IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

BEN # 191

Adolf Ceska aceska at VICTORIA.TC.CA
Sat May 2 05:55:05 EST 1998

BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             ISSN 1188-603X
BB   B   EE       NNN  N             
BBBBB    EEEEE    NN N N             BOTANICAL
BB   B   EE       NN  NN             ELECTRONIC
BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             NEWS

No. 190                              May 2, 1998

aceska at victoria.tc.ca                Victoria, B.C.
 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

From: Alec McClay <alec at aec.arc.ab.ca>

First Announcement

August 13-14, 1998 - Edmonton, Alberta

Common  tansy  (Tanacetum  vulgare), is an increasingly abundant
weed in pastures, roadsides, and riparian areas in Alberta.  The
Alberta Research Council and Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural
Development  will  be holding a workshop to review the available
information on tansy, including the results of recent studies in
Alberta, and to develop  plans  for  its  management.  The  pos-
sibility  of starting a biological control program against tansy
will be an option to be discussed. The program  will  include  a
field  tour  to view tansy-infested areas. This workshop will be
open to anyone interested in this weed,  including  researchers,
land  managers, and weed control specialists from the public and
private sectors. We would also be interested to know  if  anyone
has  information  on  possible  economic  uses of tansy (herbal,
medicinal, etc.) that could be presented at  the  workshop.  For
further information, or if you would like to make a presentation
at  the  workshop, please contact me by May 29, 1998:

   Alec McClay
   Crop & Plant Management Unit, Alberta Research Council
   P.O. Bag 4000, Vegreville, Alberta
   Canada T9C 1T4

   Tel. (403) 632-8207
   Fax. (403) 632-8612
   e-mail: alec at aec.arc.ab.ca

From: Cris Guppy <cguppy at quesnelbc.com>

I have long needed a single compiled list  of  plant  synonymies
and common names for British Columbia. I am mostly interested in
plants  as butterfly or moth larval food plants and adult nectar
sources. Literature records of  larval  food  plants  may  be  a
century  or more old, and hence synonymies are essential. Unlike
Adolf, I thank Qian and Klinka for  their  checklist.  Checklist
authors  are  to  be  praised,  I  cannot think of anything more
boring to compile.

Hard copies of checklists ARE useful,  in  addition  to  digital
checklists.  Not  everyone  has  a  decent  computer to access a
digital checklist, and not everyone who wants to use a checklist
wants or needs a modern  computer.  As  for  Internet  lists,  I
generally  work mostly in the evenings. At that time my Internet
access is severely limited due to all lines being in use. Having
a hard copy checklist beside my desk avoids my needing  to  wait
until after 11:00 PM to find out one synonymy or common name. Of
course  the  price  of  this checklist is incredibly high, which
presumably is the result of a  limited  press  run  based  on  a
prediction of limited sales (guaranteed by the price).

As for hard copies rapidly becoming out of date _ of course they
will,  and  so  will  digital files unless someone is constantly
updating them. That may or may not  be  possible  for  any  par-
ticular  list, depending on funding, retirements and deaths. And
who is going to pay  for  the  production  and  distribution  of
digital  checklists? A hard copy book can pay for itself through
sales, while a digital file immediately gets  pirated.  I  might
add that I would love to have a digital checklist in addition to
the  hard copy, both have their uses. An important function of a
hard copy checklist is that it is unchanging (exactly what Adolf
objects to), and hence reports or publications can reference  it
as  the  source of their common and scientific names (specifying
changes as needed). Even when  errors  are  present  or  changes
occur,  use  of  the checklist as the source of names provides a
solid base against which future work can be compared.

It is unfortunate that there are errors  in  Qian  and  Klinka's
checklist,  and  that  some  have  been repeated from a previous
checklist, but the only way to correct errors is  to  systemati-
cally  document  and  publish them so that future checklists can
include the corrections. BEN would be an  appropriate  place  to
document  minor  errors  of  spelling  and  gender. Similarly if
taxonomic conclusions are in error, DOCUMENT and PUBLISH  alter-
native opinions instead of just complaining about them.

I  pleased  that Qian and Klinka have included non-BC synonymies
in their checklist. It would be nice to have included  non-North
American  synonymies  as  well, but there are limits to what any
publication can address. BC covers  such  a  limited  geographic
area  that there would be no purpose in including any synonymies
if  those  from  outside  BC  are  excluded.   Omitting   non-BC
synonymies  would  have  been  omitting the world context within
which BC exists.

The "duplication" of names through the  use  of  three  separate
checklist is only partly unnecessary. A better format would have
been  to  have  the  main  checklist followed by an alphabetical
index of all names,  allowing  rapid  location  of  the  current
placement  of  any  name (a numeric taxon code, described below,
would assist in this).

