Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Removing ambiguity from the biological species concept

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The biological species concept (BSC) is a common way to define species although it is ambiguous even when strictly applied. I interpret it here syntactically in four different ways and show that one of them is more suitable than previously thought. The first interpretation (fully restricted) produces discrete, non-overlapping biological species with the inconvenience of being inapplicable when there is gradual evolution of reproductive isolation. The second (cohesion relaxed) and fourth (fully relaxed) interpretation are overly unrestricted to be useful. The third interpretation (isolation relaxed) overcomes the problem of gradual evolution of reproductive isolation at the cost of recognizing non-discrete, overlapping biological species. That is, some populations are members of more than one species. Non-discreteness, however, removes hand-waving in infamous difficulties of the BSC such as those with ring species, phyletic species, and syngameons. Moreover, it lets the BSC deal with introgression with no appeal to subjectivity. Therefore, precision in terms underlying the BSC provides an objective and still natural alternative to deal with gradual evolution of reproductive isolation.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-80
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume256
Issue number1
Early online date4 Oct 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2009

    Research areas

  • Species problem, Axiomatization, Interbreeding, Reproductive isolation, Population

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Eusociality through conflict dissolution

    Gonzalez Forero, M. & Peña, J., 28 Apr 2021, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 288, 1949, 8 p., 20210386.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Inference of ecological and social drivers of human brain-size evolution

    Gonzalez Forero, M. & Gardner, A., 23 May 2018, In: Nature. 557, 7706, p. 554-557

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

  3. A model for brain life history evolution

    González Forero, M., Faulwasser, T. & Lehmann, L., 9 Mar 2017, In: PLoS Computational Biology. 13, 3, 28 p., e1005380.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Stable eusociality via maternal manipulation when resistance is costless

    Gonzalez Forero, M., 13 Dec 2015, In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 28, 12, p. 2208-2223 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Journal of Theoretical Biology (Journal)

    Mark Andrew Joseph Chaplain (Editor)

    10 Apr 2017 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. A novel 3D atomistic-continuum cancer invasion model: in silico simulations of an in vitro organotypic invasion assay

    Franssen, L. C., Sfakianakis, N. & Chaplain, M. A. J., 7 Aug 2021, In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 522, 14 p., 110677.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Consistency and identifiability of the polymorphism-aware phylogenetic models

    Borges, R. & Kosiol, C., 7 Feb 2020, In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 486, p. 1-6 6 p., 110074.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Modelling the effects of environmental heterogeneity within the lung on the tuberculosis life-cycle

    Pitcher, M. J., Bowness, R., Dobson, S. A., Eftimie, R. & Gillespie, S. H., 7 Dec 2020, In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 506, 18 p., 110381.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. A theory for investment across defences triggered at different stages of a predator-prey encounter

    Wang, L., Ruxton, G. D., Cornell, S. J., Speed, M. P. & Broom, M., 21 Jul 2019, In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 473, p. 9-19 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 249347549

Top