Supplements to Proceedings ZIN

Supplements to Proceedings ZIN publish monographs and contributions of conferenses (symposia), held at the Zoological Institute RAS.

Zoological Institute RAS bears costs for publications of one supplement with a volume of 10 printer's sheets per year. Publication of additional supplements as well as expenses connected with exceedings of volume and/or colour printing should be covered from different sources.

Format of the supplements corresponds to those of Proceedings ZIN. Editing of each volume of the supplements is carried out by appointed editors.

Volume 317 (Supplement 3), 2013. N.V. Aladin and A.O. Smurov (Eds.) Fifty years of the concept of critical salinity.

Saint Petersburg, Zoological Institute RAS, 245 p.

Date of publication — June 21, 2013

Critical salinity – homeostasys – sustainable development

The paper examines biological concepts of critical salinity, internal homeostasis of internal salinity, temperature and pH. It is concluded that level of chosen by organism controlled factor is close to the critical point of its impact. This is consistent with the principle of minimal action by Pierre Louis de Maupertuis. The paper put forward hypothesis about the fact that the law of minimal action may mark the approaches to the issues of sustainable development.

The concept of relativity and plurality of barrier salinity zones and forms of existence of the hydrosphere

The paper provides overview of the concept of relativity and plurality of barrier salinity zones and based on it notion about the Earth’s hydrosphere salinity zones. From this viewpoint it is considered a number of not full-saline seas and continental water bodies.

Stress proteins and environmental salinity

The paper contains materials of presentation delivered at the Conference “Salinity factor in biological sciences” (Saint Petersburg, 2012). It is based on literature and original experimental data. The question of the influence of salinity changes on stress protein content is discussed.

Manifestation of the global ecological crisis at the organism level (on the example of Cladocerans Crustacea and mollusks Unionidae)

Toxicosis of aquatic organisms, due to water pollution – one of the manifestations of the global ecological crisis. With them in fresh water begins extinction of populations of some species and anthropogenic evolution of others. The rate of extinction and anthropogenic evolution are inversely proportional to the degree of salt content of water.

Changes in the species composition of the Aral Sea free-living invertebrates (Metazoa) fauna

The paper provides overview of changes in the species composition of free-living invertebrate fauna of the Aral Sea occurred in the second half of the XX century and the beginning of the XXI century. These changes were the result of introduction of new species of fish and invertebrates and changes in the hydrological regime of this saline inland lake. Changes caused by salinization occurred not linearly through crisis periods associated with the transition critical salinity followed by periods of relative stability.

Effects of various salinity on the White Sea blue mussels Mytilus edulis lipid composition

The changes in lipid and fatty acid composition of gills and mantle of the White Sea mussels Mytilus edulis during acclimation to various salinity were investigated. Modifications of mussel lipid composition in response to different salinity depend on mollusk habitat (littoral and aquaculture suspended substrates) and the functional characteristics of the studied organs. Compensatory reaction of membrane lipids in response to extremely low salinity (5‰) was similar in intertidal and aquaculture mussels.

Investigation of the cardiac activity of three species of Bivalvia (Mytilus edulis L., Modiolus modiolus L. and Hiatella arctica L.) under salinity changes

In the manuscript the comparative analysis of three species of Bivalvia – Mytilus edulis, 1758, Modiolus modiolu, 1758 and Hiatella arctica, 1767 – under salinity changes was carried out. For the first time the registration of mussels cardiac activity to trace the reaction of organism was applied. Five types of salinity – 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35‰ – were used. The initial response to salinity change was a significant heart rate reduction with the exception of M. modiolus. In this species the increased cardiac activity was shown at high salinities. Change of salinity to the initial level to track the process of reacclimation led to sharp increase of cardiac activity. At the same time in M. modiolus the prominent bradycardia was marked. The results of investigations are discussed with respect to evolutionary history of the species.

Benthic communities of Lake Manych-Gudilo in chronic salinity

Features of seasonal distribution, taxonomic structure, population indicators of benthos in Manych-Gudilo’s lake was considering. Pauperization of species structure of a macrozoobenthos with increase in salinity is noted at preservation of quantitative characteristics (a biomass, number) on rather high level.

