Such expressions as that famous one of Linnæus, and which we often meet with in a more or less concealed form, that the characters do not make the genus, but that the genus gives the characters, seem to imply that something more is included in our classification, than mere resemblance. I believe that something more is included; and that propinquity of descent,—the only known cause of the similarity of organic beings,—is the bond, hidden as it is by various degrees of modification, which is partially revealed to us by our classifications (Darwin, 1859, p. 413f).

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

International Code of Area Nomenclature (ICAN)

The International Code of Area Nomenclature (ICAN) is available in a printed format from the Journal of Biogeography.

The project is a long term initiative of the Systematic & Evolutionary Biogeographical Association (SEBA), which seeks to introduce a naming standard in biogeography. The ICAN is also available online from the SEBA site (for those that do not have access to Blackwell Online). If you would like a reprint please send us an email.

The abstract of the printed version is given below:

"Biogeography needs a standard, coherent nomenclature. Currently, in biogeography, the same name is used for different areas of biological endemism, and one area of endemism is known by more than one name, which leads to conflict and confusion. The name ‘Mediterranean’, for example, may mean different things to different people – all or part of the sea, or the land in and around it. This results in ambiguity concerning the meaning of names and, more importantly, may lead to conflicts between inferences based on different aspects of a given name. We propose the International Code of Area Nomenclature (ICAN), a naming system that can be used to classify newly coined or existing names based on a standard. When fully implemented, the ICAN will improve communication among biogeographers, systematists, ecologists and conservation biologists" (Ebach et al. 2008).

Ebach, M.C., Morrone, J.J., Parenti, L.R. & Viloria, Á.L. (2008) International Code of Area Nomenclature Journal of Biogeography. 35 (7) , 1153–1157.

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