Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Linnaeus' Legacy #10

Welcome to the 10th edition of Linnaeus' Legacy!

We birders received a reminder last week of how closely our pursuit is intertwined with the scientific study of taxonomy when the AOU suddenly reorganized the gulls and shortened a few birders' life lists. From an outsider's perspective, taxonomic decisions can seem arbitrary. After all, a gull still looks like a gull, even if it is in a new genus. In reality, classification is based on careful consideration of their form, behavior, and genetics. The posts for this carnival describe those features for an array of living taxa.

What's in a name?

Christopher Taylor of Catalogue of Organisms breaks down the grammatical complexities of Latin nomenclature in The Gender of a Table.

Bacteria

Christopher Taylor of Catalogue of Organisms reviews the first few billion years of evolution in Life Before it had Facial Features.

Crustaceans

Eric Heupel of The Other 95% describes one of the most diverse groups of crustaceans in Ostracod or Ostracode. Included is a photo of a gigantic ostracod.

Snails

Aydin Ă–rstan of Snail's Tales reviews an article on a new genus and species from the tricky land snail family Enidae in A fossil snail fits in between, or, maybe not.

Eels

What do we know (or what don't we know) about moray eels, based solely on museum specimens sitting in jars? Rick MacPherson of Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets asks a few distinguished museum curators of fish collections for their perspectives and reports the results in That's A Moray Monday: The "You Ask-I Deliver" Edition.

Birds

Delson Roche of Friendly Animals presents photographs of a Spot Billed Pelican.

Mike Bergin of 10,000 Birds reviews the AOU's reorganization of the Larinae in When is a Larid Not a Larus? (I would also recommend his post on that other group in Laridae, the Sterninae.)

Grrlscientist discusses a paper on the evolution of Australian rosella parrots in Rosellas, Rings, and Speciation: Testing the Ring Species Hypothesis. The genetic evidence is more complex than plumage and geography would indicate.

Grrlscientist presents the unusual breeding arrangements of Eclectus parrots in Evolution of the Enigmatic Eclectus. These parrots are among the few bird species in which the females have flashier plumage than the males.

Nick Sly of Biological Ramblings reviews the evidence for a split of North American Winter Wrens into eastern and western species, as was recently proposed, in The Winter Wren is multiple species!

Did you know that a subspecies of the Black-throated Green Warbler breeds only in the southeastern coastal plain? Nate of The Drinking Bird compares museum specimens of the coastal plain and nominate subspecies in It's not easy being Green, less so Black-throated.

Finally, my contribution is Evolution of the Wood Warblers, which discusses a recent genetic study on the Dendroica genus.

That is all for this month's edition. The September edition will be hosted by Eric Heupel at The Other 95%.

Hosts are still needed for future editions of Linnaeus' Legacy. A blog carnival depends on hosts to keep it going, so please consider hosting if you are interested in the subject.