The environment of “critical” salinity as a perspective model for eustress research and aquaculture elaboration

Possibility of reservation mature fish breeders in the environment of critical salinity of 5–7‰ is established. Their fish-breeding quality is saved within 1 month even in salt solutions. Realisation mechanisms of eustress in this environment are discussed on the basis of status analysis of neurosecretory system and of some physiological characteristics.

Bryozoa of the southern Russian seas and their salinity tolerance

The fauna of Cheilostomata and Ctenostomata Bryozoa of the Sea of Azov, the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea has been analyzed to evaluate its relationship to salinity of water. The fauna is characterized by the high degree of endemism due to brackish water environments. Barrier salinities, chemical composition of water in the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea and predominantly of marine origin of species and genera of Bryozoa confirm that the formation of bryozoan fauna has been a result of an influence of the barrier salinities. Salinity barrier values can change the subsequent evolution of salinity adaptations.

Macroalgal community in conditions of the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland

This paper examines the impact of factors such as salinity, and anthropogenic activities on the coastal community of macroalgae in the eastern Gulf of Finland. It was shown, that in studied area there are marine species of algae, which is adapted to conditions of low salinity. During observations it was founded sharp decline of Cladophora glomerata biomass and reduction abundance of rare species macroalgae due to dredging.

Population of Tilapia guineensis (Gunther, 1862), inhabiting the southern part of the Gulf Arguin with the increased salinity (Mauritania)

The discovery of guinean tilapia inhabiting the southern part of the gulf Arguin with the increased salinity (more 40‰) is analysed. The hypothesis of tilapia population appearance in the gulf Arguin as a result of a river flow in the gulf in the period of Holosene (8–6 thousand years B/C) is discussed. Next climatic changes for the arid one resulted in river disappearance and tilapia adaptation for the conditions of increased salinity in the southern part of the gulf.

Evaluation of biological status of main commercial fish species populations in the Small Aral Sea

The paper provides overview of changes in the fish fauna of the Aral Sea occurred as a result of changes in the hydrological regime and introduction new fish species by man. The main attention is focused on the current state of populations of the main having commercial value fish species populations of the Small Aral Sea. The information on the size and weight and age composition, sex ratio in the population of each of the species, as well as information about spawning conditions.

Effect of long-term changes of the salinity on the water flora composition and distribution of macrophytes in the Aral

The paper provides a brief overview of literature on studies of the Aral Sea macrophytes and data on the changes in distribution and productivity of species of higher aquatic vegetation and Charophytes found in aquatic phythocenoses in different periods of salinization since the late 19th century to the beginning of the 21th century.

Salinity as a factor of zoobenthos formation in lakes of the south Ob-Irtysh interfluve

In 2008–2011, four river-lake systems of the south Ob-Irtysh interfluve area situated in the Karasuk, Burla, Kulunda and Kasmala ancient runnel and within the territory of Altai Krai and Novosibirsk oblast’ were studied. Salinity of the studied lakes made up 0.3–122 g/l. The bottom fauna consists of 146 species from 8 classes of invertebrates. The influence of major abiotic ecological factors (hydrophysical and hydrochemical water indices, substrate type) on the composition and structure of bottom communities was studied.

Adaptive features of populations pelagic and demersal fish in the spatial and temporal dynamics salinity waters factor of the Baltic Sea

The integrated analysis of the variability of abiotic and biotic components in South-Eastern Baltic (Gdansk Basin as an example) over the past few decades (1974–2010), testified significant changes in the ecosystem of the sea. Salinity factor in this aspect has played a major role in the significant reduction in the spawning grounds of cod on the one hand, on the other, along with the increase of water temperature determined the dominance of sprat and herring in the ecosystem of the Baltic Sea.

