Taxonomy vs Systematics
Taxonomy and systematics are very closely related disciplines in biology, yet there are interesting differences between each other. Because of the very close resemblance of these two, many of us would expect these to be with similar meanings. Therefore, it is necessary to study taxonomy and systematics closely in order to understand the actual difference between these two, because many of us including basic biologists may be in some confusion.
Taxonomy is the discipline of classifying organisms into taxa by arranging them in a highly ordered manner. It is important to notice that taxonomists do the naming of taxa with Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, and other taxonomic levels. Maintenance of collections of specimens is one of several responsibilities that a taxonomist would perform.
Taxonomy provides identification keys by studying the specimens. The distribution of a certain species is very important for the survival, and taxonomy is directly involved with studying that aspect, as well. One of the well-known functions that taxonomists do is the naming of organisms with a generic and specific name, which is sometimes followed up with a sub-species name.
Species are scientifically described in taxonomy, which includes both extant and extinct species. Since the environment is changing every moment, the species should adapt accordingly, and this phenomenon is taking place rapidly among insects; taxonomical aspects are very important to be updated for such groups of organisms, as the descriptions for a particular species have been changed in a minor interval. Accordingly, the naming would also be changed with the new description forming a new taxon. Taxonomy is a fascinating field in biology with the involvement of highly enthusiastic scientists who are devoted to the discipline and usually go through many hardships in the wild.
Systematics or biological systematics is the broad field of biology that studies the diversification of species. Systematics considers both present and past or in other words, both extant and extinct species in those studies. The evolutionary relationships of species are seriously studied in systematics.
Systematics governs the practices of taxonomy including naming, describing, identifying, and specimen preserving of species. In addition, this discipline studies the evolutionary history and environmental adaptations of species. The formation of evolutionary trees, aka phylogenetic trees or cladograms, is one of the main objectives of systematics. These evolutionary trees are formed after serious investigations of the history of a particular group of species and analyses of data are highly involved with it. Both anatomical and molecular characteristics are examined and relationships with the environmental conditions are considered. Systematics is vital for naming the prehistoric or extinct species, and that is to say that the main tool of a systematist is the taxonomy. One of the main applications of systematics is that it is an indication of the biodiversity of the Earth, which could be used to prepare the background in preserving endangered species.
What is the difference between Taxonomy and Systematics?
• Systematics is a more vast area than taxonomy. In fact, taxonomy is a branch of systematics.
• Taxonomy is important to name, describe, arrange, and identify a certain species, whereas systematics is important to provide layout for all those taxonomic functions.
• The evolutionary history of species is studied in systematics but not in taxonomy.
• The environmental conditions are directly related for the analyses of systematics, whereas those are indirectly related with taxonomy.
• Taxonomy is subjected to change with time, whereas systematics should not change if the studying has been correctly done.