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    Author(s): Michael K. Schwartz; Daryl J. Boness
    Date: 2017
    Source: Marine Mammal Science. 33(Special Issue): 7-11.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (229.0 KB)

    Description

    Almost every conservation genetics and evolutionary biology textbook has a section questioning: "What is a species or subspecies?" It has been one of the most discussed, nearly unanswerable questions in all of biology. At issue is how to logically divide a variable that is generally continuous, with some occasional discrete breaks. Answering this question is at times akin to addressing the questions: "How many colors are in a rainbow?” or “Where does red end and orange begin?" School children can tell the two colors apart at the middle part of their defined range, but defining the color of light at 589 nm (the arbitrary boundary between the colors) may be as much about the observer, their perceptual rules, and their experiences as it is about the physical experience of seeing a specific wavelength.

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    Citation

    Schwartz, Michael K.; Boness, Daryl J. 2017. Marine mammal subspecies in the age of genetics: Introductory remarks from the Associate Editor and Editor-in-Chief of Marine Mammal Science. Marine Mammal Science. 33(Special Issue): 7-11.

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    Keywords

    marine mammal subspecies, genetics

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