Structural and functional characteristics of communities of microorganisms in Crimean hyperhaline Lake Sakskoye

Structural and functional characteristics of communities of microorganisms have been studied in Crimean hyperhaline lakes of different salinity. Annual and seasonal variations of the rate of primary and bacterial production, destruction and sulphate reduction were studied in Lake Sakskoye. At salinity 80–120 g/l, the average value of the primary production during a three-year vegetation period constituted 134 μkgC/(l·Eday) in eastern and western basins at salinity 60 g/l –380 μkgC/(l·Eday) at the spring and summer maximum. The maximum biomass of bacterioplankton and benthos were recorded at the brine salinity of 105 g/l. The annual average rate of sulphate reduction in silts was 14.5 mgS/(kg·Eday). The dynamics of processes in other lakes was similar to their dynamics in Lake Sakskoye but values of the characteristics differed.

Salinity resistance of larvae of sibling species – Chironomus balatonicus Devai et al. and Chironomus plumosus (L.) (Diptera: Chironomidae)

Salinity resistance of sibling species Сhironomus balatonicus and Chironomus plumosus is investigated. It is shown, the range of salinity resistance of С. balatonicus (18.7‰) is much wider, than C. plumosus’s one (up to 1.7‰). Thus, despite on phylogenetic proximity of both sibling species, С. Balatonicus is euryhalinous brackishwater species of freshwater origin, inhabiting fresh and brackish oligohalinous waters, when C. plumosus is stenohalinous, typically freshwater one and only shortly tolerates salinity 12‰.

The content of cations in vertebrae of the mature and immature females of roach Rutilus rutilus (L.) before spawning

This paper shows, for the first time, that there is fish gonad maturity occurs at certain concentration of cations in skeleton vertebras. In vertebrae of mature females of roach the content of sodium and calcium is higher and potassium was less than at impuberal ones. Strong positive relationship is established between fish length and content of sodium in vertebrae of mature females of roach (Rs=0.91). Between the content of calcium and magnesium in vertebrae of mature females is established positive correlative relationship (Rs=0.57).

The relationship between size-weight characteristics of roach Rutilus rutilus (L.) underyearlings and cation contents of the fish body

This paper shows, for the first time, that there is a positive correlation between length, mass of roach underyearlings, grown in nature, and accumulation of sodium, calcium and magnesium cations of in their body (Rs=0.66, 062, 0.62, Rs=0.64, 0.58, 0.59 respectively). Weak positive relationship is established between fish length, weight and potassium accumulation (Rs=0.45, Rs=0.44).

Biological invasion in critical salinity zone: introduction of polychaetes Marenzelleria arctia to the eastern Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea)

The peculiarities of biological invasions in the species-poor estuarial communities of critical salinity zone were analyzed using polychaetes Marenzelleria arctia introduced into the eastern Gulf of Finland as an example. M. arctia introduction resulted in cardinal reconstruction of whole gulf ecosystem. Polychaetes took the dominant position in the benthos. The benthic biomass increased manifold despite of deterioration of oxygen conditions. Role of these low-oxygen tolerant polychaetes was especially significant in the hypoxic areas, inhabited usually by monoculture of M. arctia. The new functional group of animals appeared, which actively bioirrigated bottom favorably influencing on the biogeochemical processes in the bottom sediments. Probably, in the near future radical changes of benthos will affect the structure of fish community. The open areas of the Gulf of Finland, which characterized by nearbottom waters with “critical” salinity and low temperature, were slightly impacted by invasion processes before M. arctia introduction. The specific environment means harsher selection conditions limiting circle of potential invaders. However, consequences of invasions in the critical salinity zone apparently are more important than in more species-rich freshwater and marine habitats. “Unsaturated” estuarine communities with large number of vacant ecological niches present good opportunity for alien species to establish successively. Evidently in many cases it can be considered as a positive phenomenon because of formation of more diverse functionally and resistant communities.

Salinity and marine macroalgae: eco-morphological plasticity in vitro and in situ

The role of salinity in modification of macroalgae is discussed. The essential morphological and biological changings were observed: for Phyllophora crispa (Black Sea) as a result of experimental raise of salinity from natural 18‰ up to 25, 32 и 39‰, and on the contrary, for Fucus vesiculosus and Ascophyllum nodosum (White Sea) in situ in brackish (7–17‰) habitats.

