Taxonomic Swap 137238 (Guardado el 02/01/2024)

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Añadido por soniamolino el enero 2, 2024 06:22 TARDE | Comprometido por soniamolino el 02 de enero de 2024
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Hello,

I’m curious how the community feels about the recent recognition on iNaturalist of Parablechnum for some Australasian ferns traditionally placed in Blechnum.

The best practice approach for consulting on taxonomic changes in iNaturalist doesn’t seem to have been done beforehand by the person making the change. So, I’m initiating a discussion here with recent Australasian observers and identifiers of these species.

While there might be a diversity of opinions, I’ll emphasise that if you would like to see taxonomic change minimised, it’s important that you make your voice heard – people who like change tend to just do it, without accounting for others might think.

It’s also important to recognise that this is not about scientific merits. Both alternatives circumscribe genera that are monophyletic (their member species are more closely related to one another than to any species outside their genus).

For the record, the two alternatives are:
(1) a broadly circumscribed Blechnum that includes all indigenous Blechnaceae species in New Zealand and most in Australia (excepting Sadleria, Telmatoblechnum, and perhaps Blechnum orientale).
(2) a (very) narrowly circumscribed Blechnum such that there are no species in Australasia; instead Australasian species are assigned to the likes of Parablechnum, Cranfillia, Austroblechnum, Oceaniopteris, Lomaria...

This blog post has more details of the two alternatives.

So, what is the choice about? It’s largely about what’s best for the users, which is why our opinions matter.

The original proponents of the second approach said they did it because smaller genera “are easier to study” and “facilitate more detailed monographic work”. It seems they did it to make their jobs easier.

I’d contend that it is not a good enough reason to make these changes. Taxonomists (and I’m one) have other options (e.g., subgenera, informal clade names) for framing their research that don’t infer a change burden on general users such as the wider iNaturalist community.

A broadly circumscribed Blechnum is the traditional approach in Australasia (and the rest of the world). The traditional circumscription does need a few tweaks to maintain the scientific criterion of monophyly (such as including Doodia within Blechnum). But this involves many, many fewer name changes compared to splitting Blechnum into many genera.

In my experience, most general users prefer to see taxonomic changes minimised. That’s why I have advocated for a broadly circumscribed Blechnum.

If you believe the same (or otherwise), it would be useful for you to comment below.

If there is enough of a community mandate, perhaps we should look at reversing the changes to Parablechnum.

Note that iNaturalist generally follows the taxonomy of Plants of the World Online (POWO). Personally, I think this is often a poor guide for fern taxonomy. However, POWO does use a broadly-circumscribed Blechnum (i.e., POWO does not recognise Parablechnum).

[edit: the Australian Plant Census uses a broad Blechnum, based on consensus among the Australian herbarium.]

Australasian species affected: Blechnum ambiguum, Blechnum camfieldii, Blechnum gregsonii, Blechnum howeanum, Blechnum minus, Blechnum montanum, Blechnum novae-zelandiae, Blechnum triangularifolium, Blechnum wattsii.

Top recent observers and identifiers of these species in New Zealand: @aline301, @andrewmaungakotukutuku, @ashley_bradford, @barbaraparris, @brucedc, @cbeem, @cco, @chrisclose, @chrise, @dave_holland, @david_lyttle, @dhutch, @emily_r, @greghadley1, @gregs, @h_rogers, @harrylurling, @ianoftawa, @invertebratist, @jack4, @jennysaito, @joedillon, @joepb, @john_barkla, @johnb-nz, @kaipatiki_naturewatch, @leonperrie, @lloyd_esler, @majo00, @mark_smale, @mattward, @meurkc, @mike68lusk, @oscar_dove, @richardlitt, @rowan_hindmarsh_walls, @sebastiandoak, @tramperjames, @tutukiwi, @wownz

Top recent observers and identifiers of these species in Australia: @a_kurek, @alan_dandie, @annabelc, @asimakis_patitsas, @barbaraparris, @baronsamedi, @bill_macrantha, @bushbandit, @corunastylis, @em_lamond, @gregtasney, @gsinclair, @insiderelic, @jackiemiles, @jggbrown, @jimmy_cordwell, @jk0000, @j-neal, @jvanweenen, @katyabandow, @kenharris, @kjellknable, @leonperrie, @light-up-gold, @luis615, @lukemcooo, @margaretjb, @mftasp, @michaelcincotta, @mononymous, @montgomeryhall, @nicfit, @nicklambert, @ninakerr01, @nyoni-pete, @onetapir, @patrick_campbell, @peter27, @philzoe, @quinkin, @ray_turnbull, @recorderer, @reecetaverner, @reiner, @rgvhf, @robertpergl, @scarletmyzomela, @trolley, @w_martin

Thanks to those that have already contacted me about this, expressing their concerns, and asking what can be done.

Publicado por leonperrie hace 5 meses

I must say that having a broadly circumscribed Blechnum made learning ferns much easier for me (that was too many years ago to think about!) and for teaching others, adults and school/university students. The separation of Blechnum from most other ferns by the species sharing distinctive sterile and spore-bearing fronds (except, perhaps, B. fraseri) is easy in the field. And in the field, even absolute beginners can say 'that's a blechnum' and 'that isn't a blechnum' The name 'blechnum' is also short and easy to pronounce. If there is no strong taxonomic (phylogenetic) reason to split Blechnum then it should remain as it has been for well over a century. Qu: would surely apply beyond Australasia e.g. to S African taxa like B. capense?https://inaturalist.nz/observations/94373980 Colin

Publicado por cco hace 5 meses

Thanks Leon. It personally wouldn't effect me at all, but I agree with you on keeping a broadly circumscribed Blechnum. It makes more sense to me, but let's see what everyone thinks!!

Publicado por nicklambert hace 5 meses

Personally I would generally prefer the names to be used that the authoritative group recognizes where a species endemically occurs. This is complicated in Australia by separate state Herbaria but somewhat mitigated by APNI (and hence ALA). I don't know how things are in Europe where there are many smaller jurisdictions. Unfortunately these organizations are large and often slow-moving on taxonomy so this may lag.

Publicado por reiner hace 5 meses

Personally, I prefer a broadly circumscribed Blechnum. Thanks Leon.

Publicado por gregtasney hace 5 meses

I prefer the broadly circumscribed Blechnum. I note that inaturalist usually follows "Plants of the World online" but has not in this case. There seemed to be no discussion that I am aware of prior to the change either.

Publicado por chrise hace 5 meses

I would also support keeping a broadly circumscribed Blechnum.

I notice that this taxon is still sitting with Blechnum as the parent, rather than a separate genus Parablechnum. I wonder if @soniamolino, the author of the swap, is new at making iNat taxonomic changes, their ins and outs and our conventions. I notice particularly that a bunch of taxa that are matched in our taxonomic framework have been replaced by taxa that are not. If you need a hand, please reach out.

