Nature Blog Network

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The Biological Species Concept advocates a chauvinistic perception of diversity, one obviously in discord with known, natural, biological systems. Given that all asexual species are disregarded and that allopatric lineages, regardless of their sexual tendencies, are only considered subspecies, biodiversity recognized under this concept is severely abridged."
- Wiley, E. O., & R. L. Mayden. 2000. A defense of the evolutionary species concept, Pages 198-208 in Q. D. Wheeler, and R. Meier, eds. Species Concepts and Phylogenetic Theory: A Debate. New York, Colombia University Press.


  1. Chauvinistic or not, I strongly prefer the biological species concept to the phylogenetic species concept, which currently identifies species based largely on sampling artifacts. Recombination is real, and I think the PSCers will need to learn how to deal with it instead of burying their heads in the sand.

  2. I agree that the phylogenetic species concepts don't reflect reality quite so much. My problem with them stems from over-identifying species due to defining them as monophyletic or least-inclusive units. They tend to inflate species numbers by recognizing what the biological species concept would call subspecies, or what I might call populations.

    There will be a big essay on species concepts coming up soon here at TO95. Stay tuned.

  3. I have a couple of published papers on asexual species concepts and what they mean for "the" species concept. If you want copies, email me and I'll send them on.


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