Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biology/Archive 4

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Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5


AAAS and Wikipedian biologists

Fellow Wikipedians, I've recently been speaking with a (responsible) New York based journalist who is working on a story on the people and motivations behind the biological content on Wikipedia. She is attending the upcoming American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting and was wondering whether any Wikipedians were going. If you are, she would like to meet with you. Leave me a message or email me and I can put you in touch with her. Her request is as follows:

“I’m a journalist with The Scientist magazine and I’m writing an article about the creators of Wikipedia pages on basic biology. I’m planning on attending the AAAS meeting in Washington DC in February 17-21st [1], and am looking to meet up with Wikipedia writers and editors. I’d like to get a group together and get a better sense of the culture of contributors that write and polish these entries. Alternately, if you know of a different upcoming meeting of life science-Wiki-writers/editors on the east coast, let me know.”

Rockpocket 10:22, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Alternative taxonomical classification

Alternative taxonomical classification has been prodded for deletion. (talk) 07:32, 16 January 2011 (UTC)


I do not know if the definition given in the new article Bioelectrochemistry is valide. It would be good if somebody has a closer look. Thanks --Stone (talk) 22:48, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Uncategorized categories

I found the following categories in Category:Underpopulated categories, and participants in this WikiProject might be able and willing to populate them.

(This talk page is on my watchlist, and I will watch here for a reply or replies.)
Wavelength (talk) 02:55, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

I took care of Category:Paleobotany by making Category:Prehistoric plants a subcat of it. Any articles that would be put in the Paleobotany category are already in the prehistoric plant category. Rkitko (talk) 03:01, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

More eyes needed?

Consumer-Resource Systems feels to me as if it's got a bunch of Original Research, but this absolutely isn't my field. Can anyone either confirm or deny? DS (talk) 00:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Not my field either, but a quick google scholar search makes it clear that the concept isn't WP:OR. Nothing in the article looks especially dubious or controversial (on a quick read), although it kind of does overlap with List of feeding behaviours. Kingdon (talk) 21:27, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

John Hooper (marine biologist)

Project members may wish to comment here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/John Hooper (marine biologist).4meter4 (talk) 10:34, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Evolution of lactation

I have started a section on this at lactation#Evolution and later noticed that there is also a section at Evolution of mammals#Milk_production_(lactation). Not too bad as lactation predates mammals and several functionally rather similar mechanisms have developed as examples of parallel evolution in birds and fish. The early mammalian (post dinosaur) evolution of lactation is still lacking any content and it is my impression that the Evolution of mammals#Milk_production_(lactation) section focuses too narrowly on a partial aspect of the hypothesis by Oftendal.

In summary, I would be happy about contributions and opinions. Richiez (talk) 11:59, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

"Green tide" ?

Hi. There's a discussion on the french WP about fr:Marée verte, i.e. massive beachings of green algae. We're wondering if this "green tide" ("marée verte") is a term only employed in french publications (press, scientific articles...), or if it's employed in english too. Sincerely yours, VonTasha (talk) 11:57, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Red tide is used in the USA. Algal bloom is a more general term though but I noticed that article links to fr:Efflorescence algale. This uses green tide but only as an alternative to algal bloom, there are a reasonable number of uses of green tide in google scholar, but again, I think that algal bloom is a more widely used term. SmartSE (talk) 12:15, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, there's a difference between Algal bloom (seaweed or algae proliferation) and those "green tides" (green seaweed or algae beaching, rottening... and stinking... ;)). But if the term was really employed, you'll know it (and there would be an article on, surely !) Thanks for your answer. VonTasha (talk) 22:28, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#Journal of Cosmology

Feedback/Help is welcome. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 23:47, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Citation templates now support more identifiers

Recent changes were made to citations templates (such as {{citation}}, {{cite journal}}, {{cite web}}...). In addition to what was previously supported (bibcode, doi, jstor, isbn, ...), templates now support arXiv, ASIN, JFM, LCCN, MR, OL, OSTI, RFC, SSRN and Zbl. Before, you needed to place |id={{arxiv|0123.4567}} (or worse |url=, now you can simply use |arxiv=0123.4567, likewise for |id={{JSTOR|0123456789}} and |url=|jstor=0123456789.

The full list of supported identifiers is given here (with dummy values):

  • {{cite journal |author=John Smith |year=2000 |title=How to Put Things into Other Things |journal=Journal of Foobar |volume=1 |issue=2 |pages=3–4 |arxiv=0123456789 |asin=0123456789 |bibcode=0123456789 |doi=0123456789 |jfm=0123456789 |jstor=0123456789 |lccn=0123456789 |isbn=0123456789 |issn=0123456789 |mr=0123456789 |oclc=0123456789 |ol=0123456789 |osti=0123456789 |rfc=0123456789 |pmc=0123456789 |pmid=0123456789 |ssrn=0123456789 |zbl=0123456789 |id={{para|id|____}} }}

Obviously not all citations needs all parameters, but this streamlines the most popular ones and gives both better metadata and better appearances when printed. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 02:32, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Rotary Cell Culture System

Hi, I made an article called Rotary Cell Culture System because there was PD text (from a NASA article) and pictures available. I searched around and it seemed notable. I don't have a firm grasp on what the thing is though, so if anyone wants to better the article, feel free. Thanks! ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 13:09, 14 March 2011 (UTC)


Some feedback would be appreciated here. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 08:08, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Junk or valuable articles?

Could someone from the project take a look at User:Afshankhan1/Cell Encapsulation and User:Afshankhan1/Cell Microencapsulation? On the face of it, they're detailed, well-referenced articles that should be moved to the article space. But since I know nothing about the subject, it might also be the case that they're both complete nonsense. Pichpich (talk) 23:29, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Not my field either, but I didn't see any nonsense on a quick browse, and a brief look through the top google results seemed to give much the same picture as the article. So unless someone else sees something wrong, I'd say keep it and move to main space. Kingdon (talk) 01:02, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
These both seem very well done. I've sent email to the article creator to see if he minds if they are moved to main space. They are unlikely to be copyright violations since the references are so beautifully formatted. That must have taken a bunch of time. The creator, Afshankhan1, has not edited Wikipedia since December 2010. EdJohnston (talk) 03:35, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Doubly-labelled water

Doubly-labeled water is up for renaming. At issue is whether there should be a hyphen or not. (talk) 05:21, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Student project that could really use some help

Hello, I think the article Nitrogen Flow through Metabolism is a student project, but it seems like the article isn't a very well defined topic and could really use some additional input on how it should be named/advice on if it should be moved somewhere. If anyone could provide help that would be great! I am not sufficiently steeped in this kind of biology to make a good call, Sadads (talk) 13:02, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Diagram Requests?

Hi all! I'm one of the wikigraphists - editors who draw pretty pictures for wikipedia. We're arranging a weekend "Art Sprint" in June, and biology seems one of those areas that can offer tasks of different variety and difficulties. I'm wondering if anyone here is interested in helping compile a list of "diagrams required" (and perhaps some sketches/sources to show what is necessary), and if anyone would be available in IRC during the sprint to give advice when we just ain't sure what is the right thing to draw? Jon C (talk) 20:28, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Please give your opinion about disamb pages in the style of Tristis

User:SP-KP has created a novel type of disamb page, with a prototype article at Tristis.

Please comment on that article's Talk page - is this sort of disamb useful or not?

-- (talk) 04:31, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

Origin of life

There was a comment here which resulted in my removal, and the follow up revert [2]. Need a third opinion. Thanks. Materialscientist (talk) 04:52, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Can you help the newcomers with some easy tasks?


I am working with the Account Creation Improvement Project (my latest report is here). Now I need your help to find some easy things for newcomers to do.

To guide the new users into working on the articles, we have created a step-by-step process that starts right after the new user has provided a username and a password. Here is the first step. If you click on "biology", for instance, you go to a page where you are asked to state your skills. And based on your choice there, you go to a page that combines these two choices. Here is what it looks like if you choose copyediting.

Right now, that list of articles that needs copyediting in the field of biology, has been created manually by a rather small set of users. That is not a scalable solution. Especially considering that these articles could very well be edited by the time we have created all the lists.

That's why my question to you in WikiProject biology is if you could create four templates for each of the four skillsets: Copyediting, Research & Writing, Fact checking, and Organizing - and keep them updated? We could then transclude those templates in the account creation process.

This is probably one of the most efficient things you can do in this project. Yes, really! There are roughly 5-7000 new users - each day. Around 30% of them start to edit. So if only a sixth of them sees the biology templates, that's around 250 potential new editors in your field - each day. Possibly more. And they want and need something easy to do. Some of them will continue to edit if they think that the tasks are fun and they are welcomed into the project.

So, what do you say about those templates?

I will gladly answer any questions you may have about this question or the project. Best wishes//Hannibal (talk) 16:29, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Do you have a skeleton to use as a basis for each of those templates, or an example to point to from another project? I think we need some clue to how you want the templates to look. Looie496 (talk) 16:42, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your very quick response. I have no definitive idea, but keep it simple: a bulletpoint list is fine, like the one with copyediting.//Hannibal (talk) 16:50, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Stanleya (genus)

The usage of Stanleya is up for discussion at talk:Stanleya (plant). (talk) 04:17, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Consensus how scientific names are displayed in the lead of species articles listed under common names

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Okay, there is a pretty clear consensus for choice 2 - namely common name bold, followed by scientific name in italics and not bold in parentheses, mainly due to aesthetic reasons. This particular question only applies to this case where an article begins with common name (scientific name) at the beginning of an article. Several editors supported the idea this not be a hard and fast rule, but it is unclear whether others opposed it as such as no opposing comments were made. Best then to treat this as a consensus position and style guideline. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:39, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Right then, I'll lay the options out - this applies to all bird articles, and many mammal, reptile, amphibian and fish articles. Plants and fungi are listed at their scientific names so this particular discussion does not apply to them. If you are happy with more than one option, then it'd be helpful for "first choice, second choice..." etc. Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:06, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Common name bold (scientific name in parentheses and bold)

The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a passerine bird....


  1. 1st choice BarkingMoon (talk) 01:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  2. 2nd choice, perfectly acceptable but not the clearest. Thryduulf (talk) 02:45, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  3. 1st choice, Dger (talk) 03:24, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  4. 2nd choice, perfectly acceptable to me. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:13, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  5. All significant aliases for the topic of an article should be bolded upon first mention. --Cybercobra (talk) 00:38, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
  6. Exactly what Cybercobra said. I don't care whether parentheses or commas are used. Rkitko (talk) 20:35, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
  7. 1st choice, bolding shows synonmity, italics that it is faux Latin, and parenthesis that is is an alternative on a different level than other common names - The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) or garage sparrow, as it is sometimes known, is a passerine bird.... Rich Farmbrough, 19:51, 5 June 2011 (UTC).
    • Would change this if we dumped the whole bolding synonyms thing - which was recently discussed I believe. Rich Farmbrough, 19:53, 5 June 2011 (UTC).
  8. 1st choice, there are cases where the scientific name is lost in lead sentence due some necessary explanation of the common name. --Reo + 10:56, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
  9. 1st choice; it seems that this is the clearest to me, and it has the advantage of bolding what is (in many cases) likely to be a major search term for the page. Anaxial (talk) 13:04, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
  10. Obviously. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 21:01, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


  1. Overemphasis of scientific name. Maias (talk) 01:28, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
    Please see my comment below. Samsara (FA  FP) 18:35, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
  2. Too much bold text; I do not like this. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 03:59, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  3. already have italics for emphasis Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:50, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  4. Minimise bolding ought to be the overriding principle. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 12:19, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


I wouldn't see the bold italics as necessary option for scientific name if it would be like in the example above, but I see it the best option when the scientific name does not immediately follow the common name. Some argue that it would be overemphasis.. really? Is the common name really allways so much common? Scientific names are used worldwide and they are first think I will look upon, not the common name - My opinion. Reo + 11:05, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Common name bold (scientific name in parentheses and not bold)

The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a passerine bird....


  1. Looks best to me. Looie496 (talk) 01:13, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  2. 2nd choice BarkingMoon (talk) 01:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  3. Italics, like the Greek and Cyrillic characters mentioned in WP:UE are already distinctive. Best choice, no need to bold. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:21, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  4. Slick. TCO (talk) 01:23, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  5. Best option. V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:24, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  6. Yes. Maias (talk) 01:26, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  7. Agree Jebus989 01:49, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  8. Yep. MeegsC | Talk 02:01, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  9. 1st choice, this is the clearest. Thryduulf (talk) 02:45, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  10. 2nd choice, Dger (talk) 03:25, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  11. 1st choice. This is the clearest. Too much bold makes bold less bold. JIMp talk·cont 04:23, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  12. Best match of existing guideline? see WP:BOLDTITLE#Format_of_the_first_sentence the Foreign language section. This vote does not apply to the case of the name, this vote is only for bold/italic ... not for case. Suggest the policy should be clarified to include a section on animals and plants also. --Stefan talk 05:22, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  13. I'm a recent convert to parentheses, Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:48, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  14. My first and only choice, however, this support accorded only for those two groups of higher vertebrates, Classes Aves and Mammalia, that do have Common Names. All other groups of organisms may, or may not have Common Names, and if they do not, then a case can be made for bolding the non- italicized scientific binomina. Steve Pryor (talk) 06:34, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  15. This is the best way when there is a well-established common name, as is true for many vertebrates and some other organisms (though probably not even for a majority of mammals). Placing the scientific name within parentheses is standard, and not bolding it makes sense for the reasons Pmanderson gives above. We'll have to do something different for the many organisms that don't have real common names, but that do have names suggested in a book or two, like most of the small mammals I work on. Ucucha 07:28, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  16. Please let's ration the bold in running text—it sticks out much more than italics, and bolded italics is just so distracting. This is the most reader-friendly version and conveys all of the necessary information. Tony (talk) 09:37, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  17. Agree. This emphasises the fact that House Sparrow is the most significant, most well-known name, and that Passer domesticus is a really a subsidiary name when we're dealing with a species this well-known. SP-KP (talk) 10:06, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  18. Minimise bolding ought to be the overriding principle. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 12:20, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  19. Too much emboldening can look untidy. Snowman (talk) 17:13, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  20. First choice. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:12, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  21. I think this is the most aesthetically pleasing option. -- Yzx (talk) 20:42, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  22. Best option ONLY when the scientific name immediately follows the common name (was that stated explicitly?) I also want to say there can be no possibility of overstating the importance of the scientific name. While scientific names can occasionally change, they are hardly ever ambiguous. The same cannot be said of common names - the same common name can apply to two or more different species depending on the locality of occurrence or publication. Samsara (FA  FP) 18:33, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
  23. Support. Bob the WikipediaN (talkcontribs) 02:57, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
  24. Agree with Yzx and Samsara. mgiganteus1 (talk) 20:06, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
  25. the best for most cases, though not sure we need a standard. Commas are too much with alt common names; there's no reason not to use parentheses; and bold is unneccessarz and in where the scientific should not be the first name generallz undesirable. --—innotata 17:39, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
  26. Best. Common names are more significant in WP than scientific names; boldface should be rationed. --Noleander (talk) 13:50, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
  27. This is the usual professional way of doing it, and also the clearest and therefore most sensible. Contrary to a comment below, I think the parenthesis should be italized--it looks better typographically. It's obvious they're not part of the actual name. DGG ( talk ) 23:20, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
  28. Per above, no need to repeat. ZooPro 12:22, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
  29. Preferred way. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 16:27, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
  30. Support. Ka Faraq Gatri (talk) 17:40, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
  31. Support, it's what I would expect to see and it's what I indeed in see in the vast majority of articles. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 23:55, 10 July 2011 (UTC)