Please note this affects a lot more taxa than this one:

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxon_changes?utf8=%E2%9C%93&filters%5Bsplit%5D=0&filters%5Bmerge%5D=0&filters%5Bswap%5D=0&filters%5Bstage%5D=0&filters%5Bdrop%5D=0&filters%5Bchange_group%5D=&filters%5Btaxon_scheme_id%5D=&filters%5Bcommitted%5D=&filters%5Biconic_taxon_id%5D=&filters%5Btaxon_name%5D=&filters%5Btaxon_id%5D=&filters%5Bancestor_taxon_name%5D=&filters%5Bancestor_taxon_id%5D=&filters%5Bsource_id%5D=&filters%5Buser_id%5D=350032

Publicado por mftasp hace 5 meses

It doesn't take more than a couple of clicks to get a feel for the dynamics driving this. That aside:

"The best practice approach for consulting on taxonomic changes in iNaturalist doesn’t seem to have been done beforehand by the person making the change."

To me that is the most fertile direction for considering the issue. Also, is the best practice approach in iNaturalist sufficient and fit for purpose?

I have the highest possible respect and admiration for Leon both in what he does on iNaturalist and what he does in his day job (and, afaik, in every bit of his spare time too). So I would give his views on a topic in his area of specialist expertise the highest level of consideration.

Publicado por andrewmaungakotuk... hace 5 meses

Hi Leon,

I also prefer the broadly circumscribed Blechnum. If there is no particular strong genetics research driving the change then probably don't change it. But I am not a taxonomist, it's just easier to for me (and I'm sure for others as well) to keep things as they are unless there is a clanging reason to change. And yes, as @cco points out, "It's a Blechnum" is a very nice way in the field for newbies to get to grips with these. However, using the family name Blechnaceae also pretty much covers this same goal.

It has been pointed out to me that all names however are valid, each provides a "snapshot" of the thinking/research at that time even if that is based in disagreement. So from that point of view I don't have any objection to name changes. They are just hard to remember!

Publicado por cbeem hace 5 meses

Sonia should have clearly opened a flag for discussion and contacted Kew Science prior to any swap. Let's try to adhere to guidelines 1 & 2 please and offer Sonia any assistance that she might need.

1.) Taxonomy is subjective and not every scientist agrees with every paper
While it may seem like the naming and classification of organisms is a formal process and all scientists agree on what names organisms should have, the truth is much messier. While there are standards for when and how an organism should be named, they do not apply to all taxa, and there are basically no universal standards for when two groups of organisms should be considered separate species. Biologists have never been able to agree on standards in these areas, so the result is much more akin to correct use of language than correct use of the periodic table: everyone has their own opinion, but most people tend to follow authorities (either individuals or groups) who they trust to make reasonable decisions about what names should be used. Thus, using names and classifications just because someone published a paper declaring that they should be used (even a peer-reviewed paper) is not a great idea, because it doesn't prove that the scientific community supports that paper's assertions.

2.) iNaturalist is not a place to argue about taxonomy
Or at least we don't want it to be. Since taxonomy is subjective, people argue about it all the time, and since there is no absolute truth one can apply to settle such disputes, they can become rancorous, often to the point of absurdity. Following taxonomic authorities helps us avoid having these arguments on iNat. We can argue about which authorities to follow, but following authorities allows us to skip arguments about each and every paper.

Publicado por w_martin hace 5 meses

I definitely prefer the broader use of the 'Blechum' genus here personally as it's easier to understand and compare similar taxa, but I do understand why a split might be considered. As others have said the taxon split looks to have been done improperly and without community input, so at the very least should be axed until these steps have been properly followed.

Publicado por tramperjames hace 5 meses

I echo cco's observations in his comment above. Just last night while planning a field session I was wondering whether and when it will be necessary to present this new "correction" to a keen 15yr old student in on-site plant identification for high-quality ...ie passive... restoration purposes.

Changes do make it harder to remember seldom-used names. I still fondly think of B. parriseae as Doodia media... with memories of getting to know it in 1997.

Names are important, and a part of our relationships with plants. Taxonomy is not my special interest, so in the main I dont know or understand the specific reasons for change, so I cannot comment on any specific name changes. But changes do undermine my working knowledge, such as it is, and the ability to communicate it to others.

I recently saw a change for which the reasons given sounded to me quite arbitrary and indeed a matter of personal preference, and I did feel a bit offended at that, but I assumed that I was mistaken, and that there must have been some wider consensus behind it that I could not understand.

If arbitrary change at the whim of curators is actually happening, I stand for humanity as part of the process, carrying forward all our experience and tradition as a part of plant naming:)

Publicado por kaipatiki_naturew... hace 5 meses

I think we need to return to basics and consider the function of the taxonomic system. I hasten to claim no expertise at all in the specifics of the naming of ferns or anything else. Ideally then we would have a naming system which obeys a set of well-accepted rules and based on the best science available at the moment. Opinion of course will take a place probably more often than it should but we must remember at even taxonomists are human. Whether a new system is easier for interested amateurs is therefore beside the point, although I, like most of the respondents here do get tested by the many name changes with which we have to cope. But imagine the frustration of the author of the latest specialist book when, about the time of publication name changes occur.

It seems to me then that in this case the experts have to assess whether the proposed changes were made following approved process and that they have robust scientific backing. If so we all have little choice but to grin and bear them.

