformation Used in the Description SectionWriting the DescriptionTelegraphic StyleThe Description Section: Animals (Examples of Style for Different Groups)The Description Section: Plants (Examples of Style for Different Groups)Illustrating Taxonomic DescriptionsSources12. Taxonomic Discussion SectionPurpose of the Discussion SectionDiscussion in Descriptions of New SpeciesEvidence to IncludeComposite PapersThe Discussion Section in Other Species DescriptionsTaxonomic Ethics13. The Ecology SectionEcology in Species DescriptionsAnalysis of Ecological VariationField Records: Getting the Most from Field WorkEcological Information from Museum SpecimensThe Ecology SectionSources14. Occurrence and DistributionDistributional Information in Species DescriptionsParameters of Species DistributionsThe Distribution SectionDistribution PapersSources15. Material ExaminedPractical ValueIn Original DescriptionIn Other DescriptionsMaterial Examined SectionMaterial Examined: Botanical TaxonomyThe Material Examined PaperSources16. PublicationCriteria of Publication: ZoologyCriteria of Publication: BotanyPreparation of the ManuscriptSubmission of the ManuscriptFinal Revision and PublicationJournals That Publish Taxonomic PapersIV. Beyond Species Description17. SubspeciesWhy Are Subspecies Important? Infraspecific VariationRules of Infraspecific Nomenclature: ZoologyRules of Infraspecific Nomenclature: BotanyDeciding When to Name an Infraspecific TaxonWriting Infraspecific DescriptionsSources18. Genus-Level Description and RevisionThe Genus ConceptWhen to Describe a New GenusGeneric NamesPublication of Generic NamesGeneric TypesExamples of Generic-Level DescriptionProblems Caused by Generic RevisionInfrageneric Categories and NamesSources19. KeysKeys in TaxonomyKey CharactersSingle-Access (Analytical or Sequential) KeysMultiaccess Keys (Polyclaves)Interactive IdentificationKey ConstructionComputerized Key ConstructionSources20. Description of Higher TaxaFamily Concepts and Their Use in TaxonomyPractical Significance in BiologyDescribing FamiliesFamily-Level Descriptions: ExamplesRedescriptions of Family-Level TaxaDescriptions of Taxa Above the Family LevelProblems with Nomenclature of Higher TaxaSources21. Common ProblemsMissing TypesLectotypesNeotypesNecessary Name ChangesReplacement Names: HomonymyConservation of a NameEmendationsNew CombinationsLack of Information22. Further Studies in SystematicsEvolutionary SystematicsPheneticsCladisticsMolecular SystematicsBiogeographyComparative BiologySourcesLiterature Cited

Columbia University Press

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