A Proposal to Eliminate Redundant Terminology for Intra-Species Groups



    1. University of Alaska, School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Palmer Research Center, Palmer, AK 99645, USA
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    • E-mail: croninm@aol.com

    • Matthew A. Cronin is a Research Associate Professor of Animal Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. He received his B.S. in forest biology from the State University of New York (1976), M.S. in biology from Montana State University (1986), and Ph.D. in biology from Yale University (1989). His research is focused on population genetics and phylogenetics, domestic livestock genetics, and fish and wildlife impact assessment and management.


Many new terms have come into use for intra-species groups of animals defined with genetic criteria including subspecies, evolutionarily significant units, evolutionary units, management units, metapopulations, distinct population segments, populations, and subpopulations. These terms have redundant meanings and can lead to confusion for biologists, managers, and policy makers. I propose that for wildlife management we can simplify intra-species terminology and use only the terms subspecies, populations, and subpopulations. These 3 terms have roots in evolutionary and population biology and can incorporate genetic, demographic, and geographic considerations.