[Taxacom] What can Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) do for you?

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Mon Oct 21 05:49:23 CDT 2013

Hi Ken,

A quick Google NGrams check suggests Ziphiidae is winning, but I take your point: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Hyperoodontidae%2C+Ziphiidae&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CHyperoodontidae%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CZiphiidae%3B%2Cc0#t1%3B%2CHyperoodontidae%3B%2Cc1%3B.t1%3B%2CZiphiidae%3B%2Cc1

Part of the issue here is that GBIF has merged the Catalogue of Life (Hyperoodontidae) and IRMNG (Ziphiidae) lists, and seems to have no knowledge that the two names have been treated as synonyms. ITIS has this information (http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=770799 ), so it's a mystery why neither CoL or GBIF don't.

I've not done a detailed study, but preliminary messing about https://github.com/rdmpage/taxonomy-GBIF-manuscript suggests there are a lot of issues with the GBIF classification. Some of this is inevitable given the scale of what they are attempting, and the rather messy nature of many taxonomic lists.



On 21 Oct 2013, at 02:14, Ken Kinman wrote:

> Hi Rod,
>      I am most concerned about the higher classification, and there seem to be some problems in need of correction, especially at the level of family.  For instance, the whale families Hyperoodontidae and Ziphiidae are universally regarded as synonyms, but both are listed as valid family names by GBIF.  I am frankly rather irritated to learn that a proposal to conserve Ziphiidae over Hyperoodontidae was proposed but never submitted to the International Commission in a timely manner (not your fault).  Therefore, it may be necessary for GBIF to recognize Hyperoodontidae as the valid name, but you can't recognize Ziphiidae as valid as well.  Since Gray proposed both names and switched to Ziphiidae after proposing Hyperoodontidae, and Ziphiidae was in use for over 100 years, Hyperoodontidae would qualify as a forgotten name that was only relatively recently resurrected.  However, the failure to submit a timely proposal to the International Commission seems to now give Hyperoodontidae the edge.  In any case, you can't recognize them both as valid.
>        There are also a number of problems in families listed unter "incertae sedis".  For instance, Family Alismaceae is not incertae sedis at all.  It is simply an alternate spelling of Family Alismataceae (listed as a valid family name).  I suspect that a large number of families listed by GBIF under "incertae sedis" are not incertae sedis at all.  
>                    -------------------Ken Kinman
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > From: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
> > Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2013 20:47:15 +0100
> > To: Mary.Barkworth at usu.edu
> > CC: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] What can Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) do for you?
> > 
> > Hi Mary,
> > 
> > For reasons which surpass understanding, the search box you see on the GBIF home page, and on other pages to the right of the "About" menu is a search of the site's web pages, NOT the database itself. So, if you search for "Artemisia" you get nothing. You have to go tohttp://www.gbif.org/species to get the results you expect.
> > 
> > Thanks for the other comments, the theme of additional sources of data keeps coming up.
> > 
> > Regards
> > 
> > Rod
> > 

Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
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