Cryptic speciation Challenges to modern taxonomy

2015 June 5th to 6th, Bonn

Registration deadline extended: to May 15th 2015

The delineation of species is a classical topic of biology and correct species identification builds the foundation for many questions in biology including, for example, ecology, conservation biology, biodiversity research, or evolutionary biology. However, the description of species traditionally based on morphological taxonomy has gone through a tremendous change in the last decade. Due to the usage of molecular techniques in taxonomy and barcoding initiatives modern taxonomy is discovering cryptic species at an exponentially increasing pace. Cryptic species are two or more distinct species, which have been classified under one species name due to very high degrees of morphological similarity, but which are genetically distinct. However, the detection and delineation of cryptic species poses several challenges in taxonomy as well as in other biological disciplines. Describing cryptic species under the Zoological Code can be problematic and, moreover, delineation of cryptic species might depend on the applied species concept, delineation method or genetic marker used. All these problems have only recently been more thoroughly faced by taxonomists with respect to cryptic species and are far from being settled. For the applied side, many biological questions require an as best as possible species identification. Given morphological cryptic species are detected on an increasing scale molecular methods have to be employed in this aspect as well. Due to next generation sequencing technologies metagenomics has become a powerful tool in assessments of, for example, species richness in ecological surveys. However, how uncertainties in the delineation of cryptic species affect the metagenomic assessments is also an emerging topic regarding cryptic species.

In this graduate meeting, we would like to address this broad topic with a special emphasis on the challenges encountered by cryptic species. We have invited four speakers, which will address different topics regarding the detection of cryptic species:

Dr. Vera Fonseca, Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn
Dr. Bernhard Hausdorf, Zoological Museum Hamburg
Dr. Katharina Jörger, Ludwig-Maximillian University, Munich
Prof. Dr. Alfried Vogler, Natural History Museum London

The meeting will close with a panel discussion about the challenges in modern taxonomy, but also the challenges on the job market for young taxonomists. Participants, especially graduate students, are encouraged to contribute talks and posters about their own projects in dedicated sessions during the meeting. Therefore, depending on the number of submitted talks the talks between 20 to 30 minutes will be allocated to each submitted talk. Posters should be in portrait DIN A0 (841x1189 mm2) format. The meeting will take place at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of the University of Bonn from Friday 5th 13:00 to Saturday 6th 18:00.

Registration: Send an e-mail to by May 15th 2015.

Talks and posters: Together with the registration attach an abstract as a docx-file and indicate if you prefer to present your data as talk or a poster. The abstract should contain a title, author information and a summary of no more than 300 words.

Organizers Torsten H. Struck Thomas Bartolomaeus

© 08.05.2015 Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V., DZG