Publicado por mike68lusk hace 5 meses

Hello,
Very good considerations. The problem is that, in the case of ferns, the system used by POWO is a very outdated system, and responds to a series of personal interests in which I prefer not to enter, because they transcend the scientific and are not anyone's interest here, where we just enjoy going out and identifying what we see in nature. There is an international pteridological compendium that was published in 2016, the PPG (already a few years ago, but we are already working on the next version), and it works in a similar way as the APG in angiosperms. In POWO, which is the network that iNat follows for all vascular plants, as I say, they refuse to use the international convention for pteridophytes (although not for most angiosperms), and that makes things a lot more difficult in iNat with respect to these organisms. Again, this is not a place to discuss taxonomy, but simply to give context.
At the regional and country (or even continental) level Blechnum is a problem, because in some countries such as Australia and New Zealand it have been preferred to continue using Blechnum sl, which is simpler at the user level, while in other American countries the PPG classification has been being used for a long time now. I understand the reasons, but as this is a cosmopolitan family it is necessary to follow an international convention. The thing is that when I became a curator here I found the problem that in the case of Blechanceae, iNat is mixed, and neither one thing nor the other is followed unanimously. Before this change there were some species of Blechnum sl, mostly American, of the genus Parablechnum that were already under this genus, and others, mostly Austropacific, that were not. The same happens with Lomaridium (some species are under Lomaridium and others under Blechnum, there were even duplicate species with both names!) Likewise, there are some genera in the PPG that were recognized (e.g., Cranfillia) and others that were not (e.g., Diploblechnum).
I don't think it is relevant in this case, but I say all this as an expert in the Blechnaceae family (there are not many), which is what I have been doing for the almost last ten years of my career. Again I don't want to go into this too much, because I don't think arguments from authority are ever good, but one of the problems I see is that these species groups are intercontinental, they occur in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and you can't use a different classification in each area, and having this debate just with Neozelanders and Australians is not useful, that is where the platforms come in to unify, as Chris says (thanks Chris). Here, the main problem is that the Kew platform that is followed in iNat, with which I spoke a few days ago, presents certain problems, and to unify the discontinuities that I mentioned above becomes very complicated. That is why, when I tried to begin this unification, although the name "Parablechnum" appears, if you enter the taxonomic scheme you will see that the species still appear within Blechnum, as a provisional intermediate solution.
Some colleagues and I are looking for the easiest solution to this, which might be to find another platform for the classification of ferns in iNat. The thing is that the classification of ferns is still a mess in iNat, which is a pity, and does not reflect the prevailing opinion of pteridologists.
It occurs to me that, for now and to make things easier, we can unify everything to POWO (ie, put all Blechnaceae of the subfamily Blechnoideae in Blechnum) until we come up with the best solution as to what platform to follow for pteridophytes in iNat. For colleagues following new genera who are finding it very difficult to use iNat in their research because of all this chaos, I can make projects for each of the genera in the PPG as an interim solution by entering the species one by one (something I already did for my own research in Parablechnum), sounds good?
A big hug, and thank you for your interest in these organisms that we love so much!

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

I prefer a broader use of "Blechnum" genus. I have been interested in nature for many decades and have seen many taxonomic changes i.e Casuarina/Allocasuarina etc. I think a broader system is easier for amateurs and neophytes to handle.

Publicado por baronsamedi hace 5 meses

I am not a fern taxonomist, nor a botanist. I am, however, a linguist by training. I want to add that the recent switch removed the name Kiokio from Parablechnum novaezelandiae, which I did not like, and instead uses Palm-leaf Fern. I didn't see a reason why this happened, and I would prefer that it would go back to Kiokio.

If there is some reason why the name changed from the Maori name to the English name, I would like to know.

Publicado por richardlitt hace 5 meses

@richardlitt no reason at all, must be a mistake, I am going to find out how to fix it!

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

Thank you. :)

Publicado por richardlitt hace 5 meses

Thanks Richard and Sonia for correcting the loss of the common name "kiokio" for Parablechnum novaezelandiae. I had forgotten about that, since I haven't encountered kiokio recently, but I had been shocked and saddened at the erasure of the widely used name.

Publicado por kaipatiki_naturew... hace 5 meses

@richardlitt @kaipatiki_naturewatch sure! Thank you for pointed it out, i did not notice it before. I remember everybody named it kiokio when I was in NZ, and I loved it, I am still trying to see how to fix it, because in the description of the taxon the name kiokio appears toghether with the other common names, but for some reason now the default name is the English one, I'm finding out how to change the default one, hope to fix it soon, thanks again!! :)

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

@richardlitt @kaipatiki_naturewatch I think I got it, it should be fine now, could you confirm please?

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

I'm still seeing Palm-leaf Fern.

Publicado por richardlitt hace 5 meses

I’m late to this discussion..I’m not a professional.. just an amateur field naturalist , but I’d much prefer to use the broadly circumscribed Blechnum for Australian ferns.

Publicado por annabelc hace 5 meses

Thank you Sonia! I'm still seeing Palm-leaf Fern too, but maybe it takes a while to seep through the internet:)

Publicado por kaipatiki_naturew... hace 5 meses

I think we need to accept that iNaturalist is a site for recording observations and identifying them by using a universally accepted naming protocol. The current source of names for ferns entered on iNaturalist is POWO.

iNaturalist is not the appropriate place to make changes to taxonomy.

I hope that sonia’s proposal above to “unify everything to POWO (ie, put all Blechnaceae of the subfamily Blechnoideae in Blechnum) until we come up with the best solution as to what platform to follow for pteridophytes in iNat.” means that she will reverse her recent wholesale changes and work on implementing the changes she advocates at POWO rather than here on iNaturalist.

In the meantime, I agree with Leon and support the broader use of the Blechnum genus here on iNaturalist which has worked fine for many years now and has general acceptance in New Zealand.

Publicado por johnb-nz hace 5 meses

It is great to get the detailed comments (above), very interesting and informative.

Publicado por chrise hace 5 meses

Although I'm generally a grouper not a splitter I think Sonia's point about the international nature of this grouping means that I would lean in favour of changing. It seems silly to have a species called one thing here and something else in the US, that defeats the purpose of scientific names in my opinion. As well as this, the fact that some here are already split (eg crannia) means we should commit and change it. It's always annoying having to learn a new name but that's the reality of the game and at least on iNat you can enter the old one in and it knows what you mean. Doesn't really affect me though so I'm easy :)

Publicado por trolley hace 5 meses

I would like to see consistency with the Flora of NZ (https://datastore.landcareresearch.co.nz/dataset/nzflora-brownsey-perrie-2021-blechnaceae) and BiotaNZ i.e. Blechnaceae s.l. especially for university teaching purposes. While I understand the reasons for the suggested change I think NZers should decide the approach to be followed for the NZ flora on iNatNZ and common names too should always be relevant to Aotearoa NZ with preference for Maaori names a priority. The decisions should always be made collectively and in consultation with those affected.

Publicado por brucedc hace 5 meses

Lumpers and splitters seems to be a quite big thing here in many groups, and things often seem to be changing a lot, so I lose track of if things like Nothofagus are Nothofagus or if they are Fuscospora, or if they are both basically the same thing. Though I think hebes arent a thing anymore?

My take is generally, I don't know enough to have any level of expert opinion on things, but I do like it when I am comparing anything that I may know, or at least am trying to learn if I can see a specific feature which is the reason why something is X and not Y. Like say stipules in coprosma. If there is an obvious difference you can use to split in the field, I think it makes sense. But then I know of the trap of extremly similar species being extremly genetically distinct.

What is the defining difference between Parablechnum and blechnum, that would distinguish them side by side?