I agree with Adolf that a list of ALL references consulted would
have been useful, so that omissions could be noted. Explanations
of taxonomic decisions would also be useful. One strategy  in  a
checklist  is to insert "note numbers" which lead to an appendix
of taxonomic references and explanations. This allows  checklist
authors to explain and document their decisions, and acknowledge
controversial  issues,  while  maintaining the usefulness of the
list itself.

Adolf is correct that the list of "excluded species" is  a  sig-
nificant  problem  in  the checklist, although the reason is not
the errors he notes.  The  lack  of  explanations  for  WHY  the
species  are  excluded,  and why they were originally considered
for inclusion, is the major problem. The excluded species should
have included in the main checklist, with the addition of a note
stating that they do not  occur  in  BC  despite  some  previous
literature reference to the contrary.

A  useful  addition  to  the checklist would have been a numeric
"taxon code" for each species (and  possibly  genus  &  family).
Alphabetic  taxon  codes  have  been provided, and probably have
their uses (I have never used them, and  so  have  not  explored
their  potential). The advantage of a numeric taxon code is that
computer sorting will retain the basic checklist order, which is
very useful when  compiling  databases  of  collection  records.
Additional  species  can be inserted through use of decimal num-
bers until a completely new checklist is produced.

I compliment Qian and Klinka on their checklist,  and  congratu-
late  them  on  completing  the  project  despite the incredible
tedium involved.


I am glad that you are happy with your copy of Qian  &  Klinka's
Plants  of  British  Columbia,  and  I am glad that I can post a
positive view of this publication. BEN has  already  dealt  with
some  taxonomic  problems  mentioned in my review. Check BEN # 9
for Vaccinium alaskense. In the same issue of BEN you will  find
why listing synonyms such as "Uva-ursi uva-ursi" is a historical
atavism rather than a useful reference.

Vascular plants summary for British Columbia reveals some inter-
esting facts:

Authors                       Genera  Species

Taylor & MacBryde (1977)        744     3137
Douglas et al.  (1994)          720     2595
Qian & Klinka  (1998)           565     2105

Although  the taxonomical concept of genera and species is about
the same in all three publications, the numbers  are  strikingly
different.  Taylor  & MacBryde (1977) listed all vascular plants
ever reported in  published  literature  (they  gave  over  1000
references  for  vascular  plants  only) and their list contains
accidental introductions, as well as some erroneous reports  not
supported  by  voucher  specimens.  Douglas  et al. (1994) based
their account on  herbarium  specimens  and  they  excluded  all
introductions  of  vascular  plants,  if  the plant has not been
collected in the last 40 years. They also discussed all excluded
species and  gave  the  reason  for  excluding  each  particular
species.  Qian  &  Klinka  (1998)  should have done the same for
their excluded species.

Literature cited:

Douglas, G.W., D. Meidinger, & G.B. Straley. 1994. The  vascular
   plants  of British Columbia: Part 4 - Monocotyledons. Special
   Report Series No. 4. B.C. Ministry of Forests, Victoria.  257
Qian,  H.  & K. Klinka. 1998. Plants of British Columbia: Scien-
   tific and common names of vascular  plants,  bryophytes,  and
   lichens. UBC Press, Vancouver. xiv + 534 p.
Taylor,  R.L.  &  B.  MacBryde. 1977. Vascular plants of British
   Columbia: A descriptive resource  inventory.  Technical  Bul-
   letin  No.  4,  UBC  Botanical Gardens, UBC Press, Vancouver.
   xxiv + 754 p.

From: Simon Nash <nash at wetlands.agro.nl> originally posted

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new  World  Wide  Web


The  site  contains  Background information on the organization;
Information on Technical Programme activities; Publications  and
reports;  Up  and  coming  meetings; Key links to other wetland-
related sites; News from the AEME region and  detailed  informa-
tion  on  the  2nd  International  Conference  on  Wetlands  and
Development to be held later this year.

Our aim is to keep the site updated regularly, in particular the
news pages and information on our programme activities.

Future developments on the site will include the introduction of
a wetlands search tool and on-line access to the Ramsar  Wetland
Sites database.

For further information contact:

   Simon Nash
   Wetlands International - AEME
   PO Box 7002
   6700 CA Wageningen
   The Netherlands
   Fax: 00 31 317 474712
   e-mail: nash at wetlands.agro.nl

Submissions, subscriptions, etc.:  aceska at victoria.tc.ca
BEN is archived at   http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/

More information about the Plantbio mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net