Evolutionary Biology Online Journal Club


Species Concepts for Conservation – Nature 494

As if on cue, Nature published a short Correspondence letter this week which talks about the effect that species splitting is having on mammal conservation. You can read it online here (paywall, so also here).

Personally, I don’t really like it when someone says we should be stemming our research to fit political ideals, and feel that the authors are just trying to get other taxonomists to conform to their own ideas of what a species is. It is interesting to see how the Biological Species Concept is pitted against Phylogenetic Species Concepts however, and it’s clear that some people are not as open to hybrid definitions/concepts like we discussed earlier this week.

What do you think? Should we restrict changing species concepts of threatened species, or are there other ways to approach this problem without throwing taxonomy under the bus?
Zachos F.E. (2013). Taxonomy: Species splitting puts conservation at risk, Nature, 494 (7435) 35-35. DOI: