Request for contact

fbisby F.A.Bisby at SOTON.AC.UK
Mon Nov 11 09:35:32 CST 1996

The Species 2000 programme is trying to locate all "global species databases". If you operate or know of a database
which is creating or maintaining  a quality, taxonomically reviewed species checklist of all the species in the world
belonging to a particular taxon, then do please consider contacting us. We already know of, or are in contact with
about 65 such databases, but are keen to hear of others.

The Species 2000 Federation will start operation during Oct/Nov 1996, and we are keen to approach as many
database organisations or custodians as possible concerning possible participation.

The Species 2000 Programme was established by IUBS, CODATA and IUMS with the central aim of indexing the
world's known species. It was subsequently endorsed by UNEP in its Biodiversity Work Programme 1996-1997, and
associated with the Clearing House Mechanism of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. At the Species 2000
Inaugural Workshop (ICLARM, Manila, Philippines, March 10-13th 1996), the programme was formally adopted by the
18 taxonomic database organisations present. Some of the groups being addressed by the organisations starting the
programme are as follows: Viruses, Bacteria, Corals, Molluscs, Crustacea, Diptera, Ichneumon Wasps, Moths &
Butterflies, Curculionid Beetles, Fishes, Birds, Mammals, Mosses, Fungi, Cacti, Palms, Legumes, Umbellifers and
Fossil Plants.

Species 2000 aims to provide a uniform and validated quality index of names of all known species of
plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms. This will be a neutral scientific baseline for use in a wide
variety of contexts in relation to world species diversity. The programme proposes to achieve this index by providing an
electronic Common Access System to address an array of taxonomic databases for each group of organisms. This
will in effect be a dynamic checklist against which a species name can be checked. A prototype Name Locator has
been successfully tested on the Internet and demonstrates the feasibility of addressing an array of databases in this
way. Species 2000 also proposes to produce an Annual Checklist, as a stable reference to be updated once a year,
and made available on CD-ROM and on the Internet.

Species 2000 will be operated by a Federation of database owners and custodians working closely with
users, taxonomists and sponsoring agencies. The programme will provide a service to individual, institutional and
national users. The service will particularly assist the process of: locating a given species and verifying its name,
status and classification; using this information to access other classes of species data (e.g. in biotechnology or
conservation); and rapidly providing baseline species databases (e.g. for use in inventory, and to provide comparability
between studies).

Current estimates are that about 1.75 million species of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms are "known" in the
sense that they have been described and named by taxonomists. One hundred or more global species databases,
each initially covering 10,000-25,000 species, will be needed for all species to be included. Less than 20% of the array
is currently in preparation. Species 2000 proposes to stimulate completion of the array of taxonomic databases by
seeking resources both for the completion of existing databases, and to help establish new  databases in order to
cover identified gaps.

During its current development phase, Species 2000 is keen to contact the custodians of global species
databases covering any group of organisms worldwide, and containing a validated taxonomic component. The Species
2000 secretariat can be reached at the address below.

Paul Smith

On behalf of Frank Bisby and the Species 2000 Project Management Team, Species 2000 Secretariat, School of
Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO16 7PX, UK.
tel:+44-1703-592444  fax:+44-1703-594434  email:Sp2000 at web:

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