Taxonomy is the field of science responsible for giving names to all living organisms. These names are given based on the data available or discovered, and the foundational knowledge about related organisms. All fields of science are theory-laden with testable hypotheses made atop, and taxonomy is no exception. However, trends in descriptions of new species point towards an implicit citation of the underlying theories (species concepts) and hypotheses (proposed species) rather than explicit statements that are common for other fields of science. Therefore, to assess the status of pteridophyte taxonomy, we conducted a literature review of all new pteridophyte species described since 1989 to holistically observe changes in how researchers carry out taxonomic investigations. Of the 130 articles reviewed, we found only nine (6.9%) explicitly cited a species concept and only twelve (9.2%) made an explicit taxonomic hypothesis. The morphological species concept was the most common (130 articles; 100%), followed by the evolutionary species concept (34 articles; 26.2%), then lastly the biological species concept (11.5%) based on the data types presented in the articles. We hope our review contributes to the strengthening of taxonomy and future outlooks of the entire field by encouraging taxonomists to explicitly cite the species concept(s) being prescribed to as well as the taxonomic hypothesis asserted. We believe these changes could allow for a broader audience to comprehend the field as well as provide a clearer path for future researchers to add to the existing field of knowledge.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2021


Melanie Link-Pérez

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Academic Advisor, The University of Tampa (FL)

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences



KoenigFigure1.gif (43 kB)
Figure 1

KoenigFigure2.gif (46 kB)
Figure 2

KoenigFigure3.gif (80 kB)
Figure 3

KoenigFigure4.gif (150 kB)
Figure 4

KoenigFigure5.gif (60 kB)
Figure 5

KoenigFigure6.gif (45 kB)
Figure 6

KoenigFigure7.gif (55 kB)
Figure 7

KoenigFigure8.gif (51 kB)
Figure 8

KoenigFigure9.gif (13 kB)
Figure 9

KoenigFigure10.gif (56 kB)
Figure 10