Author: Andrew Baird
The Project Phoenix Townsville + Sydney + Perth crew ran a workshop on the use of nomenclatures in taxonomy on 19th February 2021.
The workshop outlined how to put together a useful nomenclature and how to use a nomenclature to progress coral taxonomy. The bottom line is that working within the “accepted” coral taxonomy is not a legitimate approach. We need to revisit all the nominal species in our taxa of interest and test these species against multiple lines of evidence. The first step in the process is to collect topotypes and check the type materials. Our idea of a “good nomenclature” is to have all that information in one spreadsheet.
The workshop is currently being further developed to allow for zoom presentations to colleagues in other parts of the world.
As a result of the workshop, Project Phoenix is now collaborating with Bert Hoeksema and World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) to put together a nomenclature for the hermatypic Scleractinia that includes over 2,500 nominal species. This involves collating and consulting the original descriptions of all these species contained in over 250 different authorities in at least 5 different languages. This is a massive task that will take hundreds of hours. However, it is the first and necessary step for a new taxonomy to rise from the ashes of the old.
The ultimate goal is to make all this new information readily available at WoRMS.