  • Comment: The brackets themselves should not be italicised as they are not part of the scientific name. Maias (talk) 01:34, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Re: Special characters. While the italics are distinctive, there are often instances of multiple taxonomic names being mentioned in the lead, and if its not a genus or below article the name will not be italicized at all. Redirected names should be bolded, and the link to the article titles guidelines are not relevent for the lead sentence. Vernacular names are not translations of the taxonomic names in many cases.--Kevmin § 01:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with Maias. The parentheses themselves should not be italicized.Steve Pryor (talk) 06:36, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • As far as I know, general practice in typesetting is that when the parentheses enclose something that is entirely in italics, then the parentheses themselves are italicised because it looks better. Hans Adler 12:13, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I think we have consensus on that as I've always had mine reverted if I accidentally italicised my brackets...Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:15, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Agree with Samsara. All the examples have one flaw - the scientific names immediately follow a single common name, so that bolding both would run the risk of confusing the two. Such cases (one common name) are the exception rather than the rule.-- ObsidinSoul 20:45, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Common name bold (scientific name in commas and bold)

The House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, is a passerine bird....


  1. This seems the most reasonable in most cases --Kevmin § 01:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


  1. BarkingMoon (talk) 01:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  2. Overemphasis of scientific name. Maias (talk) 01:29, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  3. This is the least clear, particularly it's difficult to see at a glance where the common name ends and the scientific name begins. Thryduulf (talk) 02:45, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  4. Can be a problem if a common name is derived from a foreign or native language. Dger (talk) 03:27, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  5. Too much bold. I don't like it. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 04:00, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  6. Too much bold, especially if common name synonyms too (talk) 05:47, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  7. Minimise bolding ought to be the overriding principle. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 12:20, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  8. Looks cluttered. Snowman (talk) 17:14, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  9. Negative Bob the WikipediaN (talkcontribs) 02:58, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
  10. doesn't look good with multiple common names or multiple scientific names or both(Western pond turtle))! Regards, SunCreator (talk) 16:24, 8 June 2011 (UTC)


  • What makes bolding a rediected name overemphasis out of curiosity? --Kevmin § 01:46, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Maybe 'overprominence' is a better term; the scientific already stands out through italicisation. Maias (talk) 03:08, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
    • We certainly don't bold every redirect; goodness! The bolding is just distracting and ugly. It's ok when it's just the main title, but beyond that it just looks funny. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 21:05, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
      • Too much bolding is not attractive, however in most cases the there will only be the taxonomic name and one to two vernacular names. As such I done see how this is too much. Overprominence seem to fall into this same category. The bolding happens once in the article so I'm not sure I understand how this is reason not to bold one of the major search terms that people would be reaching the page with.--Kevmin § 21:35, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
      • Not every redirect, but official aliases, yes. --Cybercobra (talk) 00:39, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Common name bold (scientific name in commas and not bold)

The House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, is a passerine bird....


  1. Acceptable, and may remind the reader that these are usually two names for one species. 2nd choice. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  2. 3rd choice, less clear but not unclear. Thryduulf (talk) 02:46, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


  1. BarkingMoon (talk) 01:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


Prefer not to enforce consensus on this

i.e. Let individual wikiprojects (or editors) discuss their own preferences.


