Species Concepts and Phylogenetic Theory

A Debate

Edited by Quentin D. Wheeler and Rudolf Meier

Columbia University Press

Species Concepts and Phylogenetic Theory

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Pub Date: June 2000

ISBN: 9780231101431

256 Pages

Format: Paperback

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Pub Date: June 2000

ISBN: 9780231101424

256 Pages

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Pub Date: June 2000

ISBN: 9780231506625

256 Pages

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Species Concepts and Phylogenetic Theory

A Debate

Edited by Quentin D. Wheeler and Rudolf Meier

Columbia University Press

No question in theoretical biology has been more perennially controversial or perplexing than "What is a species?" Recent advances in phylogenetic theory have called into question traditional views of species and spawned many concepts that are currently competing for general acceptance. Once the subject of esoteric intellectual exercises, the "species problem" has emerged as a critically important aspect of global environmental concerns. Completion of an inventory of biodiversity, success in conservation, predictive knowledge about life on earth, management of material resources, formulation of scientifically credible public policy and law, and more depend upon our adoption of the "right" species concept.

Quentin D. Wheeler and Rudolf Meier present a debate among top systematic biology theorists to consider the strengths and weaknesses of five competing concepts. Debaters include (1) Ernst Mayr (Biological Species Concept), (2) Rudolf Meier and Rainer Willmann (Hennigian species concept), (3) Brent Mishler and Edward Theriot (one version of the Phylogenetic Species Concept), (4) Quentin Wheeler and Norman Platnick (a competing version of the Phylogenetic Species Concept), and (5) E. O. Wiley and Richard Mayden (the Evolutionary Species Concept).

Each author or pair of authors contributes three essays to the debate: first, a position paper with an opening argument for their respective concept of species; second, a counterpoint view of the weakness of competing concepts; and, finally, a rebuttal of the attacks made by other authors. This unique and lively debate format makes the comparative advantages and disadvantages of competing species concepts clear and accessible in a single book for the first time, bringing to light numerous controversies in phylogenetic theory, taxonomy, and philosophy of science that are important to a wide audience. Species Concepts and Phylogenetic Theory will meet a need among scientists, conservationists, policy-makers, and students of biology for an explicit, critical evaluation of a large and complex literature on species. An important reference for professionals, the book will prove especially useful in classrooms and discussion groups where students may find a concise, lucid entrée to one of the most complex questions facing science and society.

This is an important and valuable book, with the arguments coming straight from the horses' mouths. Even if readers do not change their minds, they will at least be better informed in their prejudices.

Biologist

This book focuses on the numerous controversies in phylogenetic theory and the underlying philosophies which are of importance to a diverse audience. Scientists, conservationists, and students of biology will find that this book provides a critical evaluation of the literature on this complex field.

Southeastern Naturalist
Preface, by Quentin D. Wheeler & Rudolf Meier
1: Introduction, by Joel Cracraft
A. Position Papers (Point)
2: The Biological Species Concept, by Ernst Mayr
3: The Hennigian Species Concept, by Rudolf Meier and Rainer Willmann
4: Monophyly, Apomorphy, and Phylogenetic Species Concepts, by Brent D. Mishler and Edward Theriot
5: The Phylogenetic Species Concept, by Quentin D. Wheeler and Norman I. Platnick
6: The Evolutionary Species Concept, by Edward O. Wiley and Richard L. Mayden
B. Critique Papers (Counter-Point)
7: What is a Species, and What is Not?: A Critique from the Biological Species Concept Perspective, by Ernst Mayr
8: A Critique from the Hennigian Species Concept Perspective, by Rainer Willmann and Rudolf Meier
9: Monophyly, Apomorphy, and Phylogenetic Species Concepts: A Critique from "the" Phylogenetic Species Concept Perspective, by Brent D. Mishler and Norman I. Platnick
10: Problems with Alternative Species Concepts: A Critique from "the" Phylogenetic Species Concept Perspective, by Quentin D. Wheeler and Norman I. Platnick
11: A Critique from the Evolutionary Species Concept Perspective, by Edward O. Wiley and Richard L. Mayden
C. Reply Papers (Rebuttal)
12: A Defense of the Biological Species Concept, by Ernst Mayr
13: A Defense of the Hennigian Species Concept, by Rudolf Meier and Rainer Willmann
14: Monophyly, Apomorphy, and Phylogenetic Species Concepts: A Defense of "the" Phylogenetic Species Concept, by Brent D. Mishler and Edward Theriot
15: A Defense of "the" Phylogenetic Species Concept, by Norman I. Platnick and Quentin D. Wheeler
16: A Defense of the Evolutionary Spoecies Concept, by Edward O. Wiley and Richard L. Mayden

About the Author

Quentin D. Wheeler is professor of systematics in the Department of Entomology and Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University and is a research associate in entomology at the American Museum of Natural History.

Rudolf Meier is associate professor and curator in the Department of Entomology at the Zoological Museum, Copenhagen.