Estimation of the status of fishes in relation to salinity of environment on the basis of types of osmotic and ionic regulation

On the basis of own and literary data as osmotic and ionic regulation physiological criteria for an estimation of the status of fishes in relation to salinity of environment are offered.

Reconstraction and dinamics of bivalves taxocenoses (Mollusca: Bivalvia) of the Sea of Azov in Late Holocene in connection with change of salinity

The fauna of bivalves of Late Holocene (~5900–1700 cal BP) is analized in the paper. Stenohaline molluscs of Black sea are dominated in Azov bassin. Reconstruction of the habitat of Bivalvia during this period is made. Salinity of the sea was about 15–17‰ in different parts. Hypothesis of “Phanagorian regression” in Sea of Azov is not supported after malacological analyses.

Nematodofauna as element of meiobenthos in aquatic environment with various salinities (system “Neva Bay – Baltic Sea” taken as example)

Nematodes are the main component ob Neva Bay and adjoining water area. Number of nematode species, abundance and biomass of meiobenthos in Neva Bay are very high. At salinity increase up to 2–5‰ these characteristics are significantly lower. Then in the main water area of the Baltic Sea at salinity about 10‰ quantitative characteristics of nematode fauna and meiobenthos are increasing again.

Duration of the salinity adaptation of Hydrobia ulvae (Pennant, 1777) and Littorina obtusata (Linnaeus, 1758)

In the whole range of potential salinity tolerance of littoral bivalve mollusks Hydrobia ulvae (Pennant, 1777) and Littorina obtusata (Linnaeus, 1758) from the White Sea it was studied duration of acclimation to experimental values of salinity subject to initial acclimation salinity. As studied function of organism it was chosen activity of mollusks. Obtained data was used in order to make salinity tolerant polygons and to evaluate potential salinity ranges. Ion order to describe process of adaptation it was proposed original mathematical model. It is shown that time of mollusks adaptation to salinities close to the limits of potential tolerant range is short and is 1–3 days for acclimation to high salinity and is 3–5 days for acclimation to low salinity.

Salinity factor influence on mollusk settlements structure in the lagoons of the southern Baltic Sea

Mollusk community structure studies in the lagoons of the southern Baltic Sea were carried out. Water salinity and bottom type affect on the species distribution in water bodies. Species diversity, density and biomass depend on water salinity. The lowest diversity occurs in the oligohaline waters, which correlates to the ?-horohalinikum area. The lower physiological boundary of marine species distribution in lagoons corresponds to 5‰ is distinguished.

Alternative stable states of lake ecosystems and critical salinities: is there a rigid connection?

The biological / ecological systems at all levels – from molecular to ecosystem, as a rule, have not one but several alternative stable states. Realization of this is the essence of a new paradigm in biology and ecology, instead of one that considers the biological / ecological systems as having one point of global stability, and all changes of the system – only the fluctuations around this point. Some examples of this at different levels of the organization are represented. The focus is on alternative stable states of ecosystems of the Crimean hypersaline lakes. The wellknown dependence «salinity-number of species» was analyzed from the standpoint of a multiplicity of stable states of ecosystems. It is shown that there are two aspects of this relationship – the number of species of one state of the ecosystem and the total number of species of all ecosystem stable states, which realized with fluctuations of salinity.

Diversity of halophytic vegetation around of Lake Verkhneye Beloye (Eastern Transbaikalia)

The syntaxonomy of terrestrial halophytic vegetation surrounding Lake Verkhneye Beloye has been developed. Plant communities are related to classes Bolboschoenetea maritimi, Thero-Salicornietea, Scorzonero-Juncetea gerardii. Some distinctive communities were assigned to the separate alliance Artemision anethifoliae, which still is not related to any upper unit. Totally, plant communities were classified into 4 orders, 5 alliances, 8 associations, 3 subassociations, and 11 variants. The lake is situated in the inland depression and the zoning in distribution of vegetation is developed in some coastal sites.

