Taxonomic Considerations in Listing Subspecies Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act

  title={Taxonomic Considerations in Listing Subspecies Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act},
  author={Susan M. Haig and Erik A. Beever and Steven M. Chambers and Hope M Draheim and Bruce Dugger and Susie M. Dunham and Elise Elliott-Smith and Joseph B. Fontaine and Dylan C. Kesler and Brian J. Knaus and IARA F. Lopes and Peter J. Loschl and Thomas D. Mullins and LISA M. Sheffield},
  journal={Conservation Biology},
Abstract:  The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) allows listing of subspecies and other groupings below the rank of species. This provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service with a means to target the most critical unit in need of conservation. Although roughly one‐quarter of listed taxa are subspecies, these management agencies are hindered by uncertainties about taxonomic standards during listing or delisting activities. In a review of taxonomic… 
Impacts of phylogenetic nomenclature on the efficacy of the U.S. Endangered Species Act
  • M. Leslie
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
  • 2015
It is concluded that PN under the PhyloCode will have little impact on implementation of the ESA, because knowledge of evolutionary relationships is of greater importance than nomenclatural procedures for initial protection of endangered taxa under the ESA.
Is the Red Wolf a Listable Unit Under the US Endangered Species Act?
A case study of the red wolf from the southeastern United States concludes that under any proposed evolutionary scenario red wolves meet both criteria to be considered a DPS: they are Discrete compared with other conspecific populations, and they are Significant to the taxon to which they belong.
Perspective Is the Red Wolf a Listable Unit Under the US Endangered Species Act ?
Defining units that can be afforded legal protection is a crucial, albeit challenging, step in conservation planning. As we illustrate with a case study of the red wolf (Canis rufus) from the
Genetic Data and the Listing of Species Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act
  • S. Fallon
  • Environmental Science
    Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
  • 2007
There was wide variation in the genetic data used to inform listing decisions in terms of which genomes were sampled and the number of markers and loci evaluated, and variable use of genetic information for listing decisions has the potential to misguide conservation actions.
An integrative taxonomic approach to assess the status of Corsican bumblebees: implications for conservation
A pragmatic integrative taxonomic approach on the basis of molecular and eco-chemical criteria is applied to the insular bumblebee fauna of Corsica and facilitates diagnosis of evolutionarily significant units and rank taxa according to their distinctiveness.
Island Evolution and Systematic Revision of Comoran Snakes: Why and When Subspecies Still Make Sense
It is emphasized that taxon descriptions should be based on an integrative approach using several lines of evidence, preferably in combination with statements on the underlying species concepts or operational criteria, to increase the objectivity and comparability of descriptions.
The Diversity in the Genus Canis Challenges Conservation Biology: A Review of Available Data on Asian Wolves
Support is found for the presence and taxon eligibility of Holarctic gray, Himalayan/Tibetan, Indian, and Arabian wolves in Asia and their recognition at the taxonomic levels consistent within the Canidae is recommended.
The subspecies concept in butterflies: has its application in taxonomy and conservation biology outlived its usefulness?
The utility of subspecies is explored, and allopatric subspecies are a type of evolutionarily significant unit within species in that they show both neutral divergence through the effects of genetic drift and adaptive divergence under natural selection, and provide an historical context for identifying biodiversity units for conservation.
Subspecies and the philosophy of science
An amendment to the phylogenetic species concept is proposed to include a subspecies category, highlighting the need for a clear and consistent philosophical approach to how genetic data are used to assess subspecies limits.
OBSOLETE: Endangered Species Act


The role of subspecies in obscuring avian biological diversity and misleading conservation policy
  • R. M. Zink
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2004
A massive reorganization of classifications is required so that the lowest ranks, be they species or subspecies, reflect evolutionary diversity and until such reorganization is accomplished, the subspecies rank will continue to hinder progress in taxonomy, evolutionary studies and especially conservation.
Abstract A subspecies is a collection of populations within a biological species that are diagnosably distinct from other such collections of populations. That infraspecific designation has motivated
Are subspecies useful in evolutionary and conservation biology?
  • A. Phillimore, I. Owens
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2006
It is shown that 36% of avian subspecies are, in fact, phylogenetically distinct, and the overall level of congruence between taxonomic subspecies and molecular phylogenetic data is greater than previously thought.
Genetics, Taxonomy, and Conservation of the Threatened California Gnatcatcher
It is found that coastal sage scrub populations of California Gnatcatchers are not genetically distinct from populations in Baja California, which are dense and continuously distributed throughout the peninsula, and stochastic events led to a reduction in genetic variation in the newly occupied range.
Taxonomic inflation: its influence on macroecology and conservation.
Species concepts and problems in practice: insight from botanical monographs
It is argued that there are gaps between theoretical and practical work at the species level that should be bridged and monographers working with most groups need not be unduly concerned that the biological nature of the taxa they study makes them inappropriate for phylogenetic analyses or for the ap- plication of certain species concepts.
Consilience and a hierarchy of species concepts: advances toward closure on the species puzzle.
  • R. Mayden
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of nematology
  • 1999
The proposed hierarchical system of primary and secondary concepts promises both the most productive framework for mutual respect for varied concepts and the most efficient and effective means for revealing species diversity.
Adaptive evolutionary conservation: towards a unified concept for defining conservation units
This work reviews ESU concepts and provides a context‐based framework for delineating ESUs which circumvents much of this situation and accepts that differing criteria will work more dynamically than others and can be used alone or in combination depending on the situation.
Subspecies of Pocket Gophers: Causal Bases for Geographic Differentiation in Thomomys Bottae
It is shown that overall size is predicted mainly by features reflecting the nutritional quality of the available vegetation among the habitats occupied by gophers, and body size has a strong non-genetic, or environ- mental, basis.
Taxonomic Re-Evaluation of the Jaguar
This analysis was conducted to add to systematic studies such as DNA analysis to assist the Felid Taxon Advisory Group and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association establish valid taxonomic differences in the jaguar.