Consilience and a Hierarchy of Species Concepts: Advances Toward Closure on the Species Puzzle
Keywords:biodiversity, consilience, evolution, hierarchy, philosophy, speciation, species, species concepts, systematics, taxonomy
AbstractNumerous concepts exist for biological species. This diversity of ideas derives from a number of sources ranging from investigative study of particular taxa and character sets to philosophical aptitude and world view to operationalism and nomenclatorial rules. While usually viewed as counterproductive, in reality these varied concepts can greatly enhance our efforts to discover and understand biological diversity. Moreover, this continued "turf war" and dilemma over species can be resolved if the various concepts are viewed in a hierarchical system and each evaluated for its inherent level of consilience. Under this paradigm a theoretically appropriate, highly consilient concept of species capable of colligating the abundant types of species diversity offers the best guidance for developing and employing secondary operational concepts for identifying diversity. Of all the concepts currently recognized, only the non-operational Evolutionary Species Concept corresponds to the requisite parameters and, therefore, should serve as the theoretical concept appropriate for the category Species. As operational concepts, the remaining ideas have been incompatible with one another in their ability to encompass species diversity because each has restrictive criteria as to what qualifies as a species. However, the operational concepts can complement one another and do serve a vital role under the Evolutionary Species Concept as fundamental tools necessary for discovering diversity compatible with the primary theoretical concept. Thus, the proposed hierarchical system of primary and secondary concepts promises both the most productive framework for mutual respect for varied concepts and the most efficient and effective means for revealing species diversity.
Copyright and Permissions
All material published by the Society of Nematologists (SON), except for papers prepared by United States and Canadian government employees, is copyrighted and protected under the U.S. copyright law. Under the Copyright Act of 1976, the term of copyright for materials registered by an organization is 75 years from the date first published. Before publishing any manuscript, SON requires that authors transfer full and complete ownership of any copyright to SON by signing a JON Page Charge/Copyright Form (.pdf). SON then registers the copyright. Subsequent use of published materials requires written permission from the SON and may be obtained by contacting the current Editor-in-Chief and state where and how the material will be used.
The author warrants that the article is an original work not published elsewhere in whole or in part, except in abstract form, and that the author has full power to make this grant. If portions of the article have been published previously, then the author warrants that permission has been obtained from the copyright holder and the author will submit a copy of the permission release with this copyright transfer form.
SON shall claim no proprietary right other than copyright. Authors and coauthors retain the right to revise, adapt, modify, or otherwise use all or part of the article in future works of the author(s), such as press releases, lectures, and reviews, provided that all such use is for the personal noncommercial benefit of the author(s). All patent rights are retained by the author(s).