What is systematics?

Systematics is the study of biological diversity and its origins. It focuses on understanding evolutionary relationships among organisms, species, higher taxa, or other biological entities, such as genes, and the evolution of the properties of taxa including intrinsic traits, ecological interactions, and geographic distributions. An important part of systematics is the development of methods for various aspects of phylogenetic inference and biological nomenclature/classification.

The objective of the Society of Systematic Biologists is the advancement of the science of systematic biology in all its aspects of theory, principles, methodology, and practice, for both living and fossil organisms, with emphasis on areas of common interest to all systematic biologists regardless of individual specialization.

Systematics books at Amazon.com (click for more...)

Books recently reviewed in Systematic Biology, or written by members of the Society.

Issues Online

Recent issues Past issues

Curator of Invertebrates and Assistant Professor in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO), University of Colorado Boulder, invite applications for a joint, tenure-track appointment as Curator of Invertebrates and Assistant Professor.

Primary responsibilities will be to develop an active research program on any group of non-insect invertebrates using molecular systematic approaches preferably including bioinformatics tools, to curate and develop the Museum's invertebrate collections, and to teach in the Museum and Field Studies and EBIO programs. The successful candidate will be expected to take a leadership position in advancing the role of the collections, particularly in digital and molecular assets. The Invertebrate collection houses approximately 870,000 specimens of molluscs, other non-entomological marine, freshwater, and terrestrial invertebrates. Most holdings are from Colorado and the southern Rocky Mountain region, and enhanced by wider US and international collections. The successful candidate will contribute to research, curation, mentoring, and teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels and will be expected to develop an externally funded research program. We offer a collaborative, intellectually stimulating, and supportive environment in which a new professor can thrive.

Additional information about EBIO and the CU Museum can be found on the web at: http://www.cumuseum.colorado.edu and http://www.colorado.edu/eeb. Applicants must have a doctoral degree and strong research, curatorial, and teaching and mentoring credentials. Application materials must be submitted electronically at https://www.jobsatcu.com, Posting #89649, beginning October 13. The application package should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, three representative publications, statements of research, teaching, and curatorial experience and vision, along with names and addresses of four references. Review of applications begins December 1, 2014.

Contact search committee chair: Christy.McCain@colorado.edu. The University of Colorado is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

Two curatorial positions at the Florida Museum of Natural History

The University of Florida is launching a cross-disciplinary Biodiversity Initiative that will improve our understanding of biological diversity and its impacts on human society. As part of this initiative, two curatorial positions will be filled at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the level of Associate or Full Curator (equivalent to Associate or Full Professor). The anticipated start date is August 2015. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

Successful applicants will be expected to conduct dynamic, externally funded research programs incorporating biodiversity collections-based data or other ‘Big Data’ and models to improve our understanding of conservation biology or other environmental issues such as climate change, invasive species, habitat modification, and ecosystem services; or improve our understanding of the history of life and our ability to address questions in comparative biology such as those related to the origin, persistence and extinction of lineages and biogeographic patterns; or improve our ability to provide data on species identifications and distributions, habitat preferences, and other information to resource managers, agricultural scientists, and industry.

Contemporary and future studies in plant speciation, morphological/floral evolution and polyploidy

The Royal Society has published a special issue celebrates the distinguished scientific career of Leslie Gottlieb, who investigated the evolutionary processes that generate the Earth’s life-sustaining plant diversity.
The articles in this issue discuss results, obtained largely from contemporary genetic-genomic approaches, within the context of Gottlieb’s views on several areas of plant evolution. Collectively, the articles document the importance of Leslie Gottlieb’s contributions to plant evolutionary biology because the same questions, and in some cases the same plants, that interested him are commanding the attention of contemporary workers employing cutting edge techniques today.
The issue is online at bit.ly/PTB1648, you can also buy a print copy at the same link. Quote code TB 1648 for a discount (£35.00 versus usual price of £59.50).

Frontiers in Phylogenetics 4th Annual Symposium videos online

The Frontiers in Phylogenetics 4th Annual Symposium entitled "Genome-Scale Phylogenetics: Analyzing the Data” will remain available to watch on Ustream-SI in unedited form in three parts.

Part 1) Opening (Mike Braun, John Kress, Guillermo Orti), Lacey Knowles, Kevin Kocot, Ingo Ebersberger...
Part 2) Ingo Ebersberger continued, Derick Zwickl, Dave Swofford...
Part 3) Dave Swofford continued, Luay Nakleh, Bastien Boussau, round table discussion.


Part 1 http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/52713111
Part 2 http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/52716590
Part 3 http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/52720049

An edited version of the event will be available as a podcast on iTunes at a later date, to be announced.

Martha N. and John C. Moser Chair in Arthropod Biosystematics and Biological Diversity

The Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology (EEOB) and the Department of Entomology of The Ohio State University seek appliants for The Martha N. and John C. Moser Chair in Arthropod Biosystematics and Biological Diversity. We seek a colleague taking a lineage-focused approach to questions in evolution and ecology of terrestrial or freshwater arthropods. We are especially interested in those scientists using novel approaches and those who enhance existing strengths of the departments and the Museum of Biological Diversity in phylogenetic systematics, species discovery and description, biodiversity informatics, population genetics, or evolution of character systems or interspecific interactions. More details at https://eeob.osu.edu/news/search-underway-martha-n-and-john-c-moser-chair-arthropod-biosystematics-and-biological-diversi.

About Women in Science (Evol2014)

Below are the links from the Evol2014 About Women in Science events on the topic of Implicit Bias. For each session, we have provided Joan's presentation and the workshop responses from the attendees. We hope that you find the information useful.

We would like to thank the organizers of Evol2014, the three societies who sponsored these events, our guest speaker, Joan Herbers, and our attendees.

Michele Dudash and Jenny Boughman

Classical determination of monophyly

Systematists with a yen for theory might be
interested in a three-part paper:

Zander, R. H. 2014. Classical determination of monophyly,
exemplified with Didymodon s. lat. (Bryophyta). Parts 1, 2 and 3. Phytoneuron issues 2014-78, 2014-79, and 2014-80.

In which I attempt to formalize (find the statistical and
logical basis) of the heuristics classical taxonomists use to intuit monophyly.

We are apparently good at it but can’t say why. Until now. If I’m right.

These may be found on the Phytoneuron Web site: