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Editorial and replies

Dick Pratt PQQ at psuvm.psu.edu
Mon May 2 16:10:29 EST 1994

The classification problem in the protozoa (protista, eukaryotic microbes,
whatever) is now in full view, and Mark Farmer has done a great service
by chastizing protozoologists (etc.) to get back to work on a consensus
taxonomy.  Believe it or not, some of us ecologists develop species
lists and we like to do it in some fashion other than alphabetical.
Our recent work developing lists (and interacting with some govt
agencies who would like a phylogenetic scheme) has been problematic since
even the Soc. of P's own books (e.g., Illustrated Guide) don't use
the consensus taxonomy.  While I appreciate the amount of work embodied
in the Cavalier-Smith and Corliss papers, they don't help those of us
who work with many species.  Additionally, since many are questioning
the cohesiveness of protozoa/protista/etc., maybe the most effective
approach is to develop taxonomies within "groups" (ala Mitch Sogin's
suggestions for the NCBI) and quit worrying about working out the
whole big picture.  I would welcome a more detailed taxonomy of
the kinetoplastids, ciliates, testate amoeba, etc., since this
would be more useful to me than the grand schemes being proposed.
Given the tremendous diversity in the protists (and the logical
if ambiregnal links between protozoa and "algae") maybe the sights
should be set a little lower than kingdoms or empires.

J.R. (Dick) Pratt            pqq at psuvm.psu.edu (internet)
7 Ferguson Bldg.             FAX: 814/865-3725
Penn State                   Voice: 814/865-6942
University Park, PA 16802

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