Re: Defining species: PSC

To: "Carol Probets" <>,
Subject: Re: Defining species: PSC
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 11:08:06
Carol -

The basis of the Biological Species Concept (BSC) is reproductive isolation
(biological - not geographical); biological species are actual or potential
viably reproductive units.  The basis of the Phylogenetic Species Concept
is cladistics; a phylogenetic species is the smallest distinct group or
population of common ancestry - evolutionary units.

Once you start getting into details there are many complications.  A couple
of interesting papers to read are:

Zink, Robert M. (1997). Species concepts. Bulletin of the British
Ornithologists' Club 117 (2): 97-109.

Snow, D.W. (1997). Should the biological be superseded by the phylogenetic
species concept?. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 117 (2):

Both papers are extensivly referenced and will lead you, if you are so
inclined, deep into an ongoing debate.

Regards,  Hugo.

Hugo Phillipps,
Birds Australia Conservation & Liaison,
Australian Bird Research Centre,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East, VIC 3123, Australia.
Tel: (03) 9882 2622. Fax: (03) 9882 2677.
O/s: +61 3 9882 2622. Fax: +61 3 9882 2677.
Email: <>
Web Homepage:

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