Original paper

What is a species in cyanoprokaryotes?

Gold-Morgan, Michele; González-González, Jorge


The species problem in cyanoprokaryotes stems from the fact that the species problem has not been solved for living beings as a whole nor has it received enough attention specifically in this group of organisms. The question of whether species exist in nature has basically been answered in favor of the realist position that they do. Nevertheless this agreement hasn't necessarily included all types of living beings, asexual organisms and therefore cyanoprokaryotes, being the major group excluded. Nor has the question of whether species are the same kind of thing in all organisms (the monist position) or whether they are different kinds (the pluralist position) been settled. We argue for the need of a conceptual system more than just agreement on one universal species concept or acceptance of several partial, unconnected ones; ours is a monist/pluralist solution. Our proposed system consists of a species category - non-taxonomic - that reflects what all species of whatever type share, as many concepts as types of species turn out to exist and the concept of each concrete species existing in nature. The species problem should be solved by theoretical and practical biologists from all fields of biology, working on all types of organisms, and we would hope with the input from epistemologists of biology. In this paper we will propose a definition of the species as a level of organization (species category) and for species of cyanoprokaryotes as one type of species (the species concept in cyanoprokaryotes). What all types of species share - represented by the species category - is that they are the unit of self-perpetuation which means perpetuation at the different space/time levels of existence: individual, generational, of single populations and of groups of populations. From this perspective, species are not monolithic because different things may be happening simultaneously within and between levels. What all cyanoprokaryotic species share is that they are units of self-perpetuation which are oxyphototrophic, have cyanoprokaryotic pigments and asexual reproduction. Finally, we argue that category and concepts (model) should be confronted permanently with the natural species and whenever there is contradiction between the model and reality, the model should be adjusted accordingly.


speciesspecies conceptspecies categoryconceptual systemcyanoprokaryotescyanobacteriacyanoprokaryotic speciesself-perpetuationspacetimeenvironmental conditionsgenetic potentialfractal configuration