The salinity influence on the spatio-temporal dynamics of the Baltic Sea ichthyoplankton

The water salinity conditions were considered in different Baltic areas: 1) in the deep-water basins as biotopes of pelagic fish eggs; 2) in the shallow coastal zone as a biotope of bottom fish eggs. There was shown that the pelagic egg species richness in deep-water basins declined spatio-temporally under salinity diminution. Simultaneously the cod egg abundance dropped significantly in consequence of the bottom salinity lowering. In the coastal zone the ichthyoplankton species diversity was linked with the diversity of spawning habitats for different fish ecological groups: phytophilous, psammophilous, lithophilous, ostracophilous.

Salinity as a factor of the formation of coastal biotopes (in Aral Sea taken as an example)

The salinity of the water is observed as factor which limits the development of reed wetlands in Aral Sea. It is shown that in favorable salinity conditions the special type of the biotope appears – the «phyto-genic reedy coast». The re-development of such type of the biotope is observed in the Small Aral after its isolation with the dam.

The ecological spectra of vascular flora in salty habitats of Western Transbaikalia

376 vascular plant species and subspecies have been registered in the salty habitats of Western Transbaikalia. Terrestrial (341 species), coastal (21), and aquatic (14 species) plants are among them. Four groups related to the wetness factor were distinguished: mesophytes – 209 species, xerophytes – 132, hygrophytes – 21, hydrophytes – 14. According to the habitat salinity the flora was divided into 3 groups: glycophytes – 174 species, halo-tolerant glycophytes – 156, and halophytes – 45 species.

Freshwater discharge and the distribution of intertidal foraminifera, outer Chupa inlet, western White Sea

Three species of calcareous foraminifera all belonging to the genus Elphidium were common on intertidal mud and sand beaches. Two species, E. excavatum clavatum and E. albiumbilicatum, dwelt proximally to freshwater outflows, whereas E. williamsoni occupied beaches bathed by waters with normal salinity.

Volume 317 (Supplement 2), 2013. A.F. Alimov and S.D. Stepanjants (Eds.) Biological systematics: modern problems.

Saint Petersburg, Zoological Institute RAS, Company of Scientific Papers KMK, 269 p.

Date of publication — September 16, 2013


The Conference “The Modern Problems of Biological Systematics” was attended by experts of the largest zoological and botanical institutions and universities of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other research centers. This collective monograph includes articles reported at the conference that attracted the greatest interest and discussions.

Invertebrate phylogeny in light of molecular data: the prospect of phylogenetics as a finished scientific discipline

We are listing the technical features of using molecular characters in phylogenetics and the perspective for their application in systematics. We are giving a brief review of the current picture of phylogenetic relationship between the major groups of protists and metazoans, and expressing an opinion that phylogenetics will answer its main questions in the near future. We are considering a case of using phylogenetic data for constructing an evolutionary scenario, illustrated by the origin of Metazoa.

Phylogenetic reconstructions: characters, models of evolution and methods of phylogenetic inference

The paper considers some general principles of different methods of phylogeny reconstruction. It demonstrates historical relationships between such approaches as intuitive Haeckel’s phylogenetics, Hennig’s hand cladistics, method of maximum parsimony, method of maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference and distance methods. The advantages and shortcomings of these methods are briefly discussed.

Morpho-biological approach in phylogenetics (possibilities and limitations)

Specifics of morpho-biological approach in morphology is briefly outlined. Its subject is defined as analysis of morphological adaptations including their formation and changes. In the phylogenetic studies, this approach is most fruitful in the study of, above all, adaptive and anagenetic components of phylogenesis. Possibilities and limitations of this approach in the reconstruction of genealogical relationships of organisms are also discussed. The basic methodological principles, of phylogenetic reconstructions of the morphological and functional systems are set out. Significance of the characters choice, the procedure of analysis and reasoning in making decisions about the nature of similarity are discussed.