Publicado por sebastiandoak hace 5 meses

Hello @sebastiandoak , thank you very much for your question, it is a very good appreciation! To give context, the genus Blechnum had 80% of the species of Blechnaceae, but it showed in several articles of authors like L. Perrie or J.M. Gabriel y Galán, to be a polyphyletic genus. To solve the polyphyly of Blechnum one can do two things, one of them is to put the species that make Blechnum polyphyletic within Blechnum (ie, those belonging to the genus Doodia) or to divide it into several different genera.
Acording to the second option (the spliter one) in the genus Blechnum ss remained, fundamentally, monomorphic plants with stoloniferous rhizomes. There are approximately 25 neotropical species, although there are some representatives in Africa. Under this classification there would be no species of Blechnum ss in NZ (I believe Blechnum punctulatum is listed as exotic). Within NZ there would be: Cranfillia, Parablechnum, Austroblechnum, Lomaria, Icarus, Doodia and Diploblechnum.
I am aware that you only asked me about Parablechnum, but since I have started to write I will tell you the synapomorphies of all of them (in NZ), in case they are of interest to anyone :)

-Parablechnum: Parablechnum has about 68 species throughout Central America, South America, Africa and Oceania, it is the largest genus of the family under the spliter classification, and I am very fond of it because I did my doctoral thesis on it, it gave me a lot of good times and a lot of headaches (although that is not a synapomorphy). The best way to distinguish it is that it is terrestrial, the pinnae are petiolate, and the rhizome scales are membranaceous, ovate-lanceolate, and the lamina apex conformal (i.e., ends in a pinna similar to the lateral ones). Also, all NZ species are dimorphic, although there are a couple of monomorphic species in American. In NZ there are 5 species: P. novae-zelandiae, P. minus, P. montanum, P. procerum and P. triangularifolium. All of them are endemic except P. minus, which appears in Australia too. This genus was proposed for the first time in the XIX century by Presl, and he selected P. procerum as the type species!
-Icarus: Icarus has the prize for the most beautiful name, it is the species I. filiformis (= Blechnum filiforme), so called because it spreads on the ground and then climbs trees looking for the sun, as in the myth of Icarus. This genus is monotypic, so it is a genus endemic to NZ! It is perfectly distinguishable because its leaves are trimorphic (the ones that crawl on the ground are one way, the ones that climb up the tree are another and the fertile ones, which come out in the canopy, are another). It resembles a genus that occurs in America and Africa (with a species also in the Pacific), Lomaridium, but Lomaridium has adnate pinnae, and Icarus petiolate. This genus was proposed in the work of Gasper et al in 2016.

-Austroblechnum: it is the second most diverse genus worldwide, but the most diverse in NZ under this classification, and I dare say the most southern on Earth (the species A. penna-marina, which I am sure you know well, is the dominant vegetation on subantarctic Marion Island!!). The name "Austroblechnum" was proposed by Cranfill at the beginning of the century, but he did not publish it, it was rescued by Gasper and collaborators, and refers to the southern distribution of the genus. In this case they are dimorphic plants, with adnate pinnae and veins ending in visible white dots that are hydathodes. In NZ we have: A. banksii, A. colensoi, A. durum, A. lanceolatum (= B. chambersii), A. membranaceum, A. norfolkianum, A. penna-marina.

-Lomaria: it has six species distributed in South America, South Africa, Australia, NZ and New Caledonia, in NZ there is the species Lomaria discolor, a real beauty. Long ago (more than a century) some authors tried to divide Blechnaceae between dimorphic and monomorphic, the dimorphic ones were called Lomaria and the monomorphic ones Blechnum, then it was seen that this was not monophyletic. Instead, Lomaria now corresponds to species that have very grooved rachis and bicolored laminae, i.e., the color of the upper side is radically different from that of the underside. In addition, although this is not well seen in the field, it is the only group in which green spores have been recorded within the Blechnaceae. When I was in NZ, the fertile fronds (this one is dimorphic) reminded me to a backbone, since the base of the fertile pinnae are expanded and withish, so they look like vertebra.

(cont.)

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

(cont.)
-Doodia: this genus was recognized long before PPG and Gasper's articles. It is very different from Blechnum, it has discontinuous sori, it looks as if they were sewn, and the venation is areolate, something very characteristic as well. It belongs to a group that is not very well resolved with two other genera (Oceaniopteris and Neoblechnum) that I am currently working with, but none of those other genera appear in NZ. Doodia has there 5 species: D. aspera (Blechnum neohollandicum), D. australis (Blechnum parrisiae), D. milnei (Blechnum kermadecense), D. mollis and D. squarrosa. Here it may be striking that many epithets do not match between the combination in Blechnum and the combination in Doodia. That is because Doodia is the one that made the genus Blechnum sl polyphyletic, so in order to make the decision to unite everything, it was necessary to combine all the species of Doodia to Blechnum, but as this genus had been widely used since the 19th century, many epithets already existed in Blechnum, so they could not be used, so new ones had to be generated. For example, in the case of Doodia australis, it could not be combined to Blechnum australe, because one already existed, so the epithet parrisiae was created instead, in honor of the magnificent pteridologist Barbara Parris :)
Diploblechnum: this is the easiest one, it is the only one in NZ that is twice pinnate! In NZ there is only one species, D. fraseri, which forms beautiful little trees. Diploblechnum worldwide has 6 species in Oceania.

I think that's all of them, sorry for the rant I've just given you, but I thought it was interesting to have it synthesized here! :)
I recently gave a talk in a course on how to distinguish all the genera worldwide, I would love to give it again at some point (and in English, I did it in Spanish then) and record it so that it is available for everyone.

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

I forgot Cranfillia!!! Cranfillia was the object of study of my colleague Rubén Vázquez, who would be very angry with me right now. Cranfillia was a tricky genus, because at first glance there didn't seem to be many synapomorphies, and the ones that were proposed overlapped with those of Austroblechnum. However in Ruben's monograph he discovered that there were in fact a few, and the phylogeny further supported him. They are dimorphic plants, like Austroblechnum, but with partially adnate basal pairs of pinnae and deflexed first pair of pinnae, and they also have uniseriate trichomes on the lamina, especially on the underside. Ruben has just told me that the trichomes are the best character.
It is a genus with about 20 species. The last 7 or so were described in 2019 by Chambers, in one of his latest papers, and combined to Cranfillia by Peter de Lange and Barbara Parris. In NZ there are three species: C. fluviatilis, C. nigra and C. deltoides.

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

@soniamolino Thank you for the detailed discussion! This makes a lot more sense to me now. Lucky for me when I was learning these I learned them with the "new" names and the "old" names so it does not personally bother me too much, and many of them grow where I live (except Doodia) so I get to practise their names a lot.

Have you been to New Zealand? Our beautiful fern in question is on the NZ ten dollar note, and since I really like ferns, this is my absolute favourite piece of trivia in NZ and I always have a ten dollar note in my pocket so I can show people (https://blog.doc.govt.nz/2016/06/16/our-nature-on-the-money/)!