  1. There will be special cases, particularly species which have no vernacular name, or several competing and ambiguous ones. Flexibility (with a recommendation of a normal solution) is best. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:23, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  2. The correct way to utilise and write scientific names so that they impart the greatest amount of information to all readers, is set by the ICZN. WP should be following this code. Faendalimas (talk) 02:00, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  3. While I do prefer bolding both the valid scientific name and the common name(s) and would welcome at least a guideline enforcing it (loosely), I often separate them in different sentences or different paragraphs not even in the lead altogether (as they can have one or more common names).-- ObsidinSoul 05:44, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  4. In the sense that I prefer to allow some flexibility page-by-page—but I have no objection to having a first-choice preference (essentially as a guideline as opposed to as policy). I also think Obsidian Soul's discussion point, below, about sometimes starting with the Latin name and then listing one or more common names later on, is entirely valid in some cases. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:18, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  5. We don't need any more rule creep. Sabine's Sunbird talk 22:18, 5 July 2011 (UTC)



  • If a species has no common name, then it will be listed at its scientific name anyway, and the article will start something like: Passer domesticus is a common passerine bird..." This is why I restricted the discussion to organisms whose articles are listed at their common names. Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:30, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
    • True enough. However, there will still be special cases on the margin between the species listed under Neo-Latin names and those for which there is a natural and obvious English name. I support guidance, and have chosen one; I also oppose making it a straitjacket. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:35, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • One of my issues with this is the grammatically correct way to write a scientific name. The Brackets about a Scientific name do actually have significance, as does their absence. When writing a name if the species was originally described in another genus then its new combination is bracketed. For example: Gulf Snapping Turtle (Elseya lavarackorum, White et al., 1994) is correct as the species was originally described as an Emydura. Conversly: White Throated Snapping Turtle Elseya albagula, Thomson et al., 2006 is correct as in this case the species was originally described as an Elseya. By the way the correct way to write a name in full does include the author and date. I will add that scientific names are not meant to in bold (this is reserved for some higher orders), the parentheses should not be italicized when present. This information is from the Zoological Nomenclature Code. Faendalimas (talk) 01:54, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
You probably mean brackets around the authority part, but that would mean nested brackets here. Shyamal (talk) 02:09, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
This is one reason why a taxobox is a Good Thing - I see this as the place for official full names - yes there are official names for peer-reviewed journals, but one doesn't often see authorities in guidebooks and textbooks for lay readers. Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree the taxobox is a great tool and where the full name should be written, not in the body of the text. The short form is without the authority written, as is present in many field guides etc. For identification of usage the brackets go around the whole name written in full. This is basically why I feel a set of rigid rules here is not a good idea, but that people should be encouraged to write these names correctly. Faendalimas (talk) 18:50, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, the parentheses should only be around the author plus date, not around the name itself (ICZN Art. 51.3). Ucucha 18:59, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • My view is that this should define a guideline that should be followed in most cases. It should not be rigidly enforced if there is a consensus there there is a reason for an article to do it differently (i.e. local consensus explicitly trumps central consensus). The reason why an alternative is better for a given article should be expressed somewhere logical though (on or linked from the talk page in most cases). Thryduulf (talk) 02:45, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I usually open with the scientific name (as the most stable and unambiguous name), then introduce the common name(s) later on. It would have been the following with me usually.-- ObsidinSoul 05:52, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  • "Passer domesticus, commonly known as the House Sparrow, is a passerine bird." or
  • "Passer domesticus is a passerine bird. It is commonly known as the House Sparrow or Another Common Name Here."
  • "Passer domesticus, commonly known as the House Sparrow, is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. It occurs naturally in most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia. It has also been intentionally or accidentally introduced to many parts of the world, making it the most widely distributed wild bird. It is strongly associated with human habitations, but it is not the only sparrow species found near houses. It is a small bird, with feathers mostly different shades of brown and grey. P. domesticus is also known as Common Name#1 in Country#1, Common Name#2 in Country#2, and Common Name#3 in Country#3, among other names."
etc. And yes, I reserve authorities for lists or the taxobox, not inline.-- ObsidinSoul 05:52, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Okay, well yeah I write in the above way (scientific name first in bold italics) for all plant, fungus and invertebrate articles. Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:54, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, I've never been in favour of the bolding of every "also known as" term at the top of the main text. To me, one bolding is enough. I'm not quite sure why any bolding is necessary, but I've been hounded down before when suggesting this. If there has to be bolding, I think it should be minimised unless there's some special circumstance. Generally, I do not think clutter at the very opening of articles is appropriate. Cyrillic equivalents of Russian names, Old Style dates ... I footnote these when I see them. We have the readers' full attention at the opening, and we need to retain it to have them read on. Clutter so often obstructs the trajectory. Tony (talk) 09:46, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I disagree, it tells the reader that he is in the correct place. Unlike dates or foreign spelling equivalents (which I also think is necessary), scientific names are (in a majority of cases) the only way to tell for sure that you are reading about the correct organism. Despite being mostly unreadable to laypeople, they are (mostly) fixed, unique, and gives a lot of information readily if you know what you are looking at. They must not be trivialized in relation to the common name. Common names, in contrast, are extremely arbitrary, can change with time, can be vague and misleading, and can be shared by several other species (in a lot of cases over entire families, and even with completely unrelated taxa like daddy longlegs). Some species/taxa also have several different common names, each of which is as widely used as the other. It opens the question of global bias if you favor one common name over another just so you can stick with one bolding in the lead.
If you only bold thylacine for example, a reader quickly scanning the lead will be unaware that it's the same species as the animal he is probably more familiar as Tasmanian tiger.
If you bold blue crab in Callinectes sapidus but do not bold the scientific name, readers won't easily be able to tell that it's not the same species as at least three other species in the same genus, two others in the genus Portunus, and the land crab Cardisoma guanhumi. All of which share the common name of 'blue crab'.
The example (House Sparrow) is one of the fortunate ones - it has a common name, it has only one common name, and it is readily recognizable. That is not the case with the rest. The lead, after all, does more than grab the reader's attention, it also identifies the subject. Wikipedia is not a journal, but it's also not an exercise in creative writing, imho.
I favor flexibility, but if there is only one thing that should be in bold, it should be the scientific name.-- ObsidinSoul 11:34, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Tony, one thing I do more these days is list only the most important common names (for entities which have several) and leave the rest to the body of the articles (to avoid a sea of bolded writing) as generally some names are in more widespread use than others - the whole bolding thing is pretty unique to wikipedia so this is an interesting exercise in formatting. Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:13, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Cas, a very good idea, providing smooth lift-off at the start. Tony (talk) 12:40, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Isn't that what everybody creating taxonomic articles is already doing anyway? Of course only the most widespread common names are mentioned and bolded in the lead. Less used names (notably non-English local names, except in indigenous or endemic species) are then mentioned in the body but not bolded (though it might be in italics if foreign). Still doesn't change the fact that there are cases when you will need to have more than one or two bolded names, whether or not it's aesthetically pleasing.
Bolding also does not quite violate ICZN/ICBN/etc. conventions as it's simply a way highlight the word once. As the most stable and clear name of the taxon it should be relied on more to identify the subject (much much more important than the common name) and Wikipedia's policy for that is to bold it in the lead. Do we not already bold taxa which do not have common names? Why should the SN be relegated to a 'minor' status simply because it has a common name? It is not trivial, and the italics is clearly not enough for readers to quickly pick it out from surrounding text.-- ObsidinSoul 12:02, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
This is getting a little more complicated than I thought, but highlights the reason I set it up this way in that it only applies to articles where the layout is written above (i.e I probably should have added Samsara's caveat at the beginning somehow but thought it was self-explanatory) Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:41, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
In that case, yes I would prefer the second type (bold common name, normal SN in parentheses), I guess, as the least confusing of the choices.-- ObsidinSoul 00:38, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Potential other titles must be Bold

