Karen Wilson Karen_Wilson at RBGSYD.GOV.AU
Sat Mar 25 12:25:36 CST 1995

Alan Kabat wrote:

>In the latest issue of SCIENCE (17 March 1995, pg. 1609) is an article
>containing a number of predictions for the future in science. One such
>is of direct relevance to taxonomy:

     >"By the year 2000 or so ... we will also have a complete database of
     >all living organisms, including not only taxonomic data, but also
     >morphological, ecological, biogeographical, and biological data. A
     >complete census of the living organisms in selected habitats will be

     Yes, this is a big dream but we have to start somewhere, sometime. I
     can't imagine that anyone realistically expects more than a first
     draft for any group of organisms by the year 2000 (are other people
     getting as bored with that year as I am?). We are trying to establish
     a Global Plant Checklist database for vascular plants in IOPI (the
     collaborative Organization for Plant Information amongst botanists
     from around the world).
     FYI, I am forwarding the following message from biodiv-l that sets out
     a major initiative that is currently seeking UN funding, which will
     assist projects such as the Global Plant Checklist.

     Karen Wilson
     Convener, IOPI Global Plant Checklist Committee


     IUBS/CODATA/IUMS Species 2000 Programme

     Dear Colleagues

     I wish to publicise a new IUBS/CODATA/IUMS Programme - "Species 2000
     Indexing the world's known species".
     Here is the project outline which has been agreed by the Species 2000
     Steering Committee.
     Best wishes

     Dr Simon Duffield
     Species 2000 Secretariat

     *** NB A UUENCODED fully formatted Wordperfect version is available on
     Species 2000
     Indexing the World's known Species

     International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS)
     in co-operation with
     ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology(CODATA)
     International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS)

     Species 2000: Indexing the World's known Species is a new programme
     launched by the International Union of Biological Sciences at its
     General Assembly in September 1994. It will operate in co-operation
     with CODATA and IUMS, as well as interacting with the existing
     DIVERSITAS and Bionomenclature programmes of IUBS.

     Species 2000 has the objective of enumerating all known species of
     plants, animals, fungi and microbes on Earth as the baseline dataset
     for studies of global biodiversity. The names of these species provide
     the crucial link both in the communication of biodiversity
     information, and in accessing the data of pure and applied biological
     disciplines. The objective is to facilitate the creation of global
     master species databases, by augmenting existing taxonomic databases
     and where appropriate establishing new systems.

     The output will be an important element in the information needed for
     the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity,
     providing support for the preparation of surveys and inventory of
     biodiversity, and a common medium for global communication about
     biotic resources, their utility and conservation.

     Implementation of Species 2000 will involve:

     1) forming a federation of existing taxonomic databases,

     2) establishing a user access framework and common gateway to member
     databases using electronic (eg. Internet) and non-electronic media,

     3) stimulating the establishment of global master species databases
     for all groups of organisms, by accelerating the completion of
     existing systems and developing new ones,

     4) working to an ultimate goal of providing a computer based index of
     all known species,

     5) developing procedures both to maintain the databases and to update
     the taxonomy,

     6) cooperating with international nomenclatural authorities in
     stabilizing nomenclature.
      The Species 2000 programme will thus provide a clearing house for
     taxonomic data on the world's known species.

     Global master species databases, as envisaged here, are those which:

     * cover a group of organisms worldwide,

     * include structured information for all known species in the group,
     in particular names and synonymies,

     * provide links to any species-relevant information such as; common
     names, descriptions, images, hosts or substrates, geographical or
     ecological distribution, threats, uses, chemical or molecular data,
     germplasm sources and identification aids,

     * subject records for each species to expert taxonomic scrutiny, with
     to the distinctness and appropriate position of the species within a
     consistent taxonomic hierarchy.
      Species 2000 seeks as members of the federation holders of taxonomic
     databases. Taxonomic databases contain data relevant to specified
     taxa, designated by scientific names and including synonyms; they need
     not be worldwide in coverage or primarily taxonomic in purpose.

     The Species 2000 Programme will develop rapidly during 1995. Funding
     proposals will be made, contacts established with prospective members
     and a discussion meeting will be held for both the users and holders
     of existing taxonomic databases.

     For further information contact :

     Species 2000 Secretariat,
     Biology Department, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO16 7PX,
     Tel: +44 1703 592444
     Fax: +44 1703 594269
     Email: sp2000 at

     Initial Steering Committee

     Frank Bisby (Chair)           ILDIS, University of Southampton, UK
     Chris Thompson (Vice-chair)   BIOTA, U.S.D.A. Systematic Entomology
     Lab, USA Peter Schalk  (Secretary)     ETI, University of Amsterdam,
     The Netherlands Simon Duffield (Project planning)  University of
     Southampton, UK
     Lois Blaine                   ATCC, American Type Culture Collection,
     USA Mike Boulter                  Fossil Record, University of East
     London, UK Werner Greuter                Liaison with IUBS
     Bionomenclature Programme David Hawksworth              President,
     Larry Speers                  Agriculture Canada, Canada
     Nigel Stork                   Liaison with IUBS DIVERSITAS Programme


     Dr Simon J. Duffield, Department of Biology, University of Southampton
     Tel : +44 1703 592444  Fax : +44 1703 594269    Email :
     sjd2 at

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