RFI: Albatross taxonomy

To: "Birding-Aus Mail" <>
Subject: RFI: Albatross taxonomy
From: "Lawrie Conole" <>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 16:06:27 +1000
Dr Bob Berry wrote:

>The only justification for it is those authors' preference for the
>phylogenetic species concept. Their interim classification was adopted in
>the listings of the endangered and vulnerable species subject to the
>Australian Federal Government's Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 when
>updated in January 2000 (Environment Australia 2000). The merit of this
>change is doubtful. Robertson and Nunn themselves state that

It seems to me (not having read ANY of this albatross stuff first hand),
that the Phylogenetic Species Concept (PSC) is a middle ranking issue here.
Robertson & Nunn seem to be concerned principally about biodiversity
protection, and see the PSC as an enabling tool for that purpose.  In
Australia subspecies receive protection under most federal & state
conservation legislation (perhaps all?), and so the PSC is not seen as being
a political necessity.  In many other parts of the world only so-called
'full species' are covered - ssp are ignored - making the PSC a perhaps
understandably attractive proposition.  The following reference gives a good
example of this approach, and there's also a reference for a rebuttal.  I
can see various positives about the PSC, but political expediency as sole
justification is a poor excuse for deploying it IMHO.

Hazovoet, C.J. (1996), Conservation and species lists: taxonomic neglect
promotes the extinction of endemic birds, as exemplified by taxa from
eastern Atlantic islands.  Bird Conservation International 6: 181-196.

Collar, N.J. (1996), Species concepts and conservation: a response to
Hazovoet. Bird Conservation International 6: 197-200.

Cheers -- Lawrie

(PS:  These papers were supplementary reading provided by Dr Dave Watson for
the 'Evolution, Taxonomy and Biogeography of Birds' subject for the Charles
Sturt Uni course - Graduate Certificate of Ornithology.  Thanks Dave.)

L A W R I E   C O N O L E
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