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OPERATIONAL CRITERIA FOR DELIMITING SPECIES

Species are routinely used as fundamental units of analysis in biogeography, ecology, macroevolution, and conservation biology. A large literature focuses on defining species conceptually, but until recently little attention has been given to the issue of empirically delimiting species. Researchers... Full description

Journal Title: Annual review of ecology evolution, and systematics, 2004-12-15, Vol.35 (1), p.199-227
Main Author: Sites, Jack W
Other Authors: Marshall, Jonathon C
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Publisher: Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews
ID: ISSN: 1543-592X
Link: http://pascal-francis.inist.fr/vibad/index.php?action=getRecordDetail&idt=16336223
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recordid: cdi_proquest_journals_219601974
title: OPERATIONAL CRITERIA FOR DELIMITING SPECIES
format: Article
creator:
  • Sites, Jack W
  • Marshall, Jonathon C
subjects:
  • Analysis
  • Animal and plant ecology
  • Animal, plant and microbial ecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Biological and medical sciences
  • Biological diversity
  • Biological taxonomies
  • Comparative analysis
  • Data analysis
  • Ecology
  • Environment
  • Environmental aspects
  • Evolution
  • Evolutionary genetics
  • Fundamental and applied biological sciences. Psychology
  • Gene flow
  • General aspects
  • Genetic loci
  • Haplotypes
  • Phylogenetics
  • Plant populations
  • Population genetics
  • Research methodology
  • Speciation
  • Species
  • species criteria
  • species delimitation
  • systematics
ispartof: Annual review of ecology, evolution, and systematics, 2004-12-15, Vol.35 (1), p.199-227
description: Species are routinely used as fundamental units of analysis in biogeography, ecology, macroevolution, and conservation biology. A large literature focuses on defining species conceptually, but until recently little attention has been given to the issue of empirically delimiting species. Researchers confronted with the task of delimiting species in nature are often unsure which method(s) is (are) most appropriate for their system and data type collected. Here, we review twelve of these methods organized into two general categories of tree- and nontree-based approaches. We also summarize the relevant biological properties of species amenable to empirical evaluation, the classes of data required, and some of the strengths and limitations of each method. We conclude that all methods will sometimes fail to delimit species boundaries properly or will give conflicting results, and that virtually all methods require researchers to make qualitative judgments. These facts, coupled with the fuzzy nature of species boundaries, require an eclectic approach to delimiting species and caution against the reliance on any single data set or method when delimiting species.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 1543-592X
fulltext: no_fulltext
issn:
  • 1543-592X
  • 1545-2069
url: Link


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descriptionSpecies are routinely used as fundamental units of analysis in biogeography, ecology, macroevolution, and conservation biology. A large literature focuses on defining species conceptually, but until recently little attention has been given to the issue of empirically delimiting species. Researchers confronted with the task of delimiting species in nature are often unsure which method(s) is (are) most appropriate for their system and data type collected. Here, we review twelve of these methods organized into two general categories of tree- and nontree-based approaches. We also summarize the relevant biological properties of species amenable to empirical evaluation, the classes of data required, and some of the strengths and limitations of each method. We conclude that all methods will sometimes fail to delimit species boundaries properly or will give conflicting results, and that virtually all methods require researchers to make qualitative judgments. These facts, coupled with the fuzzy nature of species boundaries, require an eclectic approach to delimiting species and caution against the reliance on any single data set or method when delimiting species.
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subjectAnalysis ; Animal and plant ecology ; Animal, plant and microbial ecology ; Biodiversity ; Biological and medical sciences ; Biological diversity ; Biological taxonomies ; Comparative analysis ; Data analysis ; Ecology ; Environment ; Environmental aspects ; Evolution ; Evolutionary genetics ; Fundamental and applied biological sciences. Psychology ; Gene flow ; General aspects ; Genetic loci ; Haplotypes ; Phylogenetics ; Plant populations ; Population genetics ; Research methodology ; Speciation ; Species ; species criteria ; species delimitation ; systematics
ispartofAnnual review of ecology, evolution, and systematics, 2004-12-15, Vol.35 (1), p.199-227
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issn1543-592X
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abstractSpecies are routinely used as fundamental units of analysis in biogeography, ecology, macroevolution, and conservation biology. A large literature focuses on defining species conceptually, but until recently little attention has been given to the issue of empirically delimiting species. Researchers confronted with the task of delimiting species in nature are often unsure which method(s) is (are) most appropriate for their system and data type collected. Here, we review twelve of these methods organized into two general categories of tree- and nontree-based approaches. We also summarize the relevant biological properties of species amenable to empirical evaluation, the classes of data required, and some of the strengths and limitations of each method. We conclude that all methods will sometimes fail to delimit species boundaries properly or will give conflicting results, and that virtually all methods require researchers to make qualitative judgments. These facts, coupled with the fuzzy nature of species boundaries, require an eclectic approach to delimiting species and caution against the reliance on any single data set or method when delimiting species.
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doi10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.35.112202.130128