Navigation Links
Dealing with taxonomic uncertainty for threatened and endangered species

As part of a symposium on "Defining species for threatened and endangered protection" Barbara Taylor, Ph.D., NOAA Fisheries Service, will discuss the need to explicitly consider uncertainty in taxonomy in conservation decisions. Species concepts continue to be a contentious, but largely philosophical debate among academic biologists. How differences between groups of organisms are identified, however, can have real, on-the-ground policy implications for which species receive legal protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Taylor brings her experience in designing management decision rules that acknowledge and deal with the high level of uncertainty resulting from typical cases with a dearth of data. She points out that while many fields of conservation science have advanced on how to make decisions when uncertainty is high, taxonomy has not.

Taxonomy has been an evidentiary field requiring a strong burden of proof to propose taxonomic changes such as new species. The high data requirement, particularly requiring morphological data from skull collections, has resulted in certain taxonomic groups (like whales) being at a disadvantage and likely under-representing the true taxonomic diversity.

Taylor illustrates the problem of taxonomic uncertainty with a case involving killer whales, which will likely be separated into multiple species or sub-species. The petition to list Southern Resident killer whales under the ESA revolved not around risk but rather on whether these whales met the definition of Distinct Population Segment used as the smallest unit to conserve under the ESA.

Taylor discusses the potential of incorporating uncertainty into taxonomic considerations, as is commonly done in other biological fields, to allow precautionary decision-making for the purposes of conservation. She illustrates such a possible route using a decision table that uses information on both risk and the likelihood of attaining more data quickly to place potential species or sub-species as designated for conservation purposes.


Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA Headquarters

Related biology news :

1. Earthworm detectives provide genetic clues for dealing with soil pollution
2. Managing uncertainty important in ecological balance: ASU researcher
3. Uncertainty drives the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds
4. Revealing the evolutionary history of threatened sea turtles
5. Tropical rainforest and mountain species may be threatened by global warming
6. 7 Texas mammals listed as threatened on Global Mammal Assessment
7. Newly discovered monkey is threatened with extinction
8. New population of highly threatened greater bamboo lemur found in Madagascar
9. Scripps study sets high economic value on threatened Mexican mangroves
10. When threatened, a few African frogs can morph toes into claws
11. Threatened or invasive? Species fates identified
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Biometrics ... The report forecasts the biometrics market ... CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. The ... inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and ... a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... BETHESDA, Md. , June 22, 2016  The American ... by Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of ... Summit on May 25-27 at the Bellagio in ... based on the highest percentage of growth in each of ... number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... LOS ANGELES , June 22, 2016 ... of identity management and verification solutions, has ... cutting edge software solutions for Visitor Management, ... ® provides products that add functional ... The partnership provides corporations and venues with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016  Liquid Biotech USA ... a Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of ... from cancer patients.  The funding will be used ... with clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a ... be employed to support the design of a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a ... eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research ... by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
Breaking Biology Technology: