Integrative taxonomy, or iterative taxonomy?
Version of Record online: 22 NOV 2010
© 2010 CSIRO. Systematic Entomology © 2010 The Royal Entomological Society
Volume 36, Issue 2, pages 209–217, April 2011
How to Cite
YEATES, D. K., SEAGO, A., NELSON, L., CAMERON, S. L., JOSEPH, L. and TRUEMAN, J. W. H. (2011), Integrative taxonomy, or iterative taxonomy?. Systematic Entomology, 36: 209–217. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3113.2010.00558.x
- Issue online: 14 MAR 2011
- Version of Record online: 22 NOV 2010
- Accepted 20 October 2010, First published online 22 November 2010
The recently introduced term ‘integrative taxonomy’ refers to taxonomy that integrates all available data sources to frame species limits. We survey current taxonomic methods available to delimit species that integrate a variety of data, including molecular and morphological characters. A literature review of empirical studies using the term ‘integrative taxonomy’ assessed the kinds of data being used to frame species limits, and methods of integration. Almost all studies are qualitative and comparative – we are a long way from a repeatable, quantitative method of truly ‘integrative taxonomy’. The usual methods for integrating data in phylogenetic and population genetic paradigms are not appropriate for integrative taxonomy, either because of the diverse range of data used or because of the special challenges that arise when working at the species/population boundary. We identify two challenges that, if met, will facilitate the development of a more complete toolkit and a more robust research programme in integrative taxonomy using species tree approaches. We propose the term ‘iterative taxonomy’ for current practice that treats species boundaries as hypotheses to be tested with new evidence. A search for biological or evolutionary explanations for discordant evidence can be used to distinguish between competing species boundary hypotheses. We identify two recent empirical examples that use the process of iterative taxonomy.