Taxonomic methodology: approaches by Plato, Linne, and Procrustes

There are two alternative approaches as to how to classify the biological diversity which are derivable either from Plato and Linne, or from Procrustes. The former approach means “to cut nature at the joints” (along natural borderlines), therefore “the character does not constitute the genus, but the genus the character”. The latter approach denotes an apriori measure (a set of characters defined beforehand) which is applied to the diversity (ignoring a possible immanent structure of the diversity). Each approach has its own merits, but the General System, the only one authorized to assign scientific names to taxa, agrees with Plato and Linne rather than with Procrustes. Monophyletic continuum is considered to be the best to fit the aims of the System.

The importance of fossils in phylogeny reconstruction

The number of extant species of organisms is approximately 0.5–1% from the total number of species ever lived, which can be estimated as 0.9–1.6 billions. From this number of extant species, only 10% or less is known to the scientists. Thus, a sample of only 0.1% from the total number of species is available for the molecular systematics. This is not enough for an adequate phylogeny of the organic world on the species level based on molecular data. The method of ghost lineages allows quantitative estimation of the fit of the phylogenetic hypotheses to the fossil record. This method is a robust instrument for the testing of the phylogenetic hypothesis. A close coincidence of different measures of ghost lineages for a large number of recent phylogenetic analyses advocates for the adequacy of the fossil record for the understanding of the phylogeny of organic world. Inclusion of fossils into the phylogenetic analysis may dramatically change the topology of the final cladogram, because fossils may bear significant information on the lost evolutionary history. The paleontological data is the only way for calibrating of the molecular clocks. Two thirds of history of life on the Earth is already in the past. Thus, the understanding of the phylogeny of the organic world is not possible without the paleontological data.

Animal hybridization, speciation and systematics

Hybridization is a widely distributed phenomenon among animals. It is an important factor of speciation. The history of problem is briefly outlined. Principal terms are defined and discussed. Various categories of hybridization and hybrid zones in terms of their shape (narrow, broad), genetic and spatial structure (clinal, mosaic, reticulate, and residual; sympatric; uni- and bimodal zones), bidirectional and asymmetric introgression, mechanisms of origin and maintenance of hybrid zones, stability and movement of zones, as well as the relation of hybridization to taxonomy, zoogeography and conservation are considered.

Use of characters of the early stages of development in reconstruction of phylogeny and systematics (on the example of teleost fishes)

The history and current state of a problem of use of characters of early stages of development in reconstruction of phylogeny and systematics is considered. The point of view of modern phylogenetics on absence certain criteria for polarization of characters by ontogenetic method and on use possibility ontogenetic transformation series as usual characters for reconstruction of phylogeny is accepted now. The characteristic of modern representations about events of morphogenesis is given. It is underlined that working out of the ordered classification of events of morphogenesis within the limits of morphological terms remains not finished till now. Examples of application of characters of early stages of development for construction of system of bony fishes are resulted.

System of the class Insecta: an overview of modern concepts

The paper provides a brief overview of the existent concepts on the phylogeny of higher taxa of insects, discussing different and sometimes alternative hypotheses on the relationships between the main (supraordinal) branches of the phylogenetic tree. The most urgent objective and subjective problems of the systematic entomology are traced and the prospectives of further investigations are outlined.

The system of birds (Aves: Neornithes) early in XXI century

A brief review of studies leading to the current system of birds is provided. Cases of both congruence and inconsistency between the phylogenies inferred from studies of nuclear, mitochondrial DNA and morphology are emphasized. A compromise ordinal classification of birds summarizing the current views upon the relationships of taxa, and also taking into account an anagenetic similarity, is presented.

Protozoa, protists and protoctists in the system of Eucaryota

History of emergence and usage of kingdom names Protozoa, Protoctista and Protista have been analyzed. It have been demonstrated that despite popular belief they are initially synonyms. At present the results of comparative morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies prove convincingly that microorganisms formerly united according to one or another taxonomic concept (Protozoa, Protoctista или Protista) do not represent a monophyletic group. Therefore taxa with such names are absent in the contemporary system of eukaryotes. Nevertheless there is no need to abolish terms “protozoa”, “protists” and “protoctists”. It is just to be borne in mind that like a widely used term “invertebrates” they denote a non-taxonomic group of organisms.

