From species descriptions to diversity patterns:The validation of taxonomic data as a keystone for ant diversity studies reproducibility and accuracy

Feitosa, R.M. and Silva, T.S.R. and Camacho, G.P. and Ulysséa, M.A. and Ladino, N. and Oliveira, A.M. and De Albuquerque, E.Z. and Ribas, C.R. and Schmidt, F.A. and Morini, M.S.D.C. and Da Silva, R.R. and Dáttilo, W. and De Queiroz, A.C.M. and Baccaro, F.B. and Santos, J.C. and Carvalho, K.S. and Sobrinho, T.G. and Quinet, Y.P. and Moraes, A.B. and Vargas, A.B. and Torezan-Silingardi, H.M. and Souza, J.L.P. and Marques, T. and Izzo, T. and Lange, D. and Dos Santos, I.A. and Del-Claro, K. and Nahas, L. and Paolucci, L. and Soares, S.A. and Harada, A.Y. and Rabello, A.M. and Da Costa-Milanez, C.B. and Diehl-Fleig, E. and Campos, R.B.F. and Solar, R. and Frizzo, T. and Darocha, W. and Nogueira, A. (2023) From species descriptions to diversity patterns:The validation of taxonomic data as a keystone for ant diversity studies reproducibility and accuracy. Royal Society Open Science, 10 (2). ISSN 2054-5703

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Research findings in natural sciences need to be comparable and reproducible to effectively improve our understanding of ecological and behavioural patterns. In this sense, knowledge frontiers in biodiversity studies are directly tied to taxonomic research, especially in species-rich tropical regions. Here we analysed the taxonomic information available in 470 studies on Brazilian ant diversity published in the last 50 years. We aimed to quantify the proportion of studies that provide enough data to validate taxonomic identification, explore the frequency of studies that properly acknowledge their taxonomic background, and investigate the primary resources for ant identification in Brazil. We found that most studies on Brazilian ant diversity (73.6%) explicitly stated the methods used to identify their specimens. However, the proportion of papers that provide complete data for the repository institutions and vouchered specimens is vanishingly small (5.8%). Additionally, only 40.0% of the studies consistently presented taxon authorities and years of description, rarely referencing taxonomic publications correctly. In turn, the number of specialists and institutions consulted for ant identification in Brazil has increased in the last years, along with the number of studies that explicitly provide their taxonomic procedures for ant identification. Our findings highlight a shift between generations regarding the recognition of taxonomy as fundamental science, deepening our understanding of biodiversity.

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Journal Article
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Royal Society Open Science
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24 Feb 2023 11:15
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 02:58