IUBS Vice President From 2015
"Linking taxonomy and evolution: from Linné to Darwin"
30th July 13:40-14:00 (Open to all)
Venue: The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
(Drammensveien 78, Oslo)
Understanding pre-Darwinian biology seems to be difficult for today`s biologists. Terms, concepts, and viewpoints have changed dramatically since Darwin`s Origin of the Species (1859). Nevertheless, Darwin`s revolutionary theories were not without history. Exactly 100 years before, Carolus Linnaeus (since 1762 Carl von Linné) had published his tenth edition of Systema Natura (1758) which became the baseline for zoological nomenclature, and his Species Plantarum (1753) laid the baseline for botanical nomenclature. Key to these fundamental baselines of today`s seven nomenclatural codes was his adoption of binomial names and short diagnoses for the naming and description of organisms. Already in his first edition of Systema Naturae (1735) he had formalized the hierarchical system of classification which in principle is still in use today. He grouped all known organisms into animal and plant kingdoms which were divided successively downward into classes, orders, genera and species according to their anatomical similarity. For plants he had shifted the emphasis to the flower and to the arrangement and numbers of pistels and stamens.
This simplification in naming – his nomenclature – and this consequent use of main anatomical features in classification – his taxonomy – supported his endeavor to diagnose and describe all known biodiversity on earth. Because of the global explorations of his times, new organisms were discovered every day which did not fit into the European groupings. For his age his many publications were revolutionary because, even though he believed in creation and was searching for God`s order of nature, he based his works on the understanding that each organism developed from an egg and every species was stable and created for itself. This was quite in opposite to some of his contemporaries and even some succeeding biologists for whom the Scala Naturae were a God given fact of nature.
Dr. Regine Jahn is Head of the Diatom Research Group and Senior Curator for Algae at the Botanic Garden und Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (BGBM), Freie Universität Berlin. Her research is on freshwater diatom diversity, taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography. Establishing a diatom taxonomic reference library with micro-morphological and DNA-Barcoding data for environmental DNA-Baroding and bioindication as well as a global registration of new algae names are the current projects of her group.
She studied Biology and English in Berlin and the USA, and received her ScD at the Freie Universität Berlin. Since 1991 she is working at the BGBM Berlin in different functions.