I don't know about any of that, but as a heavy user, all I care about is this: When the user is redirected to a page, he must see in bold all reasonable "Also Known As" names so that he/she isn't baffled about why s/he is there. The most common AKAs are always in bold. When we could easily have named an article something else, For example, color is the title but colour is in bold. Human is the title but Homo sapiens is in bold. The rest of the stuff, I don't care. Chrisrus (talk) 15:09, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Closing debate

Okay then, option 1 = 9/4, option 2 = 31/0, option 3 = 1/10, option 4 = 2/1 - which looks like a consensus for option 2 (i.e. scientific name in brackets with no bolding). This has been open for five weeks now and I'd close it myself but maybe an uninvolved person is better? Does anyone feel strongly about this (i.e. who closes it)? Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:42, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Since it seems that you held back from the actual (!)voting in anticipation of possibly having to close it, I think it's fair enough that you do. With a result this clear-cut, there can hardly be a complaint. Perhaps someone that didn't favour option 2 (although I had a caveat about it) could also endorse. That would very much put it beyond reasonable doubt imo. Samsara (FA  FP) 17:24, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
As a person who wasn't involved at all (and don't feel personally affected by this, since I mostly edit plant articles) I would endorse Cas' proposed closure. Guettarda (talk) 18:20, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Neural network

The usage of neural network is under discussion. See the requested move at talk:biological neural network and the discussion at talk:neural network. (talk) 05:38, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Food web

Food web is currently being rewritten, and will hopefully go to FA. Any contributions from people in this project will be much appreciated. --Epipelagic (talk) 06:11, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Biology Good Articles

