NABiS Master Programme – Nordic Academy of Biodiversity and Systematic Studies

Alpha taxonomical principles (5 ECTS)


(Course code: BIO401)


Alpha taxonomy is the discipline within biology concerned with delimiting, naming and describing organisms. As such it constitutes the basis for conducting systematic studies on our biodiversity at any level from cell to ecosystem.

The course comprises a thorough discussion on species concepts, in biological terms as well as with a philosophical angle. Naming organisms follow international rules that are published in so called Nomenclatural Codes. During the course the main principles for naming taxa within different organism groups will be presented. Examples of the importance of reference specimens and detailed labelling for taxonomical work are given. Descriptions of species often follow a number of rules that are dependent on the group being studied. Exercises in taxon description, even formalised ones using computers as a tool, are given. Keys used for species identification are an important link between the taxonomical expertise and users within science as well as the rest of society. Practicals in key construction, even interactive keys by means of databased information and computers, are elements in the course.

A literature or practical work in which the alphataxonomical knowledge gained is used ends the course.

Course information