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Ecological Species, Multispecies, and Oaks

Leigh Van Valen
Taxon
Vol. 25, No. 2/3 (May, 1976), pp. 233-239
DOI: 10.2307/1219444
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1219444
Page Count: 7
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Ecological Species, Multispecies, and Oaks
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Abstract

Oaks exemplify problems with the reproductive species concept which motivate a reconsideration of the use and nature of species. Ecology is important in the reconsideration. The species level is usually overemphasized in evolutionary thought; selection acts on phenotypes and any mutualistic units. Standard definitions tend to inhibit free conceptual progress. Multispecies, sets of broadly sympatric species that exchange genes, may occur among animals as well as plants and may conceivably bridge kingdoms. This phenomenon can be adaptively important. There may be taxa without species. The degree of modality of adaptive zones can be investigated empirically.

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