Locality data

Tony Avent Tony@plantdelights.com
Fri, 02 Nov 2012 13:57:13 PDT

I won't start a diatribe on plant keys, but last week, we were keying out a calylophus from Texas.  Using three different floras from Texas, we were sent to three different species.  All three keys were completely contradictory on a genus as small as calylophus.  Surely, we can turn out better taxonomists than that!

Tony Avent
Plant Delights Nursery @
Juniper Level Botanic Garden
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-----Original Message-----
From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Hannon
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2012 4:50 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] Locality data


100% agreed on the way things are trending in academia. What I lament most in modern botany is that a large proportion of botanists is dismissive of the importance of producing useful products: keys that work, floras, revisions, monographs, information (books) available outside the arcane journals. The "internet age" has done very little to break the barriers between amateurs and the more scientific information they seek.

The emphasis (read: funding) today is almost exclusively on theoretical modeling (cladograms), molecular level studies, etc. These scientists seem absorbed primarily in process and method rather than output, which they may see as static or instantly archaic. So understanding is increased in some areas but the audience that benefits by that understanding shrinks because of the evermore technical nature of the output and its venue.

I would liken your Phlox flunkie to those who say that the organism is
irrelevant-- its molecular history and variation are what matter, whether it be fish or fowl. "Let's sequence it before we form our views". Does that not show a similar ignorance and contempt for living things?


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