Original paper

Nomenclature of the Cyanophyta/Cyanobacteria/Cyanoprokaryotes: What has happened since IAC Luxembourg?

Oren, Aharon; Komárek, Jiří; Hoffmann, Lucien

Algological Studies Volume 130 (2009), p. 17 - 26

published: Oct 1, 2009

DOI: 10.1127/1864-1318/2009/0130-0017

BibTeX file

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Although Stanier and colleagues proposed in 1978 that the nomenclature of the Cyanobacteria shall be governed by the provisions of the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria, they failed to properly cater for the needs of that Code. As a result a nomenclatural system has emerged in which Cyanophyta/Cyanobacteria have been named both according to the provisions of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) as well as the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria / the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNB/ICNP), although their status under the latter Code is often uncertain. One of the critical issues is that valid publication of names under the ICNP includes a formal act of registration/indexing, centralized in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM), whereas few restrictions exist on the journal in which names may be validly published under the ICBN. Under current revisions of the ICNP, the nomenclatural type of a species is a viable type strain maintained in pure culture, while under the ICBN non-living type specimens must be preserved permanently, although algal cultures preserved in a metabolically inactive state are acceptable as types. Discussions on the harmonization of the nomenclature of the Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta under the ICBN and the ICNP held during the 16 th IAC Symposium (Luxembourg 2005) were extended during the 17th IAC Symposium (Mérida, 2007). These discussions explored a solution to the Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta nomenclature problem, based on: (1) Future acceptance of central registration/indexing of names within this group under the ICBN; (2) Recognition by the ICNP of names validly published under the ICBN, and (3) Publication of 'Approved Lists of Cyanophyte/Cyanobacterial Names' (cf Names in Current Use), to be recognized as a new starting point for priority in the Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta nomenclature under both Codes, comparable with the 1980 'Approved Lists of Bacterial Names'. The preparation of such a list is well underway. A Special Committee on the harmonization of the Nomenclature of Cyanophyta/Cyanobacteria has been nominated to prepare the changes required under the ICBN. The necessary changes to the ICNP and the ICBN should be submitted for formal endorsement in 2011 by the ICSP meeting in Sapporo and by the Botanical Congress in Sydney. Subsequent publication of the 'Approved Lists of Names of Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta' will start a new era in Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta nomenclature.


cyanobacteriacyanophytainternational code of nomenclature of prokaryotesinternational code of botanical nomenclaturenomenclature