Classification and Introduction to Taxonomy

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Taxonomy is the practice and science of categorization or classification. In a wider, more general sense, it may refer to a categorization of things or concepts, as well as to the principles underlying such a categorization.
1. Classification &
Introduction to
2. Classification
• The grouping of
objects or information
based on similarities
• There are more than 1
million described
species of plants and
– Many millions still
left undescribed
3. • Science of classification
(grouping things)
– Process of classifying
biodiversity based on
– Means to organize
biological diversity
– Groups and names
organisms based on
4. Early Taxonomic
• Aristotle (350 B.C.)
– Developed the 1st widely accepted system of
biological classification
– Everything grouped as plant or animal
Plants Animals
Herbs Shrubs Trees Land Sea Air
5. Early Taxonomic Systems
• Carolus Linnaeus (1753)- use of a
species name
• Based on looking at physical and
structural similarities
• Revealed relationships of
• Binomial nomenclature
• Gave each species 2 names
(scientific name)
• Genus and species
• Genus is a group of similar
• Developed the modern system of
6. • Latin was the language used (no longer used
and is not being changed)
– Genus name always capitalized
– species name always lowercase
– both names MUST be underlined or
– Ex: Canis lupus (wolf)
– Ex: Homo sapiens (human)
7. • Ex: Felis domesticus (housecat)
–Felis domesticus var.
• Indicates more than one variety
8. • Scientific names are often:
– Descriptive (Acer rubrum red maple)
– Named after someone (genus Linnea)
– Descriptive of where an organism lives
(D. californica)
– Named after person who first described
the organism (D. californica Torr)
• Many organisms have common names
– Can be misleading
– Can have more than 1 common name,
depending on the area it is found in
9. Modern Taxonomy
• Now based on evolutionary relationships
• Taxonomists study:
– Structural similarities
– Chromosomal structure (karyotypes)
– Reproductive potential
– Biochemical similarities
• Comparing DNA and amino acids
– Embryology/development
– Breeding behavior
– Geographic distribution
10. 7 taxonomic categories:
Kingdom  largest, most general group
Phylum  called a division with plants
Species  smallest,
most specific group
• Grouped genera into families, families into
orders, orders into classes, classes into phyla,
and phyla into kingdoms
• Species can interbreed with each other
11. 1969: 5-Kingdom System
• Monera, Protista, and Fungi
kingdoms added to the 2
established kingdoms
• Kingdoms defined based on
2 main characteristics
• Possession of a true
nucleus (prokaryote or
• How it gets food
– Heterotroph
– Autotroph
– Decomposer
12. 1980’s: 3-Domain System
• Bacteria have
distinct differences
• All eukaryotic
kingdoms grouped
into one domain
• Monera kingdom
split into 2 domains
(Archaea and
13. How Living Things are
• Groups of organisms called
taxa or taxons
• Organisms arranged in
groups ranging from very
broad to very specific
– Broader taxons have
more general
characteristics and more
species within it
– Smallest taxon Species
– Largest taxon Kingdom
14. • a family tree for the
evolutionary history of a
– The root of the tree
represents the ancestral
– Tips of the branches
represent descendents of
the ancestor
– Movement upward shows
forward motion through time
– Speciation: split in the
– Shown as a branching of the
15. Cladistics
• System of classification based on phylogeny
• Derived characteristics/traits: appear in
recent parts of a lineage but not in older
16. Cladogram
• A branching diagram to show the
evolutionary history of a species
• Helps scientists understand how one
lineage branched from another in the course
of evolution
17. Dichotomous Key
• Way of identifying
organisms by
looking at the
• Uses a series of
questions to group
into a hierarchy
18. The Six Kingdoms of Organisms
– Microscopic
– Prokaryotic (Lack a
– Can be autotrophs
(photosynthetic or
chemosynthetic) or
– Unicellular
19. • 2 kingdoms (Archaebacteria and Eubacteria)
– Archaebacteria live in extreme environments like
swamps, deep-ocean hydrothermal vents (oxygen-
free environments)
• Cell walls not made of peptidoglycan
• Ex: Methanogens, Halophiles
– Eubacteria live in most habitats
• Cell walls made of peptidoglycan
• Ex: E. coli, Streptococcus, cyanobacteria
20. The Six Kingdoms of Organisms
– Eukaryotic (has a nucleus)
– Some have cell walls of cellulose
• Some have chloroplasts
– Can be autotrophs or heterotrophs (some can be
– Most are unicellular; some are multicellular or
– Ex: amoeba, paramecium, slime molds, euglena, kelp
– Lacks complex organ systems
– Lives in moist environments
21. The Six Kingdoms of Organisms
• Eukaryotes
• Cell walls of chitin
• Heterotrophs
• Most multicellular; some
• Ex: mushrooms, yeast
• Absorbs nutrients from
organic materials in the
• Stationary
22. The Six Kingdoms of Organisms
• Eukaryotes
• Cell walls of cellulose
• Autotrophs
• Multicellular
• Photosynthetic contains
• Ex: mosses, ferns, trees,
flowering plants
• Cannot move
• Tissues and organ systems
23. The Six Kingdoms of Organisms
• Eukaryotes
• Do not have a cell wall
or chloroplasts
• Heterotrophs
• Multicellular
• Ex: sponges, worms,
insects, fish,
mammals (nurse
• Mobile