Biodiversity – Sept. 12/12
- Systematics (systematic biology) is the science of biodiversity and it consists of taxonomy and
- Taxonomy is the science of discovering and describing (including naming) new species, genera,
families, etc. It is the science of building phylogenetic classifications. Mostly what we discover now
are new species (discovering new genera and families is rare).
- Phylogenetics is the study of the evolutionary history of life. It is the study of the evolutionary history
of any taxonomic group. Phylogeny is the actual evolutionary history of a species, family, or genera.
- Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) is the father of modern taxonomy. He was a Swedish botanist, zoologist,
and physician, and he did taxonomy of both plants and animals. He came up with biological
classification, which is a hierarchical classification of life. It is an organizing system of groups within
groups, based on observable characteristics of organisms. He also came up with binomial
nomenclature and he described and classified thousands of species of plants and animals.
- In the biological classification of life, there are 8 main ranks or taxonomic categories: domain,
kingdom, phylum/division, class, order, (superfamily), family, (subfamily), genus, species. The term
division is sometimes used in botany. Within the main ranks there are other sub-ranks. Higher
ranks/taxa is a relative term. The plural of phylum is phyla, the plural of genus is genera, and the
plural of species is species.
- Binomial nomenclature is a system of names using two names for each species. Prior to Linnaeus, the
name of a species could be 10 Latin words long.
- The binomial name of a species is called the scientific name, and it is comprised of genus name +
specific epithet. It is always italicized (best), underlined, or in quotes. It is Latinized. The genus name
is capitalized and the specific epithet is in lower case.
- International codes of nomenclature: International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN),
International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN), International Code of Nomenclature of
Bacteria (ICNB). There are rules that must be followed by taxonomists.
- The scientific name includes the last name of the author of the species (or the authority). This is the
last name of the person described the species in the original publication. The name may be in
parentheses and it is sometimes abbreviated for taxonomists who described many species (ex.
Linnaeus = L. or (L.)
- Example: Common name – Honey bee. Scientific name – Apis mellifera L.
Common name – Neotropical parasitic wasp. Scientific name – Meteorus papiliovorus Zitani
- The idea of species is an ancient concept (the earth is not uniform, so people have always known
different species exist). Species can be difficult to define scientifically. There are several different
species concepts in use today – morphological, biological, evolutionary, and phylogenetic. The two
most important species concepts are biological species concept (BSC) and morphological species
- BSC: Developed by Ernst Mayr in 1942. A biological species is a group or population where members