Biodiv Sci ›› 2012, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (6): 755-760.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2012.06005

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Catalogue of global gymnosperms: problems and perspectives

Yong Yang*()   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2012-01-08 Accepted:2012-10-23 Online:2012-11-20 Published:2013-01-04
  • Contact: Yong Yang


The catalogue of global species is a primary focus of biodiversity science. A complete species checklist of gymnosperms is possible through repeated and mutual verification by comparing global checklists with regional and local checklists. To evaluate potential inconsistencies in the current catalogue of global gymnosperms (e.g., spelling, authorship, and original literature of scientific names), I compared species records from three gymnosperm species lists, including the Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae (FRPS), Flora of China (FOC), and The Plant List (TPL). Errors included corresponding page number, publication year of the original naming literature, different opinions on species definitions (e.g. lumper vs. splitter) among authors, and mismatching species entities and their corresponding scientific names. To address these shortfalls, I propose measures like database development, comparison of different Floras and Checklists, and comparison of different species datasets. These actions would facilitate detection of missing names and/or literature as well as inconsistent records. The generally accepted taxonomic treatments will be adopted and the catalogue of problematic taxa will be corrected in a new taxonomic revision. This case study provides potential solutions to address problems that exist when attempting to catalogue global species diversity.

Key words: gymnosperms, taxonomy, Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae (FRPS), Flora of China (FOC), The Plant List (TPL)