Royal Society Publishing

A taxonomic wish–list for community ecology

Nicholas J. Gotelli

Abstract

Community ecology seeks to explain the number and relative abundance of coexisting species. Four research frontiers in community ecology are closely tied to research in systematics and taxonomy: the statistics of species richness estimators, global patterns of biodiversity, the influence of global climate change on community structure, and phylogenetic influences on community structure. The most pressing needs for taxonomic information in community ecology research are usable taxonomic keys, current nomenclature, species occurrence records and resolved phylogenies. These products can best be obtained from Internet–based phylogenetic and taxonomic resources, but the lack of trained professional systematists and taxonomists threatens this effort. Community ecologists will benefit most directly from research in systematics and taxonomy by making better use of resources in museums and herbaria, and by actively seeking training, information and collaborations with taxonomic specialists.

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