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Names re-used for newly defined taxa

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Names re-used for newly defined taxa

by Angus » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:49 am

This is a frequent occurrence and a problem not unique to DDb. I have been searching the distribution of records for taxa within the Dryopteris affinis aggregate, where both the names D. affinis and D. borreri have been used at different times to refer to differently defined taxa. Breaking down the searches by date class revealed changes in recording practice as recorders tried to keep abreast of changes in taxonomy and nomenclature. The names D. borreri and later D. affinis were each used for the entire scaly-male aggregate. This was then split into the three subsps. affinis, borreri and cambrensis, which caused no problem. The difficulty arose when Stace 3, following Fraser-Jenkins raised these three taxa to specific level with the same names. Now both D. affinis and D. borreri signify segregates within the complex. A search for records with either of these names brings up both earlier records referring to the aggregate and more recent ones referring to the segregate. If all recorders kept totally abreast of all changes this might not matter, as the date would determine what was intended, but of course this does not happen. Many will continue to use old cards, or to follow their usual recording practice without thinking of possible consequences. (Trichophorum is another obvious example)

Does anyone have any suggestions of how to mitigate this problem? One obvious thing is that all records made prior to the date of change could be re-assigned to the aggregate, and this would go a long way to reduce the number of confusing records. Where there is an overlap between old and new practice it is harder to see what might be done. Perhaps there is no option but to check these records individually as part of the VCR's validation process?
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:38 pm
name: Angus Hannah

Re: Names re-used for newly defined taxa

by admin » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:58 pm

Sorry that your message wasn't replied to for so long.

The issue was raised again recently:


I hope that a re-import of the data from BRC's database will resolve much of the problem soon.
Tom Humphrey
Database Officer, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI)
c/o Centre for Ecology and Hydrology,Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BB, UK.
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Posts: 437
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:16 pm
name: Tom Humphrey

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