Taxon Tree Updates


1). SCAN will serve as a major repository of taxonomic trees for arthropods. All taxonomic trees created in SCAN should be transferable to other databases. Using SCAN as a central taxonomy provides the greatest control for the experts to make immediate changes. Relying on an external entities can be limiting and problematic. Editing the taxonomy within SCAN is rather easy.

2) We will collaborate with other individuals and groups in developing trees.

A major goal of the InvertEBase is to develop taxonomic trees.  They will start by developing existing SCAN trees.  SCAN and InvertEBase will share trees. We will reach out to other groups and individuals. This includes people from Catalog of Life and EOL, iDigBio as well as taxonomists that may be willing to help develop trees.   

3). Assign/elect branch responsibility: one person has responsibility over a branch. If there is more than person associated with a taxon they will self-organize. Symbiota does not allow specific editorial rights, the problem that arises is that once a person is a SCAN editor they can edit any taxonomic tree.  We will post a list of names and respective taxa on the project site(s) that people can reference.  

Notes:  3A) (Petra Sierwald in collaboration with Mark O’Brien is willing to review the NA Odonata species because the Field Museum is currently digitizing this group. She would update the SCAN Odonata thesaurus and provide metadata for annotations. The Odonata branch then be labeled as “Reviewed 2015”.   3B) For certain groups, like the Pentatomidae, we do not have a good catalog anywhere and tons of species and specimens. We do have an expert on shield bugs that can participate in developing a taxonomy for the branch. For this group we added names to get the specimens digitized (so hierarchy based on what was in the collections), after we were done, I sent that collectively generated hierarchy to David (the expert) and he cleaned it up for me. Annotating in an excel workbook which ones were out of place, missing taxa and authors, and synonyms. I then went back to the database and cleaned up our hierarchy to match.

4). Reproduce the current phylogenetic tree of SCAN, which could be published on the SCAN web site, or perhaps housed somewhere, where only taxonomy administrator have access to it.  Make part or all of taxonomy available as a downloadable CSV file.

5) Create a best practices document for building, maintaining, and using trees.  References need to be added for names in the hierarchy. Not the reference of the original description, but the reference of the catalog the person making the edits used to create the hierarchy. 

6) Obtain consensus on how to enter type specimens. For example should we use the original combination or present valid?.