Nico Franz, associate professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, will give the talk, "Non-unitary syntheses of taxonomic and phylogenetic knowledge."
Abstract: Our research addresses technical and also social aspects of structuring biodiversity data - ranging from museum specimens to phylogenetic trees - under persistent change and conflict among systematic expert views of 'how the natural world is structured'. We have used the Euler/X taxonomy alignment tool to represent a wide range of conflicting systematic hypotheses; including taxonomies of grasses, orchids, and primates, or bird and weevil phylogenies. The tool represents congruence and conflict between alternative hierarchies as a logically consistent map of nested or overlapping theory regions. This approach offers an alternative conceptualization of synthesis in the systematic data domain - not as a unitary hierarchy, but as an explicit congruence/conflict reconciliation product between multiple locally endorsed classifications or trees. We suggest that logic-based representations of progress and conflict regarding our collective biodiversity knowledge can incentivize individual expert contributions to shared knowledge bases, leading to increased data quality and trust in data.
Franz studies the systematics and evolutionary history of weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea), a highly diverse lineage of plant feeding beetles estimated to include some 220,000 species worldwide. Much of his field- and morphology-based work has focused on Neotropical species groups. He is a leading proponent of the "taxonomic concept approach," a new method that organizes taxonomic names and groups in reference to the scientific publications in which they are described, thus leading to a more precise and computer-processable system for tracking the content and changes among classifications. He is the curator of the Hasbrouck Insect Collection and director of the Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center (BioKIC) at ASU.
Room 126 LIS
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