Location: Systematic Entomology
Title: Nomenclatural Benchmarking: The roles of digital typification and telemicroscopy Authors
Submitted to: ZooKeys
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 13, 2012
Publication Date: July 20, 2012
Citation: Wheeler, Q.D., Bourgoin, T., Coddington, J., Gostony, T., Hamilton, A., Kelley, A., Larimer, R., Polaszek, A.P., Schauff, M.E., Solis, M.A. 2012. Nomenclatural Benchmarking: The roles of digital typification and telemicroscopy. ZooKeys. 209:193-202. Interpretive Summary: Our ability to explore, sustain, and utilize biodiversity depends on accurate species identifications, predictive classifications, and reliable scientific names. The process of nomenclatural benchmarking is the examination of type specimens to ascertain which currently accepted species the specimen bearing the name falls within. There are four major challenges for nomenclatural benchmarking: 5-6 million type specimens are estimated to exist, the adding of more type specimens as new species are described, access to actual type specimens, and access to all e-types via a portal. We propose a strategy for each of these challenges from modification of the Code of Zoological Nomenclature to the creation of a global archive of e-types. The strategy will be useful to arthropod systematists and all other professions worldwide that use scientific names to communicate about arthropod species.
Technical Abstract: The process of nomenclatural benchmarking is the examination of type specimens of all available names to ascertain which currently accepted species the specimen bearing the name falls within. We propose a strategy for addressing four challenges for nomenclatural benchmarking. First, there is the matter of a massive backlog. It has been estimated that the nearly two million currently recognized species are accompanied, including names in synonymy, by perhaps five to six million types. Second, there is the issue of adding to the backlog through the description of new species. There is no formal requirement or expectation that types of the 18,000 or so species described each year be digitized. Third, there is a need for access to type specimens by experts in cases where existing digital images (e-types) fail to reveal characters in sufficient detail for definitive decisions regarding status. And, finally, there is a global need for a portal for access to all e-types.