If anyone is interested there are a few articles that were started by students on various medicine or biology related topics as part of a project. They were submitted for Good Article status, but due to the backlog are only just being reviewed now. If anyone is interested in Neurolaw, Hyperkinesia (neurology), Satellite glial cell, KC (patient), or the Cushing reflex and would be willing to address reviewers concerns could they please make themselves known at Wikipedia talk:Good article nominations. Many of them appear well sourced and quite broad so hopefully only slight touches will be needed to pass the articles. Thanks AIRcorn (talk) 06:26, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

A question was raised at Gray-crowned Rosy Finch. Sadly, the author is missing, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:03, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Invitation to assist in adding donated content: GLAM/ARKive


I am the Wikipedia Outreach Ambassador to ARKive, who have kindly agreed to donate an initial 200 article texts about endangered species from their project, to Wikipedia, under a CC-BY-SA license. Details are on the GLAM/ARKive project page. Your help, to merge the donated texts into articles, would be appreciated. Guidelines for doing so are also on the above page. Once articles have been expanded using the donated texts, we are also seeking assistance in having those articles translated into other languages. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, on the project's talk page, or my own. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 13:34, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

CfD on parasitology

See Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2011_July_23#Category:Parasitism. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 19:33, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

RFC on identifiers

There is an RFC on the addition of identifier links to citations by bots. Please comment. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 15:53, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Not sure about this article

I am having a discussion with the author of Dominant group (evolutionary biology). I'm not really an expert so I don't know if this is really a notable topic in biology. I don't want to nominate the article for deletion if it is. BigJim707 (talk) 02:33, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

This is now the subject of an AN/I thread. There are a very large number of other articles that need vetting. Quite a few deal with biology or biochemistry. Another editor has created a full list of articles here, to aid vetting/cleanup. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 02:29, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Help needed with Tinbergen's four questions

Hi. I've been editing on Evolutionary psychology, which has been a controversial article but also needs some basic clean up. There is a table, sourced to an unpublished paper by Randolph Nesse, referring to Tinbergen's four questions. It doesn't seem to make much sense and I can't tell whether this is textbook evolutionary biology or rather new research relating only to evolutionary psychology. The Tinbergen questions article carries a virtually identical table, as well as a diagram directly from Tinbergen, but the relationship between the two isn't clearly explained. I would be very grateful if someone could look at the Tinbergen's four questions article, to help to make the sourcing clear, and the argument clear, and double-check that there is no original research in it. Once that is clarified, the evolutionary psychology page will have something solid to refer to. Thanks very much. Itsmejudith (talk) 12:34, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Nesse is undoubtedly a reputable source. An explanation of the table (though not the table itself) can be found in this section that he wrote for the Oxford Handbook of Affective Science. Looie496 (talk) 15:14, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

HY box

Could someone vet the article HY box for accuracy? It has been created by a user which seems to have created a large number of articles by incoherently copying and pasting sentences from journal papers. Cheers, —Ruud 11:24, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Note: this article was created almost entirely by copying from other wikipedia articles without attribution and copying sentences from article abstracts. I have attempted to remove the offending material but the article essentially needs recreating with original text Jebus989 12:38, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Capitalization of common names of animal species

Stale: The discussion this was advertising has been archived.

Journal of Cosmology sockpuppet cleanup

Seems we just caught the whole bunch of the disruptive editors in Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/BookWorm44. I'm going to comb their edits over the next few days, but there were a lot of socks and a lot of edits, so help would be appreciated. This mostly affects Astrobiology, Big Bang, Quantum-Consciousness, Evolution and related topics, as well as a handful of history and religion topics. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 06:22, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

List of important publications in biology

Did anyone here notice that List of important publications in biology just got deleted? Does anyone care?  --Lambiam 21:01, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Such an article seems pretty problematic. How is "important" defined? Or is it just supposed to be a list of pretty much all publications, in which case how does it differ from various non-wikipedia library catalogs and the like? I guess I'm saying I'm fine with the deletion. Kingdon (talk) 01:40, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
There were guidelines for inclusion, the same as those for similar lists. "important" should be defined as the publication being notable. A lot of confusion has arisen because the word "important" was added to all such lists after an earlier AfD discussion on this list. There are certainly problems, but some of us have been trying on other similar lists to remove the problems. Just before it was deleted, I removed all entries that were not to publications that had their own article on wikipedia, but even that did not satisfy people. --Bduke (Discussion) 02:34, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm always amazed when I look at _other_ WikiProjects' talk pages (i.e. besides Mathematics) and see how sleepy they are. Many hours or even days go by without a posting! No wonder people can come here who don't know how to spell "biology" and delete important articles without waking anyone up. Michael Hardy (talk) 19:25, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

