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Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Cladistics, Phylogeny, Systematics & Taxonomy

What, If Anything, Are Species?

By: Brent D Mishler(Author)
160 pages, 6 b/w illustrations
What, If Anything, Are Species?
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  • What, If Anything, Are Species? ISBN: 9780367715052 Paperback May 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
  • What, If Anything, Are Species? ISBN: 9781498714549 Hardback Apr 2021 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
Selected version: £155.00
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

This book is an extended argument for abandoning the various single concepts and the "species" rank. The author proposes that the rank of "species" be replaced by a pluralistic view. In such taxonomy, the smallest identifiable lineages would be used within various divergent phylogenies in a context-dependent manner. In such a view, "species" represents different sorts of things depending on the organism/lineage being considered. In practice, this is what is already done although it is not formally recognized.

Key features:
- Proposes the replacement of restrictive species concepts with a pluralistic view
- Suggests abandoning the formal taxonomic rank of "species"
- Considers zoological, botanical and microbiological aspects of the species level
- Deals with practical issues such as conservation, inventories and field guides


1. Introduction

Part I: What Should the Species Level Represent within the Current Ranked Codes of Nomenclature?
2. The Need for Pluralism Because of Different Biologies in Different Taxa
3. A Phylogenetic Species Concept

Part II: What Should Happen to Taxa at the Traditional Species Level under a Rankless Code of Nomenclature?
4. General Principles of Rankless Classification Extended to the Species Rank
5. Discussion: What Would the World Be Like without the Species Rank?


Customer Reviews


Brent Mishler is Director of the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley, as well as a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, where he teaches systematics and plant diversity. A native southern Californian, he attended Bonita High School in La Verne, California and worked for Los Angeles County as a ranger-naturalist at San Dimas Canyon County Park, where he became interested in natural history and especially botany. He attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he received his B.S. degree in Biology in 1975 and his M.S. in biology in 1978. He then received his PhD from Harvard University in 1984 and was on the faculty at Duke University in Durham, NC for nine years before moving to UC Berkeley in 1993.

By: Brent D Mishler(Author)
160 pages, 6 b/w illustrations
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