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Many users of classifications would prefer a stable, unchanging system. Yet classifications are syntheses of biological knowledge, particularly contemporary phylogenetic understanding of taxa, that must be regularly updated in accord with new scientific discoveries. Taxonomy must therefore navigate between the dual perils of ignoring important advances and making premature or unnecessary changes. We seek stability in nomenclature at the species level but at higher levels the concepts and compositions of major taxa, and therefore the scope of well-known names, must inevitably shift as new organisms are discovered and evolutionary affinities are better understood. The fact that we have been able to agree on a practical unified classification shows that taxonomists can broadly agree, despite the diverse experiences, viewpoints, and to some extent, differing philosophies of classification represented on our panel. The present classification (as, indeed, all classifications) should be regarded as interim, and it will inevitably change in certain respects, some hinted at above. However, we suspect that the recent torrent of radical re-evaluations (resulting especially from the application of DNA sequencing and other new techniques) may lessen as time passes. We hope that this unusually comprehensive classification will be widely useful and provide a sound basis for further improvement. A complete proposed classification from superkingdom to order is provided in Table 2 and is available for download at . Below the rank of infrakingdom, we have followed the convention used in the Catalogue of Life and listed taxon names alphabetically. This allows easier searching by those not familiar with the phylogenies of the many taxa therein and provides for easier import and manipulation of data by information systems.
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