Thank you :)

Publicado por cbeem hace 5 meses

@cbeem thank you for your words! Yes! I have been there for my research at the begining of 2023, it was a dream! It amazed me how ferns dominate the landscape, and it was so so so beautiful to "meet" in person some species. You have such a wonderful country full of nature wonders, I hope I can go again at some point! :)
And of course, I kept that ten dollar note too! haha

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

Thanks for the very in depth information, if you do have a recording of one of your talks up at some point I would be interested in watching. Definitly a little over my level, but I appreciate it, I do quite want to find Blechnum filiforme now. Seems quite unique. Ferns are still very much on my list to master, but trying to master all visible genera means I often go off on specific interests (Usually dominated by invertebrates).

though I dont always crack out a hundy to show the moth.

Publicado por sebastiandoak hace 5 meses

@sebastiandoak yes! B. filiforme is super unique. In my experience is quite abundant, hope you see it! :)
Thanks again for your interest.

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

The Flora of New Zealand https://datastore.landcareresearch.co.nz/dataset/nzflora-brownsey-perrie-2021-blechnaceae covers off the main points of the discussion to date and provides comprehensive systematic descriptions and illustrations of our NZ species. It should not be overlooked. Please take the time to have a look at what it offers.

Publicado por brucedc hace 5 meses

A timely reminder of this resource, @brucedc Can we not all accept what Landcare says about Blechnum here?

Publicado por cco hace 5 meses

A timely reminder of this resource, @brucedc Can we not all accept what Landcare says about Blechnum here?

Publicado por cco hace 5 meses

At least we now have the common name "kiokio" back in iNaturalist.nz:) Thank you for that.

Publicado por kaipatiki_naturew... hace 5 meses

Of course I didn't overlook NZ's flora, sorry if it seemed so at some point, it is a work that I respect too much and that I have used a lot, it was of critical importance to my research and to get familiar with the species before going there. I just added some information, for example, the synapomorphies for Cranfillia were proposed by the genus expert (Dr. Vazquez) in his dissertation, defended on 2023, so that information was not available during the development of the Flora, I thought deep information about the Blechnaceae NZ genera under the PPG classification could be useful for the community and I shared it. I don't gain money for it or anything, I was just trying to be helpful, sorry if that seemed like I was regretting the NZ flora.
Again, following what is stated in NZ Flora would mean to change also the African and American spp, since they belong to the same group as B. (P.) procerum complex (as Chambers and Farrant used to call it). As I work with all of the species of this group at the same time, African, American, Oceanic and Asian, I noticed that the classification in iNat was mixed, and unifiyed according the PPG classification, in which pteridologist of all continents were implied. Again, I need to clarify that I am not aiming to contradice what is used in your country (the change of the common name was something automatic which I didn't see, and I corrected it as soon as it was pointed, again, sorry for that). New Zealand is a wonderful place regarding people and plants (and many other things), and I am so grateful of having been able to work there, even though it was tried by some people that I couldn't (but that's another story). I am thankful to all the New Zealanders that helped us there, which were way more than those who did not. Again, I am here to help, just let me know what can I do (I made some offers comments ago). Best

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

Thank you Leon for initiating this helpful discussion; much appreciated. As an amateur observer of ferns I agree with you that the broadly circumscribed Blechnum genus should be maintained. It makes little sense to me to have to learn new generic names for what I and many others have recognised for decades as being various species of Blechnum - and as an older person it is also a little challenging to have to learn new names. Let's stick with Blechnum.

Publicado por ianoftawa hace 5 meses

I would also like to remind that scientific names are scientific, that is, they are based on studies carried out by scientists and have an underlying reason behind them. I say this in general, not only in the case of Blechnaceae, because I understand that for the general public it is a nuisance but sometimes it happens, and we cannot rely on it being more or less easy to memorize. For example, rosemary changed its name from Rosmarinus officinalis to Salvia rosmarinus, and this was a shock for everyone, professionals and amateurs, because it is a very common plant and we had to learn a new name. But this is not a whim, it is a change made by a group of scientists for the sake of the classification of the species.
Again, I understand the annoyance, and I'm not talking about the Blechnaceae case now (nor Salvia, it was an example). My point is that if we are plant hobbyists dealing with taxonomic changes will be part of the game many times, and we have to come to terms with it. Scientific names are scientific, for everything else there are the common names.
That's why I insist that it may seem very inclusive to gather the greatest observers of five New Zealand species to ask them which scientific name they prefer, but unfortunately the scientific background of the scientific names of those five species is much larger, and encompasses species from all over the world.

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

Also, @leonperrie , I would like to bring to your attention that I have never accused you of doing bad taxonomy, of trying to make your job easier or other rather ugly things that you have said about me in public forums (not only here) and about my research and that, frankly, deeply offend me when I am just trying to do my job well. I think it has been clear in all the comments I have posted in this discussion that my only goal is to help everyone and understand these organisms well. I admire and have always respected your work, I beg you to at least for once respect mine.

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

I prefer consistency - and it strikes me that this issue is one of different views, i.e."lumpers" like Leon and splitters like others. I tried a few years ago to follow those elements of the PPG system for iNaturalist that made sense, and as such started to follow the segregation of the Blechnaceae, which to me is imminently more sensible than lumping morphologically, ecologically and genetically diagnosable groups into one genus (by and large - some segregate genera were still maintained by the lumpers). I started this process of sorting the genera out on iNaturalist (2017/ 2018) and received such 'unusual' feed back from the main promulgator of a broadened circumscription for the Blechnaceae that I gave up. It felt then as it still does now that making decisions here is like dealing with a selective religious sect.

Since then, and despite all the predominately Australasian grumbles posted here, I have noted an ever increasing body of world-wide peer-reviewed evidence that supports segregation of the Blechanaceae rather than lumping. So personally I am comfortable with the segregate genera.

As I said though I prefer consistency and all I see here is contradiction - for example in New Zealand the eFlora advocates we use Parapolystichum in effect to ensure 'taxonomic stability' because if we didn't a range of fern genera would be lumped into one - how is this any different to what was done there (and before by the authors) for the Blechnaceae. Yet the eFlora admits you can't key out Parapolystichum - they do but if you read the notes under the treatment they admit that without DNA sequences you can't really recognise Parapolystichum. In effect you need to key out your specimen to the old genera, in this case Lastreopsis and then check what the name for your Lastreopsis species is in Parapolystichum - not ideal.

Morphologically I can see Doodia, Diploblechnum, Icarus, Cranfillia, Parablechnum etc but I cannot see Parapolystichum.

However, what is the purpose of iNaturalist? Is it to be a definitive up-to-date taxonomic resource or a place where people can log observations of the world's biota? I see it as the latter not the former.

Understandably, for such a platform you need to set some standard to follow - for the world's flora it is POWO. POWO has its issues, all databases do, but I understand why it was chosen. Do I need to follow the names advocated there in my research etc? No.

On that basis for iNaturalist I am now perfectly happy to use the names used there - noting in my comments the name I use for my work and leave it at that.

I am tired of the squabbles, and see no point in responding to them like I used to.

