Nomenclature codes

Nomenclature codes or codes of nomenclature are the various rulebooks that govern biological taxonomic nomenclature, each in their own broad field of organisms. To an end-user who only deals with names of species, with some awareness that species are assignable to families, it may not be noticeable that there is more than one code, but beyond this basic level these are rather different in the way they work.

The successful introduction of two-part names for species by Linnaeus was the start for an ever-expanding system of nomenclature. With all naturalists worldwide adopting this approach to thinking up names there arose several schools of thought about the details. It became ever more apparent that a detailed body of rules was necessary to govern scientific names. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards there were several initiatives to arrive at worldwide-accepted sets of rules. Presently nomenclature codes govern the naming of:

The starting point, that is the time from which these codes are in effect (usually retroactively), varies from group to group, and sometimes from rank to rank.[1] In botany and mycology the starting point is often 1 May 1753 (Linnaeus, Species plantarum), in zoology 1758[clarification needed] (Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, 10th Edition). On the other hand, bacteriology started anew, making a clean sweep in 1980 (Skerman et al., "Approved Lists of Bacterial Names"), although maintaining the original authors and dates of publication.[2]

Exceptions in botany:[3][4][5]

Exceptions in zoology:[6]

There are also differences in the way codes work. For example, the ICN (the code for algae, fungi and plants) forbids tautonyms, while the ICZN, (the animal code) allows them.

These codes differ in terminology, and there is a long-term project to "harmonize" this. For instance, the ICN uses "valid" in "valid publication of a name" (= the act of publishing a formal name), with "establishing a name" as the ICZN equivalent. The ICZN uses "valid" in "valid name" (= "correct name"), with "correct name" as the ICN equivalent. Harmonization is making very limited progress.

There are differences in respect of what kinds of types are used. The bacteriological code prefers living type cultures, but allows other kinds. There has been ongoing debate regarding which kind of type is more useful in a case like cyanobacteria.[7]

This page was last edited on 15 April 2018, at 21:09 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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