Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Linnaeus' Legacy #9 - Classifying the Classifiers

Welcome to the 9th Edition of Linnaeus's Legacy, the only blog carnival devoted solely to the wonderful biodiversity of life on Earth and the methods we use to understand it. Here I've collected a wide range of the past month's best blog writing on biodiversity, taxonomy, and systematics. In thinking about how to organize this collection of writing, it occurred to me (major light bulb here) that I should try to organize them systematically! So, here is the Sly (2008) taxonomy of Linnaean blog writing.

Kingdom Blogosphera

This kingdom is defined by any internet writing in the blog format, defined as individual writing pieces published sequentially and displayed in reverse chronological order.

Order Linnaea

These blogospherans are defined by their common foraging niche. They prefer to feed on taxonomic subjects.

Genus Foundation

Species in this genus are believed to be basal members of the order Linnaea, as they deal only with the building blocks of systematics - collections, taxonomic guides, and phylogenetic hypotheses.

Foundation echinoblog

Chris M at The Echinoblog writes about the essential foundation of all taxonomy and systematics work - The Natural History Museum.

Foundation ninety-five

Eric Heupel at The Other 95% reports good news for fans of butterflies and moths - the collection of Carl Linnaeus has been digitized and put online in beautiful detail.

Foundation denemark

Eric Denemark, an undergraduate on an ecology class in Kenya, writes in his blog about having to create his own field guide to the scorpions of Kenya.

Foundation earlybird

This is a wide-ranging, polytypic species that feeds on avian relationships, particularly those in the new Avian Tree of Life study published recently in Science. One subspecies, Grrlscientist, feasts on the new avian tree of life phylogeny and points out the basics. The subspecies Catalogue of Organisms examines the phylogeny at a deeper level - why the journal Science wasn't the best place to publish work of this magnitude. Greg Laden talks about the pre-existing framework that this study fits into and why there is more yet to come. Finally, I go into exhaustive detail in my own post about the tree, examining each individual clade of birds and what evidence beyond this new phylogeny supports them.

Genus Humanity

These species are grouped together by a common running theme. Science (including taxonomy) is a human endeavor, subject to plenty of prejudices, errors, and difficulties.

Humanity deepseanews

Kevin Zelnio at Deep Sea News reports on the general problem of their being too much taxonomic work left to do for the scientists to handle easily.

Humanity catalogueoforganisms

Christopher Taylor of Catalogue of Organisms examines local taxonomy in Japan and briefly wonders about the impact of human bias on science.

Humanity laelaps

Brian Switek of Laelaps has two excellent posts about taxonomy and science in general as a human endeavor. First, he details questionable paleontological discoveries back in the early days. In Geese from barnacles, he writes about a spurned scientist outing the Royal Society of London for publishing a silly myth as fact.

Humanity dracovenator

Adam Yates of Dracovenator writes about revising poor hypotheses of dinosaur relationships, with his new reconstruction of the skull of Antarctosaurus.

Humanity dcbirding

John Beetham of A DC Birding Blog reports on children's perceptions of biodiversity and their ideas about which species are most important, and notes the bias against invertebrates.

Genus Discovery

These species share the featuring of new species discoveries.

Discovery ramblings

I write here at Biological Ramblings about the new species of vertebrate described in the first five months of 2008 - all 130 of them.

Discovery rocketscience

Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science reviews a paper that estimates over 1000 genera of dinosaur fossils remain to be discovered. We are in a golden age of discovery in paleontology, with the number of dinosaur genera known almost doubling since 1990.

Discovery gallicissa

Amila Salgado of Gallicissa writes about an array of new frog species recently described from Sri Lankan, some of which are unfortunately known only from specimens and are probably already extinct.

Genus WonderfulLife

This common genus features many species that focus on particular taxonomic groups and why they are fantastic and interesting.

WonderfulLife lordgeekington

Cameron McCormick of The Lord Geekington has been writing about a poorly known group of whales - the beaked whales (Ziphiidae). In his introduction, Cameron outlines how the family in general is poorly known and why. In Hyperoodon, Cameron delves into the body of literature on the few beaked whales that are actually well known.

WonderfulLife echinoblog

Chris M at The Echinoblog writes about a bizarre and puzzling early Echinoderm: "You know things are getting weird, when people start debating where the MOUTH is located"

WonderfulLife nudibranchs

The Annotated Budak writes about various nudibranchs. You can never have enough nudibranchs to stare at in wonder.

WonderfulLife myrmecos

Alex Wild of Myrmecos Blog photographs in lovely detail the variation in size in a single ant colony, from minor workers to super majors.

WonderfulLife mysticeti

Christopher Taylor of Catalogue of Organisms writes about the baleen whales (Mysticeti) and their evolution.

WonderfulLife wildlifewisdom

At Wisdom of Wildlife, we learn about the butterfly diversity in an urban island of habitat. We also get an introduction to the Lycaenidae, a group of small butterflies.

WonderfulLife besg

Bird Ecology Study Group writes about the beautiful species of Broadbill on the Thai-Malay Peninsula

WonderfulLife bacteria

Craig McClain at Deep Sea News writes about the relationship of temperature, latitude, and species richness - in bacteria.

Genus Philosophy

This monotypic genus is represented by a sole extant species: the Wilkins.

Philosophy wilkins

John Wilkins of Evolving Thoughts argues that there is no unique rank to a "species" but they do indeed exist. Be sure to check out his blog for further insightful posts on the philosophy of systematics.

Well, that's all. I expect to see thorough rebuttals of my taxonomic proposals submitted in droves for next month's Linnaeus' Legacy! Send submissions to Christopher Taylor.


  1. Wow, this is huge! Great Job!

    But for The Other 95% entry (Foundation zelnio), that was written by my esteemed coblogger, Eric Heupel.

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