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alpha taxonomy

  • 1) A taxonomy based on structure.

    the time has come when the student of floras whose taxonomy on the old lines is relatively well known should attempt to investigate species by much more complete analyses of a wider range of characters than is now the rule. There is thus distinguished an alpha taxonomy and an omega taxonomy, the latter being an ideal which will probably never be completely realized.

    Turrill, W.B. (1935). The investigation of plant species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 147, 104-105: 104.


    “Traditional”, “orthodox”, or “alpha” taxonomy is based on morphology

    Turrill, W.B. (1938). The expansion of taxonomy with special reference to Spermatophyta. Biological Reviews 13, 342-373: 346.

  • 2) A taxonomy on the species level.

    Sorting variable individuals and populations into species (and naming and describing them) is sometimes referred to as alpha taxonomy.

    Mayr, E. (1968). The role of systematics in biology: The study of all aspects of the diversity of life is one of the most important concerns in biology. Science 159, 595-599: 598.