[Biology] Taxonomical aids

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INTRODUCTION

Taxonomical aids refer to procedures, techniques and stored information (collections of samples or preserved organisms) which aid in identification and classification of organisms.

TYPES OF TAXONOMIC AIDS

Some salient taxonomical aids are as follows;

HERBARIUM

  • Herbarium serves as a depot for collections of preserved plant specimens and associated data for scientific study.
  • The plant specimens are preserved in a herbarium in the form of sheets known as herbarium sheets.
  • The labels on the herbarium sheets provide information regarding the place of collection, local and botanical names and family, etc.
  • A professor of Botany, Luca Ghini, designed the first herbarium at Pisa in Italy.
  • From small personal collections, herbaria have grown into large institutions of national and international significance.

MANUALS

  • It is a handbook providing complete information about the organisms found in a particular area with all the families, genera, species, and keys for their identification
  • A manual serve as a taxonomic aid by guiding individuals to identify and classify different plants and animals.
  • A taxonomic aid need not to be exhaustive, but should carry the essential information required for identifying and classifying flora and fauna.
  • The use of a manual is usually user-defined.
  • The information provided by a manual acts as a guide to identify a specific plant or animal and further help in its classification.

CATALOGUE

  • Catalogues are the books of libraries rich in botanical titles.
  • They have special value in taxonomic studies.
  • For referring to a catalogue, one should know full name of the author, exact title of the book, exact date of publication and the details of edition.
  • For Example:
    1. Catalogue of the Library of British Museum (of Natural History)
    2. Catalogue of the Library of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

MUSEUMS

  • The word museum is originated the Greek word mouseion.it was referred to the temple of Muses which is “the goddess of arts and sciences”.
  • Museum is an institution where artistic and educational samples are exhibited for the public
  • The materials available in exhibition for study are referred to as collections.
  • There are five main types of museums namely art museum, history museums, applied science museums and natural science museums.
  • Museum provide information about:
    1. Acquisition of materials
    2. Recording of materials
    3. Preservation of materials
    4. Research
    5. Exhibition of materials
    6. Education

KEYS

  • The term key describes a set of alternate characters.
  • It helps in the identification of plants and animals by selecting and eliminating the characters on the basis of their presence or absence in the organism.
  • Different categories use different keys.
  • Each statement in the key is referred to as lead.
  • For example, keys for identification of some animals are as follows:
    1. Ear wings and mammary glands are present–  bat
    2. Beak, feathers, wings are present —  birds
    3. Mammary glands, pinna. and scales are absent.  Limbs and slimy skin is present – Frog

MONOGRAPHS

  • A Monograph is a complete global account of a taxon of any rank – family, genus or species at a particular time.
  • This comprises of existing taxonomic knowledge and all relevant information about the group such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Palynology, Chromosome Number and Phylogeny.
  • It also includes extensive literature review, all nomenclatural information, identification key to all taxa, citation of specimens surveyed and distribution map.
  • For Example:
    • The Family Lentibulariaceae by Peter Tylor.

BOTANICAL AND ZOOLOGICAL PARKS

Botanical Park

  • The Botanical Garden is a place where plants from diverse groups are grown for scientific study, conservation, public education, aesthetics, and recreation.
  • They usually have an inbuilt library, laboratory, herbarium, and museum.
  • They also provide teaching and training facilities.
  • The government or private organizations maintain the botanical gardens.
  • These organizations also employee botanists and gardeners to look after the plants.
  • Some famous botanical gardens of India are Shri Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy Botanical Garden in Hyderabad, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in Howrah etc.

Zoological park

  • It is an enclosed place where wild animals are publicly exhibited. It is also known as a Zoological Garden or zoo.
  • The fundamental motive of any Zoological Park is to increase the public interest in the understanding of wildlife.
  • Zoo also provides recreation and education and is also involved in the preservation of endangered animals.
  • Protection of wildlife from extinction demands the conservation of natural habitat as well as the captive breeding of species.
  • Zoo authorities are responsible for taking proper care of animals.
  • Protection against natural disasters as well as starvation and diseases is also monitored.

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IMPORTANCE OF TAXONOMIC AIDS

  • To simplify the study of living organisms, they are organized into convenient categories on the basis of their characteristics, known as taxonomy. This information is obtained by referring to taxonomic aids.
  • The information gathered about the species needs to be stored for the future use.
  • Taxonomical hierarchy is made by using taxonomical aids
  • Taxonomic aids provide an accurate identification and classification of organisms.
  • Taxonomical aids are helpful in various areas such as agricultural, forestry, industry and in knowing our bio resources.

REFERENCES

  • Arihant’s handbook of biology. The living world. Page no: 1-6.
  • NCERT biology; textbook for class 11. The living world. Page no: 1-62.
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