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Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 52(1) March 1995 11 The ambiregnal protists and the Codes of nomenclature: a brief review of the problem and of proposed solutions John O. Corliss P.O. Box 53008. Albuquerque. New Mexico. U.S.A. Abstract. Among the tens of thousands of species of protists recognized today, a goodly number are known as 'ambiregnal" because of their past treatment both as algae and as protozoa, which caused their names to fall under the jurisdiction of both the botanical and the zoological Codes of nomenclature. Now that many of them have been determined to be more closely related to one another than to members of the plant and animal kingdoms, a solution is needed to relieve their names of the highly undesirable situation of being subject to different treatment by different workers, as is possible under the existing Codes. Six proposed solutions of the complicated problem are examined, with one — harmonization of the relevant Codes — heralded as the most likely to meet the crying needs of the situation. In addition, a plea is made for recommendation in the Codes of guidelines useful in the cases of suprafamilial names of the many diverse high-level protistan assemblages. The organisms widely known vernacularly as 'the protists' — roughly defined as including all of the protozoa, the eukaryotic algae, and the so-called 'lower fungi' (zoosporic and plasmodial species) — have become objects of intensive studies in recent years as they have been increasingly perceived not only as model cells but also as groups of great evolutionary significance in the origin of the 'higher' eukaryotes, the plants, animals, and fungi (for latest review, see Corliss, 1994a). While con-siderable attention has been paid to their ultrastructural, biochemical and molecular properties on the one hand, and to their phylogenetic interrelationships on the other, rather few biologists have expressed an interest in the nomenclatural problems arising from their high-level systematic separation from (most) plants and animals. That is, they can no longer be treated taxonomically as simply 'mini-plants' or 'mini-animals' (Corliss, 1983, 1986, 1994b). Directly involved in their taxonomy and nomenclature, at the lower classification levels particularly, are the various Codes of nomenclature, which contain both mandatory and recommended provisions concerning family, generic and specific names of all living and fossil organisms. The two Codes of special concern to the topic under consideration are the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Greuter et al, 1994) and the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, 1985). Because the great majority of species of protists are, by widespread general agreement, no longer formally assignable to the kingdoms of plants or animals, their nomenclature might be considered to fall under no existing Code. This would be an unacceptable vacuum. These microbial eukaryotes might be assigned to the juris-diction of one or the other (or some combination of both) of the two major Codes named above, but this would create an almost equally unsatisfactory situation (see later sections of this paper). The problem is exacerbated by the fact that some 30,000

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The ambiregnal protists and the codes of nomenclature: a brief review of the problem and of proposed solutions

J O Corliss
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 52: 11-17 (1995)

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