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:11/18/2015)... PHILADELPHIA , Nov. 18, 2015  As new ... in children, doctors and other healthcare providers face challenges ... counsel families and patients. In addition, as more children ... into a patient,s adulthood and old age. ... The Children,s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Paris ... --> Paris , qui s,est ... DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le ... et empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, ... l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Nov 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... developer of human interface solutions, today announced expansion ... Synaptics TouchView ™ touch controller and display ... architectural revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI products ... include TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... uBiome, were featured on AngelList early in their initial angel funding process. Now, ... syndicate for individuals looking to make early stage investments in the microbiome space. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. ... Healthcare Conference in New York on Wednesday, ... Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a corporate ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT ... and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - ... the request of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto ... this news release there are no corporate developments that ... price. --> --> ... --> . --> Aeterna Zentaris ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its Executive Council, has officially ... to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV racing has exploded in ... racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the community because of their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: