Nomenclature working group

Sybren de Hoog

Given the current instability of fungal nomenclature, the proposed ISHAM/ECMM/FDLC Working Group aims to reach a global consensus for naming clinically relevant fungi. A rationale for mitigating nomenclatural dynamics, supported by a large number of authors and organizations, has been written in a manuscript submitted to the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, attached herewith. We think that the most workable solution for the future, when concrete decisions have to be made, will be through a committee of members with very different backgrounds who will judge name changes in consultation with taxonomic specialists. Every case will be preceded by a dedicated study with a systematic review and/or novel data. Names should be based on scientific knowledge, which includes all possible parameters including and beyond phylogeny. Particularly significant is the clinical context and ecological lifestyle of the fungus and how this has developed in the course of evolution. This is also the area of interest of the clinical user. Therefore it seems to us that interests of taxonomists and users are parallel, not conflicting. We believe that decisions can be made by consensus. With sufficient and convincing scientific data, everyone is likely to agree. If no consensus, then the change is apparently not convincing, and thus there is no reason to change. Conclusions should be made public in view of transparency, which hopefully will promote wide and rapid acceptance.

With ISHAM support, the Atlas team is working on a nomenclatural database, which should make it easy to find a globally recommended name for each clinically relevant fungus. The database is active for the currently accepted species and their synonyms, and is very easy to use. The final database should grow to contain the approximately 6000 current and obsolete names that have been used during more than 150 years of medical mycology. The database is regularly updated and is open access. The database is linked to and synchronized with the Atlas of Clinical Fungi, where information on each fungus can be found; associated data can very easily be consulted with a subscription to the Atlas.

Membership of the committee is free and without restriction. If anyone wishes to join, a mail to the organizers is sufficient.

We hope to work our way slowly through this tedious but important subject. We Thank you for your contributions and support.

With best regards,

Sybren de Hoog, Thomas J. Walsh, Sean X. Zhang

< back