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      Genetic Diversity and Conservation Units: Dealing With the Species-Population Continuum in the Age of Genomics

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      Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
      Frontiers Media SA

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          Cryptic species as a window on diversity and conservation.

          The taxonomic challenge posed by cryptic species (two or more distinct species classified as a single species) has been recognized for nearly 300 years, but the advent of relatively inexpensive and rapid DNA sequencing has given biologists a new tool for detecting and differentiating morphologically similar species. Here, we synthesize the literature on cryptic and sibling species and discuss trends in their discovery. However, a lack of systematic studies leaves many questions open, such as whether cryptic species are more common in particular habitats, latitudes or taxonomic groups. The discovery of cryptic species is likely to be non-random with regard to taxon and biome and, hence, could have profound implications for evolutionary theory, biogeography and conservation planning.
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            The integrative future of taxonomy

            Background Taxonomy is the biological discipline that identifies, describes, classifies and names extant and extinct species and other taxa. Nowadays, species taxonomy is confronted with the challenge to fully incorporate new theory, methods and data from disciplines that study the origin, limits and evolution of species. Results Integrative taxonomy has been proposed as a framework to bring together these conceptual and methodological developments. Here we review perspectives for an integrative taxonomy that directly bear on what species are, how they can be discovered, and how much diversity is on Earth. Conclusions We conclude that taxonomy needs to be pluralistic to improve species discovery and description, and to develop novel protocols to produce the much-needed inventory of life in a reasonable time. To cope with the large number of candidate species revealed by molecular studies of eukaryotes, we propose a classification scheme for those units that will facilitate the subsequent assembly of data sets for the formal description of new species under the Linnaean system, and will ultimately integrate the activities of taxonomists and molecular biologists.
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              How to fail at species delimitation.

              Species delimitation is the act of identifying species-level biological diversity. In recent years, the field has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of methods available for delimiting species. However, most recent investigations only utilize a handful (i.e. 2-3) of the available methods, often for unstated reasons. Because the parameter space that is potentially relevant to species delimitation far exceeds the parameterization of any existing method, a given method necessarily makes a number of simplifying assumptions, any one of which could be violated in a particular system. We suggest that researchers should apply a wide range of species delimitation analyses to their data and place their trust in delimitations that are congruent across methods. Incongruence across the results from different methods is evidence of either a difference in the power to detect cryptic lineages across one or more of the approaches used to delimit species and could indicate that assumptions of one or more of the methods have been violated. In either case, the inferences drawn from species delimitation studies should be conservative, for in most contexts it is better to fail to delimit species than it is to falsely delimit entities that do not represent actual evolutionary lineages. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
                Front. Ecol. Evol.
                Frontiers Media SA
                2296-701X
                October 23 2018
                October 23 2018
                : 6
                Article
                10.3389/fevo.2018.00165
                7a34722c-cf0d-4d4d-a3e6-0734650a991b
                © 2018

                Free to read

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


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