Publicado por pjd1 hace 5 meses

Hi @soniamolino,

I do not remember saying anything about you specifically in public forums. I have queried taxonomic decision making (in Blechnaceae and in other groups), particularly when it strays from the principle of having a monophyletic classification (above the species level) while minimising change. I’ve come to believe this is a very important principle from my interactions with general users of taxonomic names who are frustrated by name changes. I’m afraid that taxonomists changing names when they don’t need to be changed undermines the taxonomic profession – and that really worries me.

The choice between a broad or narrow Blechnum isn’t a scientific one – both are compatible with monophyletic classifications. Rather, it’s about practical utility. Are the benefits of splitting Blechnum outweighed by the disruption caused to general users? I feel they are not.

To be clear, I’m not against all change. If a genus isn’t monophyletic, it should be re-circumscribed, but this should be done in a way that minimises change.

I acknowledge there are problems with POWO, in part from a lack of transparency. The Australian Plant Census provides an alternative model, with each state voting on proposed taxonomic changes. It is notable because it is principally generalists evaluating the work of specialists. In the case of the Blechnaceae, the APC prefers a broadly-circumscribed Blechnum. That’s probably not surprising because they generally follow the rule of recognising monophyletic genera and families while minimising taxonomic change - see Entwisle & Weston 2005.

With many of the clades within Blechnum sensu lato being widespread, I wonder what would happen if general users in South America etc. were asked what they thought? I suspect their views would be similar to those here, where those having a preference clearly favour a broad Blechnum (presumably because it best entails taxonomic stability).

Thank you for your offer to match POWO; that would be appreciated in this case.

Publicado por leonperrie hace 5 meses

Hello @pjd1

A broadly-circumscribed Blechnum and the recognition of Parapolystichum are both the solutions that achieve monophyly while minimising the number of name changes – there’s the consistency you seek.

It’s not a contradiction if the principle of being monophyletic while minimising name changes sometimes results in a “lumping” option and sometimes a “splitting” option.

I’ll emphasise again – it’s not about lumping or splitting, but trying to minimise taxonomic change since that is what general users predominantly favour.

Yes, Lastreopsis s.s. and Parapolystichum are unfortunately tricky to delimit morphologically, but I know you’ll cope.

Publicado por leonperrie hace 5 meses

Kioranga Leon,

LOL - ae.

"A broadly-circumscribed Blechnum and the recognition of Parapolystichum are both the solutions that achieve monophyly while minimising the number of name changes – there’s the consistency you seek".

This follows the view promulgated by some following the Vienna Code (now two codes out of date) i.e. reduction of name changes and the 'need' for stability. Does it always make sense though? It is but one solution of many, as is evident by the work of taxonomists since the Vienna code.

Yes I 'cope' with Parapolystichum but I am a taxonomist so I am used to this sort of issue but what of the amateurs trying to work them out from scratch? The contradiction is clear - there are clear cut differences in the segregate genera proposed for the Blechnaceae - there are in effect none for Parapolystichum.

Still people can choose what to use for the Blechnaceae and they can choose to follow or refute Parapolystichum - for both there are no rulings from the ICN.

I prefer to maintain genera I can see, like Doodia etc rather than merge them. That's my right as it is yours not to do so.

But I bring this back to the purpose of iNaturalist I said this above " is it to be a definitive up-to-date taxonomic resource or a place where people can log observations of the world's biota? I see it as the latter not the former."

I also said " I am now perfectly happy to use the names used there - noting in my comments the name I use for my work and leave it at that.".

I suggest others do the same.

Me rongo,

Publicado por pjd1 hace 5 meses

@leonperrie No, of course you didn't refer specifically to me, but I have had to read you many times that the people who have followed Blechnum's separation do bad taxonomy, literally. In the first comment of this thread you have said that the people who follow this decision the only thing we seek is to "make our job easier", undervaluing the work of those people some of which is my team and me.
As soon as I can I will unify these species to what POWO dictates. But we will have to see what we do with the species outside Australasia, many American, European and African Blechnaceae species were already under PPG. What do we do with those? genera like Struthiopteris have been included in iNat for many years. Change on a global level is certainly a costly thing, so I would appreciate some help if we do so.

Also, thank you for your comment @pjd1 , the case of Parapolystichum was around my head all the time! and also thank you for the rest ofyour thoughts, I completely agree, that's why I am willing to make the POWO change I offered days ago.

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

A few quick thoughts before I stumble off to bed:

1) Whatever the guidelines (and staff) may say, there is a fundamental problem with POWO as a taxonomic framework for ferns, which is that the genera it defines (largely inherited from GLOVAP) are not maintained as alpha-taxonomy progresses. That is, when new species are published in genera that POWO lumps, there is no organized program by the GLOVAP authors or by Kew to publish new combinations for those species in the more widely circumscribed genera, sensu POWO. So over time, there is a larger and larger residue of fern species that are "unplaced" in POWO and lack a name within the lumped genera. (By contrast, people on both sides of the question on New Zealand Blechnaceae have been good about making sure novelties get recombined in their respective classifications.) This is a problem regardless of one's feelings on lumping, splitting, and taxonomic stability. Right now we're compelled to use it because there's no suitable alternative website for supporting a taxonomic framework, but I don't expect that to be the case forever (and I intend to try to hurry along the process).

2) I tend to agree with Peter that part of the utility of genera is some degree of morphological cohesion. To make use of the present case, if you tell me about some Blechnum sp. I don't recognize, I can't picture much except sori. If you say Lomaridium sp. or Lomariocycas sp., I have a much clearer picture of what the plant might be like. I do think that ability to extrapolate is something that pleases naturalists at large (and not just professional taxonomists). Circumscribing genera is very much a matter of taste, and I do think that having more cohesive and recognizable taxonomic units can be a reason to break up old circumscriptions, not solely cladistics. That said...

3) If I disagree on application, I think the general principle Leon is expounding is one we would do well to heed. People do get upset when scientific names change, whether that's for cladistic reasons or for purported morphological coherence or any other reason. When I had somewhat more liberty to curate fern taxa, the usual question in my mind on seeing some taxonomic novelty was "will it stick"? I want users on this platform to have access to up-to-date alpha-taxonomy, but we should try to avoid swapping to a new set of circumscriptions only to swap back a few years later when they fail to pan out. That's the sort of thing that makes the ordinary naturalist suspect that taxonomy is bunk. On the other hand, I've also learned that some people will be miserable with any change whatsoever, whatever criteria you use.

Apropos of which, perhaps we should consider swapping back into Blechnum only the segregate genera that occur in Australasia, rather than dismantling all of the Blechnaceae deviations? For instance, looking at my references at hand, both Merryweather, "Britain's Ferns", and Hitchock & Cronquist "Flora of the Pacific Northwest", 2nd ed., use Struthiopteris for the deer fern. I understand why this case is controversial, but large-scale removal of the existing deviations is going to cause much more change and taxonomic unhappiness than it solves.

