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Everyone uses species. All human cultures, whether using science or not, name species. Species are the basic units for science, from ecosystems to model organisms. Yet, there are communication gaps between the scientists who name species, called taxonomists or systematists, and those who use species names – everyone else. What Species Mean opens the "black box" of species names, to explain the tricks of the name-makers to the name-users. Species are real, and have macroevolutionary meaning, and it follows that systematists use a broadly macroevolution-oriented approach in describing diversity. But scientific names are used by all areas of science, including many fields such as ecology that focus on timescales more dominated by microevolutionary processes. What Species Mean explores why different groups of scientists understand and use the names given to species in very different ways, and the consequences for measuring and understanding biodiversity.
2. General concepts
3. Everyone uses species
4. Why do the names keep changing?
5. Species are units of evolution
6. Natural patterns in classification
7. Are species real?
8. How to name a species
9. Biodiversity and extinction through time
10. How many species are there?
11. Dynamic patterns in biodiversity
12. Translating biodiversity across cultural barriers
Dr Julia D. Sigwart is the director of the Queen's University Marine Laboratory, an interdisciplinary institute for marine science in Portaferry, N. Ireland. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Victoria, and then took up a position on the scientific staff at the American Museum of Natural History. She later moved to Ireland, to manage a research programme linking the National Museum of Ireland (Natural History) and University College Dublin. In 2009, she moved to her faculty position in Queen's University, Belfast. She has published over 70 papers on diverse topics and organisms. Her research focuses on the evolution of diversity in molluscs and other animal groups, spanning both living and fossil species.