UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Species and Conservaton

Mallet, J; (1996) Species and Conservaton. [Lecture]. Presented at: Setting Conservation Priorities. A meeting at James Cook University, Townsville, Townsville, Australia. Green open access

[thumbnail of Mallet_SPECIES_Redacted.pdf]
Preview
Text
Mallet_SPECIES_Redacted.pdf

Download (100kB) | Preview

Abstract

There is a great deal of confusion about species “concepts” in the biological literature. It is currently fashionable to say that there are no species concepts that can satisfy all fields, and that we should have a different species concept for each kind of research programme. I disagree with that view, because to me, the term species expresses something universal and practical that enables the different fields of biology to speak to each other. I here argue that species are best defined as genotypic clusters that are distinguishable from other such clusters when they overlap. This is not a new idea, and it can be traced back to Darwin's idea of species as morphological clusters. I discuss a number of potential problems with a genotypic cluster definition of species. The most apparently severe is that species and subspecies (or races) are not easy to distinguish, especially if they are not in contact. However, the biological, genealogical, phylogenetic, ecological and a whole host of species concepts flounder as well. Genotypic clusters are at least definable in parapatry, which would not necessarily be true for the others. Viewing species as genotypic clusters that coexist in sympatry, and races as allopatric or parapatric genotypic clusters, in any case stresses the important continuity between species and races; this indefiniteness between species and subspecies is a fact of life that should be incorporated into our way of thinking about these taxa, rather than avoided. How should species be incorporated into conservation decisions? On the one hand, I agree that overall levels of genetic divergence should be taken into account when deciding what to conserve. On the other hand, I feel strongly that, as well as scientific data, political, economic, and aesthetic considerations will determine conversation decisions. Genes which affect ecology and behaviour to cause genotypic clustering in sympatry are to me more "aesthetically pleasing", and worthwhile considering in conservation than neutral genetic markers. Species distinctions as well as overall genetic distance will affect the relative values of conservation of different taxa.

Type: Conference item (Lecture)
Title: Species and Conservaton
Event: Setting Conservation Priorities. A meeting at James Cook University, Townsville
Location: Townsville, Australia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: CONSERVATION, SPECIES CONCEPTS
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10041682
Downloads since deposit
23Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item