Concepts of species proposed within the phylogenetic paradigm arecritically reviewed. Most so called ‘phylogenetic species concepts’ relyheavily on factors immaterial to phylogenetic hypotheses. Thus, theyhave limited empirical content and offer weak bases on which to makedecisions about real problems related to species. Any workable notion ofspecies relies on an explicit character analysis, rather than onabstract properties of lineages, narrative predications and speculationson tokogenetic relationships. Species only exist conjecturally, as thesmallest meaningful units for phylogenetic analysis, as based oncharacter evidence. Such an idea considers species to be conjecturesbased on similarity, that are subsequently subject to testing by theresults of analysis. Species, thus, are units of phylogenetic analysisin the same way as hypotheses of homology are units of comparablesimilarities, i.e. conjectures to be tested by congruence. Althoughmonophyly need not be demonstrated for species-level taxa, hypotheses ofrelationships are the only basis to refute species limits and guidenecessary rearrangements. The factor that leads to recognition ofspecies is similarity in observed traits. The concept of life cycle isintroduced as an important element in the discussion of species, as anefficient way to convey subsidiary notions of sexual dimorphism,polymorphism, polytypy and clusters of diagnosable semaphoronts. Thenotion of exemplars is used to expand the concept ofspecies-as-individual-organisms into a more generally usable concept.Species are therefore proposed for a diagnosable sample of(observed or inferred) life cycles represented by exemplars all of whichare hypothesized to attach to the same node in a cladogram, and whichare not structured into other similarly diagnosable clusters. Thisdefinition is character-based, potentially testable by reference to abranching diagram, and dispenses with reference to ancestor-descendantrelationships or regression into population concepts. It provides aworkable basis on which to proceed with phylogenetic analysis and abasis for that analysis to refute or refine species limits. A protocolis offered for testing hypotheses of species boundaries in cladograms.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 15, 2004
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