Publicado por choess hace 5 meses

A broadly defined monophyletic circumscription of Blechnum with newly defined subgenera would be the least disruptive and most sensible approach in my opinion.

Publicado por nicfit hace 5 meses

Hi @choess , thank you for your comment. I've thought about that too, we've been widely enough using Struthiopteris in Europe, North America and Asia so changing that would be a mess, so keeping those kind of cases would make sense. But there is still a problem with the Australasian segregates. Cranfillia appears as such, and so does Lomaridium (there is a species on New Caledonia), and this was like this before my curateness (word that I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist), what do we do with those? Maybe shall we apply the change only to Parablechnum? It's the only one that seems to create controversy.
I need to say that that would not be a final solution, since the classification of the family would be a "Frankenstein", so I see it more as provisional, till we have a proper platform, what do you think @choess
Again thank you :)

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

@choess - thank you for a very well reasoned view point. I agree with you. The problem in Aotearoa / New Zealand is that there is no consensus driven model for deciding what taxonomies to follow. There should be, and I have tried repeatedly for this but there is big pressure from particular agencies to ensure it doesn't happen. I gave up. The closest we get to such a model here is that used by the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network - where new names etc are discussed and experts consulted before a consensus view is decided on. I am fully aware of the malcontent expressed by those who dislike name changes - and well remember how many people here were angry that Doodia was merged into Blechnum, Hebe and its allies into Veronica, et seq. so it is not one way, name changes affect ALL of us.

I was though amused to be told to 'cope' with the usage of Parapolystichum, when that genus is indeed difficult to delimit (you need to do a DNA sequence) but see that it is an issue not to follow an increasing body of worldwide evidence that the segregate genera proposed / resurrected for the Blechnaceae are valid, morphologically well-defined and preferred over the more simplified structure offered to reduce name changes. Unlike Parapolystichum these are genera which are easily distinguished from each other, and are being used widely outside Aotearoa / New Zealand and parts of Australia.

But that is not the issue, really. As I said I no longer care what names people use in Aotearoa / New Zealand* for the over all framework of iNaturalist, names do change and they always will. It is enough for me to use what is there and in my comments state my preferences - preferences which I then use in my publications.

More critical than garnering an audience of aggrieved people is that those people read the relevant literature NOT the interpretations offered of them by others and make their own mind up.

*I only get concerned when a name change affects an endemic, threatened taxon for which POWO has incorrect information (or perhaps 'not the full story') and curators with the best of intentions have corrected the names e.g., a recent proposed merger of Microlaena carsei into Ehrharta diplax (our M. avenacea (Microlaena is not accepted by POWO). In this case M. carsei does not have a valid name in Ehrharta. In these cases short of making the necessary combinations myself (which I don't always have time to do) I will argue to retain the Aotearoa / New Zealand usage because if not a threatened endemic ends up as an indigenous plant, and if followed potentially disrupts the conservation management of said species.

Publicado por pjd1 hace 5 meses

From what see, best to use the most broadly applied taxonomy. Do all the Australian Eastern states (Tas, Vic, NWS, Qld) use Blechnum in their census of vascular plants?

If anyone knows how to access the most updated Census of Vascular plants for Victoria I'd like to receive a copy. I can only find the 8th edition from 2007 online.

I'd like to flag Oceaniopteris cartilaginea for review to return Blechnum cartilagineum taxon. Listed on API https://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/services/rest/name/apni/56628/api/apni-format.

Publicado por robertpergl hace 5 meses

@choess I made this table that maybe is more informative of how we can asses this task. I have made 4 columns:

Genus under the PPG
Genus under POWO
Situation of that group in iNat
Global distribution of the group

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vZrCFhi_0X0bsZZ8AA9Oo_x_6qOdd8L35gvgWVBu_5U/edit?usp=sharing

I think I checked all of them, sorry if anything is not accurate, I did it some weeks ago, I taught a fern identification course in Republica Dominicana in which they were working a lot with iNat, and they asked me to teach how to distinghish Blechnaceae genera globally. I went to check the situation in iNat I encountered this problem. I also included an image I made long ago with the aproximate number of spp in each group. It has changed during the last year, but more or less. In fact, there is something you said, Chris, that I don't want to overlook, and that is the problem of describing new species. When I talked to POWO a few days ago I told them this. There are starting to be a high number of new species being described within the family under the PPG classification, especially in genera like Cranfillia, Parablechnum and Austroblechnum, and in most of those cases the name under Blechnum does not exist, and in fact they appear accepted in POWO under the "new" genera (every time I say new I remember that Gasper's article came out 8 years ago and I feel very old).
I think following country level documents for certain regions is against iNat standards, that seeks more global standards, but at the point we are at, reversing the current situation to what is in POWO is a big change, and so is doing it to the PPG. Maybe we can choose which ones can we merge and which not, keep things like they were (reverting Parablechnum)...? I am not very sure of what to do.

@robertpergl yes, Oceaniopteris is one of the ones that is mixed, for some reason, let's see what can we do with the family and how can we fix it.

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

@robertpergl as far as I know APC has explicitly rejected the split.

We still have the problem that there is no taxon framework relationship for Parablechnum or any of the new genera.

@soniamolino, what is the progress in reverting all these name changes? I think it's very clear there is no consensus to deviate from POWO.

Publicado por mftasp hace 5 meses

@mftasp Hello,
Yes, I have mentioned some of the taxonomic frameworks that support the segregate genera of Blechnaceae before, especially the PPG (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jse.12229), which would be the APG in pteridology, and also on other online platforms, such as, Ferns of the World.
The problem is that the genera are not on POWO or the particular Australian and New Zealand platforms, but they are supported and followed in many other parts of the world. I am clarifying this because I got a little lost with the expression "here is no taxon framework relationship" and I am not sure what it means. I'm very sorry, having this conversation in my second language sometimes makes me a bit lost in translation!
The problem we mentioned before is what to do with the rest of the genera, which for some reason have been included in iNat for long time despite not being in POWO (see the table above, in the comment where I tagged @choess ). I would like to emphasize this because because I don't want it to look like I've changed everything in the segregated genera here, I changed only a few taxa, but the family status I came across in iNaturalist was and is that of the above table, a time when shifting everything to POWO or everything to PPG is a big change in the platform, which I don't know why it's halfway between the two.

