[Coral-List] New publication now online at Global Change Biology: coral name change
maggy.nugues at zmt-bremen.de
Sat Nov 7 10:12:52 EST 2009
Please find below a message from Rolf Bak (in the field).
Dear Alina, and Hi All,
I am in the field, working with common Caribbean corals such as Madracis
mirabilis, which explains my somewhat belated reaction to your mailing.
The arguments used to change the name Madracis mirabilis are based on
archaic species descriptions that cannot be validated or confirmed, on
descriptions of photographs of only parts of colonies, on material of
Duchassaing and Michelotti of uncertain status (no original Duchassaing
labels), also where type material was lost “representative specimens”
The superfluous new name for Madracis mirabilis has been ignored so far
despite all efforts to get the new name accepted. I am afraid that now
young, eager and inexperienced scientists will run up to show they are
well informed, accepting the unjustified name.
However, this is a case of subjective synonymy which means that it is
perfectly valid to continue using the name Madracis mirabilis. There
cannot be confusion in identifying M. mirabilis. It is a common
Caribbean species that is easily recognizable.
This is the last I will say on this on the Coral-List, I will not
engaged in discussions, I have no time for that.
Those that are interested in the more detailed argumentation behind my
rejection of this completely unjustified new name please contact me.
Those that are interested in the biology of coral species such as
Madracis mirabilis, M. decactis, M. senaria, M. pharensis and M.
formosa, contact me and I will send you our latest publications on
distribution and functioning of coral host and algal symbionts over deep
IN CONCLUSION: The proposed name change for a coral species with such a
prominent place in the coral literature based on a non-objective
synonymy decision is a poor contribution to stabilizing coral
nomenclature. The ICZN is dedicated to "achieving stability and sense in
the scientific naming of animals".
Prof. Dr. Rolf P.M. Bak
rbak at nioz.nl
tel +31 222 369541
fax +31 222 319674
Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
P.O. Box 59
1790 AB Den Burg, Texel
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