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Integration of conflict into integrative taxonomy: fitting hybridization in species delimitation of Mesocarabus (Coleoptera: Carabidae)

Integration of conflict into integrative taxonomy: fitting hybridization in species delimitation of Mesocarabus (Coleoptera: Carabidae)

Ref Art: Andújar, C., et al. 2014. Integration of conflict into integrative taxonomy: fitting hybridization in species delimitation of Mesocarabus (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Molecular Ecology, 23: 4344-4361. doi: 10.1111/mec.12793

05.09.2014

 

Following a period of apparent discredit, in the past decade scientists started talking about Taxonomy again with respect. In great part, the merit can be attributed to some recent efforts to make the discipline more scientific and renew its conception under a new, flashier heading, if for an old practice: Integrative Taxonomy. This form of practicing Taxonomy puts the emphasis on data corroboration, on looking at the problem of species delimitation (and discovery) by comparing independent sources of data, and with a strong bearing on molecular evidence. Corroboration is the business of accumulating evidence supporting a particular fact or hypothesis. As such, data conflict has been treated as a nuisance, an undesirable property of real biological data, and the aim was always rejecting it or trying to outweigh it by accumulating yet more data.

In this article, we argue that conflict is not necessarily a nuisance, but an open window for a privileged view at the evolutionary landscape. Conflict can be real and it needs to be explained and incorporated in our description of biodiversity, also in Integrative Taxonomy. We show how a detailed and systematic analysis of data showing exacerbated conflict helps us to explain satisfactorily a taxonomic conundrum in the beetle genus Carabus. Our point is that a good deal of conflict is not distributed randomly, therefore suggesting a specific, deterministic process responsible for it: interspecific hybridization.

It is in these circumstances, exploiting conflict, not overshadowing it, that Integrative Taxonomy reveals all of its potential, beauty and utility. With Carmelo Andújar and other friends in the Universidad de Murcia, our article aims at convincing our colleagues that this is the most defensible approach. So far, we convinced at least three scientists: see also the 'News and Views' published in the same issue of Molecular Ecology where our article appear, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.12868/full. Will we convince you too?

Reference Article: Andújar, C., Arribas, P., Ruiz, C., Serrano, J. and Gómez-Zurita, J. (2014), Integration of conflict into integrative taxonomy: fitting hybridization in species delimitation of Mesocarabus (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Molecular Ecology, 23: 4344-4361. doi: 10.1111/mec.12793

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