Phylogenetic systematics and the species problem

TitlePhylogenetic systematics and the species problem
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
Authorsde Queiroz K, Donoghue MJ

- A tension has arisen over the primacy of interbreeding versus monophyly in defining the species category. Manifestations of this tension include unnecessary restriction of the concept of monophyly as well as inappropriate attribution of ’species’ properties, to ’higher taxa’, and vice versa. Distinctions between systems (wholes) deriving their existence from different underlying. processes have been obscured by failure to acknowledge different interpretations of the concept of individuality. We identify interbreeding (resulting in populations) and evolutionary descent (resulting in monophyletic groups) as two processes of interest to phylogenetic systematists, and explore the relations between the systems resulting from these processes. In the case of sexual reproduction, populations of interbreeding organisms (regardless of whether they are monophyletic) exist as cohesive wholes and play a special role in phylogenetic systematics, being the least inclusive entities appropriate for