Integrating phylogenetic analysis and classification in fungi

TitleIntegrating phylogenetic analysis and classification in fungi
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsHibbett DS, Donoghue MJ
KeywordsBiological Sciences, Botany & Plant Sciences

The central goal of taxonomic mycology is to create classifications that communicate understanding of fungal phylogeny. To insure that taxonomy reflects up-to-date phylogenetic hypotheses, there must be efficient mechanisms for translating phylogenetic trees into classifications. The current taxonomic system, which is based on the hierarchy of Linnaean ranks and the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, is unsatisfactory for this purpose. One problem with the current taxonomic system is that a large number of ranks are necessary to classify complex phylogenetic trees. Rank proliferation creates a tension between the desire to name clades and the need to keep the number of ranks manageable. In addition, ranked classifications are quite sensitive to minor changes in tree topology, and are therefore unstable. The instability of ranked treebased classifications encourages systematists to defer naming strongly supported clades if their internal structure or higher-level relationshi