13 October 2009


ScoopThe most recent paper concerning Marmorkrebs says:

While this manuscript was being prepared, Jones et al. (2008) (sic) published an account of a molecular study identifying crayfish specimens collected in Madagascar as Marmorkrebs.

Kawai and colleagues are pleasant about it in the paper, but the bottom line is that they got scooped. While they were themselves scooped, they unwittingly also scooped another author, namely me.

I’d been doing some preliminary work on a morphological description of Marmorkrebs, for the same reason presented in the new paper: to aid identification. While I wasn’t terribly far along in the process, I did have data recorded. It was more than just an idle, “Oh, I’ll do it some day.”

Crustacean biology has both the blessing and curse of usually being a slow-moving field. Progress is measured in years and decades rather than months. This means that scoops are rarely an issue. The Marmorkrebs story is one that has moved unusually fast, and those of us working with this organism probably need to take account of that.

I’ve also conducted and published research on ascidians, and I was impressed me by how that research community seemed organized and generally cohesive. At their meeting, they would arrange informal “working groups” to cooperatively plot out some of the research plans so that the projects in different labs were complementing rather than competing. The ascidian community realized there are benefits to community and communication.

There is more than enough research on Marmorkrebs to do that there should be some way to ensure that we don’t waste time duplicating our efforts.

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