As I said, it seems that Parablechnum causes special controversy, in fact, there are other New Zealand and Australian Bechnaceae that have been following the segregates here for a long time and do not seem to have caused any problem (maybe they are less common in the field? I don't know), so I will revert this concrete change, even the family remains non-monophyletic iNat for now. However, as I said, Parablechnum appears in America and Africa too, and indeed some species out of Australasia were already on Parablechnum before I did anything and those should be changed too, so it will take some time and I don't want to leave it half done. I will do it when I can, I am a university professor and we are in exam period, thank you very much for your understanding. If there is a hurry I appreciate hands :)

For the rest of the cases, I am looking for advice, because I can't find anything that satisfies everyone (worldwide).

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

Hi @soniamolino,

All taxa in iNaturalist are supposed to have a Taxon Framework Relationship, which attaches our taxon concept to an external taxonomic authority, in the case of plants, our external authority is Plants of the World Online. We do this, among other reasons, so that we are all clear on what taxon concept we use, and to get around the fact that iNaturalist has no authorities, so that it becomes very difficult to deal with isonyms.

The Taxon Framework Relationship sits in the taxon page, under the Taxonomy tab, and in English it is labelled "Taxonomy Details".

For example the now-inactivated Blechnum wattsii is linked to the correct entry in Plants of the World Online: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/138033/taxonomy_details, whereas your new Parablechnum wattsii has an empty Taxon Framework Relationship: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/1522427/taxonomy_details

In some cases, the curators may decide to deviate from our external taxonomic authority, usually by consensus. The process is to open a flag and discuss, and try to come with a mutually acceptable solution. This particular classification has been discussed in the past, I'm sure there are flags if you look, and if I recall correctly, the consensus has so far been that PPG offers is a less practical classification than POWO so we have stuck with POWO, which is why the genus Parablechnum is currently inactive and synonymised into Blechnum.

If I can be so blunt, I think the reason people have got particularly touchy about this one is that you: a) replaced the community-agreed-on classification that had been curated to have a proper set of Taxon Framework Relationships with taxa that have no relationship; b) nested all the Parablechnum combinations under the wrong genus (Blechnum); c) ignored previous discussion about the group and just went ahead and made the swaps unilaterally.

Si prefieres o no entiendes algo, dímelo y te lo traduzco al español, pero prefiero ponerlo en inglés para que el resto de la gente lo entienda.

Publicado por mftasp hace 5 meses

I would politely dispute the idea that "the consensus has so far been that PPG offers a less practical classification than POWO".

As best I can remember, my experience of fern curation on iNaturalist has been this:
In the early days, taxonomy was pretty explicitly based on regional floras, which were supposed to be cited as references in taxon changes, and when creating new taxa. New Zealand came onto the platform quite early, and so we wound up with a rather heterogeneous taxonomy with different generic concepts co-existing on iNat.

That more or less got superseded when taxon frameworks were introduced into the software and POWO was introduced as the framework for vascular plants. As the ''de facto'' principal fern curator on the platform, I installed a very large number of deviations, both to preserve parts of the existing taxonomy and sometimes subsequent to updating it. This generally pushed things in the direction of PPG I, but I largely tried to be conservative about it and not push new taxonomy too fast. My overall goal was to try to keep us aligned with the prevailing opinions of alpha-taxonomists; IMO, being able to incorporate newly described species into our taxonomy so that they can be sought by observers or just recorded is a worthy goal. So the questions I tended to ask were "Will this taxonomic change really be accepted by the professional community, or will many people be skeptical" and "How many people will be very mad at me if I change this name?" I like to think I did that pretty well. If you look at the beginnings of https://www.inaturalist.org/flags/271039 you can see the work we did to set up a system of PPG-aligned deviations.

I deliberately avoided trying to do this for Blechnaceae, Hymenophyllaceae, and lycophytes, because I knew that there were strong differences of opinion from Aus/NZ about generic circumscriptions there, and I thought leaving the taxonomy in a muddle was preferable to the conflict that's playing out in this thread.

About a year and a half ago (maybe triggered by my update of Thelypteridaceae taxonomy which caused a North American user to become extremely upset when the name of a common fern changed, but I don't really know), Scott began to firmly insist that POWO was our authority of record and that I should not install large deviations. There hasn't been any push to remove the existing ones which I think is a good thing--adopting the POWO classification and changing all the cheilanthoid ferns to Hemionitis would produce about two orders of magnitude more rancor than has been generated by the Blechnum controversy--but since it is his website, I have felt constrained not to recognize newer non-POWO genera, even ones that I don't feel would be controversial.

As far as the proposed swaps back to Blechnum go, I'm compelled to accede to them by the rules of the platform (although strictly as a personal opinion, I find the segregate genera useful, as explained above.) There is no suitable website right now to provide an alternative taxon framework to POWO for ferns and lycophytes right now; there will be eventually (perhaps through WFO, perhaps a standalone website, but I don't know when).

As outlined previously, I think there are fundamental problems with how POWO deals with ferns, specifically that they have circumscribed some very broad genera but are making no efforts to recombine new species into them, so that their circumscriptions become less and less coherent every year. I do not expect that a PPG-curated alternative framework would have that problem, and I would also expect that on net, the number of deviations in our taxonomy would be sharply reduced. However, I think it's likely that that framework would support the splitting of, e.g., Blechnum or Trichomanes into smaller genera, and that a number of species would get swapped back out of Blechnum again. I'm not trying to wish-cast my preferences; that's just my reading of the overall temperature of the pteridological community. Ultimately, as Leon said a few years ago in the linked flag, the inevitable result of having a global system and taxonomy is that it does ride roughshod over regional taxonomy and variations.

So yes, if you want things swapped back to Blechnum, sobeit, but I don't think that alignment with Aus/NZ regional taxonomy is going to endure forever, and that we will probably wind up reversing some of these swaps in the future.

Publicado por choess hace 5 meses

@mftasp Thank you for your awnser. No, in many spp there are no flags at all (mostly out of Australasia, but also in some there), that's what I am talking about, that's why I thought that unification under the international consortium wouldn't be a problem, I've would never have thought that there would be such strong regional preferences regarding taxonomy, my bad.

Y no, gracias, no necesito más traducción! Tengo la aplicación configurada en español y esos apartados se llaman de otra manera. Yo también prefiero el inglés, naturalmente, y no tengo problema en hablarlo, me viene bien de hecho, así no me oxido de cara al congreso internacional de botánica :)

I have nothing more to add because @choess has been brilliant as always, thank you again Chris,

Publicado por soniamolino hace 5 meses

@choess - an excellent summary thank you, and for the record there isn't much 'rancor' here in Aotearoa just from a few, many of us here use the segregate genera for Blechnaceae, Lycopodiaceae, Cyatheaceae, Hymenophyllaceae - no problem with them (see www.nzpcn.org.nz). As I said above 'more critical than garnering an audience of aggrieved people is that those people read the relevant literature NOT the interpretations offered of them by others and make their own mind up' - I teach my students to do just this and I also use such debates as this one for my courses to provide examples of the politics of taxonomy.

Publicado por pjd1 hace 5 meses

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