The stated grounds for deletion was that there is no published authoritative list of important publications in biology, thus indicating that the list is notable. But in fact here is one. The person who proposed deletion, User:Curb Chain, admitted that his search for such sources consisted only of entering the phrase "important publications in biology" into Google. Apparently what is needed is that one or more such works be cited, and also for each listed item separately, so authoritative source be cited, attesting to its notability. As far as I know "Curb Chain" come here to this WikiProject to ask people to come up with such things to improve the article so that the grounds for deletion would not apply.
In view of these facts, what would people think of a formal deletion review? Michael Hardy (talk) 22:42, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Let us wait until all the publication list AfDs are closed. --Bduke (Discussion) 03:11, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Pageview stats

After a recent request, I added WikiProject Biology to the list of projects to compile monthly pageview stats for. The data is the same used by but the program is different, and includes the aggregate views from all redirects to each page. The stats are at Wikipedia:WikiProject Biology/Popular pages.

The page will be updated monthly with new data. The edits aren't marked as bot edits, so they will show up in watchlists. You can view more results, request a new project be added to the list, or request a configuration change for this project using the toolserver tool. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know. Thanks! Mr.Z-man 21:50, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

copy-paste problem of article Phyllanthus acidus


the article Phyllanthus acidus is more or less copy-pasted from here. I am not sure how you handle such a case in the Englisch WP, therefore I am using this page to inform you. Regards --IKAl (talk) 20:18, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I have looked at it briefly and also referred the case to a very experienced member of the copywrite team. Will get back to you. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 20:35, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you :) --IKAl (talk) 20:53, 29 October 2011 (UTC)


This article needs the attention of an expert or someone knowledgable in plant biology as it contains many fringe claims, cheers. IRWolfie- (talk) 13:54, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

So does this article: Plant_perception_(physiology)#Sound. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:53, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Neurotransmitter receptor

Please see Talk:Neurotransmitter receptor#Please Help: Have Information, Intimidated by table formatting. Thanks,  Chzz  ►  04:49, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Adam and Eve

There is a section at Adam and Eve that relates to science, belief and interpretation. There is a disagreement with how to term the science, whether it should be classified as something specific to humans or more general as in mitochondrial or population genetics. Discussion here: Talk:Adam_and_Eve#No_really.2C_it_is_genetics. I am requesting for someone to comment or maybe provide even a better scientific source for the statement the article makes. Thanks. Jesanj (talk) 20:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Physical description vs Description - Geographical range vs Range/Distribution

I have opened up discussion at Talk:Black_mamba#Article_headings about whether the above two adjectives (i.e. "Physical" and "Geographical" are useful in headings at the Black mamba article as I and another editor have a difference of opinion on the matter. It does raise the question over whether this should be a more general discussion to plant animal (and fungus) articles in general, but I have not encountered anyone else before who thinks they are a good idea. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:54, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

I have commented at Talk:Black_mamba#Article_headings. I wonder though if the discussion would serve better here. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 03:20, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Bibliography of biology

List of important publications in biology was redirected without discussion to the above article.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Curb Chain (talkcontribs)

This was followed by a proper move discussion at Talk:Bibliography of biology#Requested move asking for it to be moved back to List of important publications in biology. That was closed with no consensus to move it back. --Bduke (Discussion) 03:59, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

The two more serious issues are:

  1. that this list/bibliography was moved as part of a general discussion to move all such lists of science publications to bibliographies with this one being a trial. Discussion on the others is ongoing at Wikipedia:WikiProject Bibliographies and Wikipedia:WikiProject Science pearls, with the older latter project now a task force of the newer former project. These projects need your support.
  2. that this list/bibliography has been very inactive until it was proposed for deletion. It needs more attention from editors in this Project. --Bduke (Discussion) 03:59, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Featured portal nominated for deletion

A Featured Portal related to this WikiProject, Portal:Biological warfare, has been nominated for deletion. Please see the discussion, at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Biological warfare. Thank you for your time, — Cirt (talk) 04:12, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Update: The discussion was closed as "Speedy Keep". — Cirt (talk) 05:06, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Basic concepts of/introduction to ...

There is an AfD on Basic concepts of quantum mechanics that raises some important questions for many technical articles:

  1. Should there be separate articles for explanations at different knowledge levels?
  2. If so, how many levels, and how can readers be guided to the level that is appropriate for them? RockMagnetist (talk) 00:33, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Straw poll on fate of Evolutionary Biology article

Hi, this is to notify you that I have started a more indept discussion about whether the Evolutionary Biology article should be restored and in what form exactly. Please see Talk:Evolutionary_biology#Restoration_of_Evolutionary_biology for the discussion. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 03:46, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Animal mating footage debate

FYI: This is a pointer to a relevant discussion on another talk page.

The alleged issue of whether is can be encyclopedic to include a video (or even a still image) of animal mating behavior has been raised at Talk:Cat#Mating behavior video vs. still photo. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 18:37, 18 December 2011 (UTC)