Phylogeny and taxonomy of recently diverged groups as exemplified by the genus Rosa

Delimitation of species and establishing their relations in evolutionary young groups often proves to be an uneasy task. In morphological terms this means weak interspecific differentiation, parallel variability, and probable hybrid origin of intermediates. In genetical terms this means the effects of already mentioned hybridization, ancestral polymorphism and incomplete lineage sorting. The genus Rosa may serve as one of the brightest examples of a group where all the mentioned problems occur simultaneously. Such a group appears to be pretty resistant to methods of both traditional taxonomy and molecular cladistics. The use of nuclear and chloroplast haplotype genealogies to reveal the internal structure and phylogenetic relationships in Rosa and similar groups are discussed in the paper. Analyses of nr (ITS1) and cp (trnL-trnF) genealogies enables to reveal with various detail 6 to 9 groups of closely interrelated Rosa species, to much extent coinciding with each other and definite geographically, however, only partly corresponding to traditional sections.

Molecular and conventional phylogenetics. Towards the common ground.

This paper is inspired by the discussions during the Conference on Modern Issues in Biological Systematics that took place in the Zoological Institute RAS in Sankt-Petersburg in April 2011 and is addressed to representatives of “classical” school that still experience distrust to molecular phylogenetics and difficulties while comparing their results with molecular cladogramms. The steps of molecular-phylogenetic analysis are considered. It is shown that preliminary knowledge of the group is required in both approaches and opposite to widely distributed opinion significant portion of subjectivity is present and in molecular analysis. Possible causes leading to erroneous molecular phylogenetic reconstructions are discussed. It is shown that while comparing the results obtained by various techniques it is necessary to analyze the quality of initial data but not the pictures with cladogramms. The discordances in molecular and morphological phylogenies require thorough analysis of possible causes and estimates of robustness of the results obtained in both analyses as a cross validation.

Botanical nomenclature: specifics and modern tendencies of development

The article gives a brief outline of landmarks in the progress of the modern nomenclature of algae, fungi and plants, with pointing out its distinctions from the zoological nomenclature. Main tendencies in its development are specified.

The place of zoological nomenclature in the current developments of information technologies

The article discusses the specifics of the modern period in the development of taxonomic zoology in connection with the development of information technology in general, and providing information online, in particular. Comments are given to the Amendment to the existing Code of Zoological Nomenclature, the substance of which is as follows: 1 Electronic-only publications should be allowed, if mechanisms can be found that give reasonable assurance of the long-term accessibility of the information they contain; 2. Some method of registration should be part of the mechanism of allowing electronic publication of names and nomenclatural acts. The causes and reasons for the imendments to the Code are discussed.

Diagnostic keys: from the textual dichotomous to computer ones

Information on development of biological diagnostics is given, initially as a branch of biological systematics and then as a separate science. In the second half of the 20th century identification theory had taken shape, principles and methods of compiling and application of keys for identification of biological objects had been developed. The major notions used in biological diagnostics, such as taxon, character, character state, identification step and length of identification path are listed and explained. Forms of identification keys, textual, matrix and computer, are considered. The first-mentioned are most typical of using in paper versions of biological keys. They may be yoked (traditional for the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and bracketed (accepted in the western literature). Matrix keys are used extremely rarely. Computer keys are special computer forms for storage and using of diagnostic information. Diagnostic keys are monoentry (diagnosis always begins with one character or with the alternative of type “present–absent”); when the user can choose between several characters the key is multientry. If several character states (more than two) are noted the possibility of choosing between these states makes the key polytomous. One should not confuse multientry and polytomous keys. These are different notions with different bases. The cause of confusion is that multientry keys are nearly always polytomous. In relation to computer keys a description of the process of identification of biological objects using programs developed at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the “man–computer” mode is given. The form of dispersal of computer keys, their publication on compact discs (CD-ROM and DVD-ROM) was convenient for the users. In the recent years software for multientry polytomous keys and for using them in the Internet has been developed.



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