Names in the Database
Much of the information in the Pacific Northwest Fungi Database consists of the scientific names of fungi and plants in addition to the names of the taxonomic authorities who played roles in proposing those names. Scientific names of plants and fungi are binomials, made and modified according to rules set forth in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (often referred to as "the Code"). This system of nomenclature traces its intellectual lineage to the work of Carl Linnaeus who was instrumental in codifying the use of binomials.
Binomials consist of two parts. The first part is the genus name (the first letter of which is capitalized) and the second part is the epithet (the first letter of which is lower case).
Thus, in the following example:
Peronospora is the genus name
A complete scientific name consists of the binomial and the taxonomic authority or authorities responsible for the name. Thus, the complete name in this example would be:
Peronospora destructor (Berk.) Fr.
This name informs the reader that the species epithet originally was proposed by Berkeley (here abbreviated as Berk.), but that Fries (here abbreviated as Fr.) later disagreed with Berkeley's taxonomic concept and revised the classification of this organism to reflect Fries's view that the organism's closest affinities were to species of Peronospora. In the Pacific Northwest Fungi Database the person who described the epithet is termed the "species authority" and the person who transferred that epithet to a particular genus is termed the "genus authority". An unusual feature of the Database is that one can search for names described by a particular authority. Please note, however, that in the present version you will need to use the same abbreviation for that authority's name that was used by C. G. Shaw in the Host Fungus Index for the Pacific Northwest. We expect in the next version of the Database to make it easier to search by authority if you don't know the abbreviation used by Shaw.
In cases such as the following:
Peronospora jacksonii C.G. Shaw
the Database designates C. G. Shaw as the species authority and there is no genus authority since the binomial was not based on transferring the organism to a genus different from that used by the species authority.
(By the way, many users will be aware that Peronospora [and many other organisms in the Database] are no longer regarded as true fungi. We have continued to include such organisms in the database because they continue to be studied by mycologists, plant pathologists, and ecologists interested in fungi in the broad, traditional, but highly diverse sense.)
Users also should be aware that the names used in this version of the Database largely reflect the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature in effect at the time of the publication of Shaw's Index. Thus, some author citations will involve the use of now-obsolete practices such as using "ex" where the current Code would use ":". As we continue to refine the Database we expect to bring the nomenclatural practices it reflects into compliance with current nomenclatural practice. Users with a professional interest in nomenclature are invited to contact the Editor if they would like to volunteer to help in the task of updating and improving the information in the Database.
Beginning with version 2 (posted on the internet April 1, 2005), users can search by names of fungus order (names designated with the suffix “ales”) or family (names designated with the suffix “aceae”). Users should be aware that considerable disagreement frequently exists about the application of particular order or family names in fungi. Nonetheless, the ability to search by suprageneric names is a powerful means of obtaining information about similar fungi. Names of orders and families in the database are from The Dictionary of the Fungi http://www.cabi-publishing.org/bookshop/BookDisplay.asp?SubjectArea=&Subject=&PID=1529 (9th edition, 2001) published by CABI Publishing http://www.cabi-publishing.org. For those wishing further information on fungal nomenclature the database for The Dictionary of the Fungi, the most definitive source of such information, can be searched at www.SpeciesFungorum.org.
For further information:
Glawe, D. A. 2003. Much More Than Phylogenies: A Utilitarian View of the Taxonomy of Plant Pathogenic Fungi. APSnet Feature Article for September, 2003, http://www.apsnet.org/online/feature/taxonomy/