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The Canadian Register of Marine Species

In spring 2009, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ National Science Data Management Committee (DFO-NSDMC) created a national activity with the mandate to promote the use of taxonomic standards within the Science Branch of DFO and to develop and implement best-practice procedures for the quality control of biological names used by DFO.

The Canadian Register of Aquatic Biodiversity was developed as part of this project. The objective of this project is to compile and manage an authoritative list of species occurring in geographical areas of interest to Canadian scientists and to establish a standard reference for aquatic (marine, estuarine and freshwater) biodiversity research, conservation and sustainable management.

The Canadian Register of Marine Species (CaRMS) is the marine component of the master register. The taxonomic scope of CaRMS will be to cover species from the three realms of the ocean: the seafloor (meio-, macro- and megazoobenthos; micro- and macrophytobenthos), the water column (phytoplankton, zooplankton, nekton) and the sea-ice.

Content from CaRMS is shared with the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). The objective of WoRMS is to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms, including information on synonymy.

Both CaRMS and WoRMS contain linkages to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

CRAB/CaRMS are registers of species containing authoritative distribution records for areas of interest to Canadian researchers. CRAB/CaRMS are not restricted to containing only species from Canadian regions, as areas of interest may fall outside of Canadian waters.

CaRMS will contain detailed distribution records for taxa found in three oceans: the Atlantic, the Arctic and the Pacific. CaRMS grew from local registers of marine species, such as the Northwest Atlantic Register of Marine Species (NWARMS) and the Gulf of Maine Register of Marine Species (GoMRMS), compiled by the Atlantic Reference Centre of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, New Brunswick. In 2010, a project to compile authoritative species distribution notes from Lake Winnipeg, the NE Pacific and the Arctic region will provide content to be appended to CRAB/CaRMS.

The intent of CaRMS is not to duplicate WoRMS. Users are referred to the WoRMS site (http://www.marinespecies.org/) if they wish to search for taxonomic and/or global distribution information on specific taxa. CaRMS was also not designed to track changes in taxonomy. Each record in the register contains a standard code that enables linkage to master databases such as the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS TSN) and/or WoRMS (AphiaID). Issues related to synonymy, validity and taxonomic hierarchy will be dealt with by these organizations. The WoRMS web site is hosted by the Flanders Marine Institute, Belgium (VLIZ).

Nautichthys, author: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Moira Galbraith    Portuguese dogfish, author: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Shark Research Lab, Steven Campana    Cancer borealis megalopa, author: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, J.M. Spry    Gyrodinium, author: Hobson, Lou   

VLIZ has provided CaRMS data management support and services through their connection with WoRMS. VLIZ hosts the CaRMS website and provides the tools on the CaRMS web page that enable the user:

  • to create authoritative checklists of taxa for geographical areas of interest to Canadian research.
  • to extract enriched metadata such as standard/master codes (the WoRMS AphiaID, the ITIS TSN), obtain valid/accepted synonym names and associated taxonomic hierarchy.
  • to provide a list of authoritative literature associated with taxa distribution.
  • to display the statistics related to the taxonomic coverage of the register.
  • to access and contribute to a photo gallery for images of taxa included in our database collections.

The web page log-in feature is only accessible to CaRMS editors.

Editorial Board

The CRAB/CaRMS editorial board consists of taxonomic and data management experts. Distribution records for names listed in the database have been or are being checked and updated by local taxonomic experts. The CRAB/CaRMS editorial board does not directly have the authority to modify taxonomic information stored in WoRMS; however, the editors may collaborate with WoRMS taxonomic editors to effect changes.

CaRMS editors to perform the following tasks as part of their assigned work plans, under a funded contract or on a voluntary basis:

  • To assist with the review of existing unverified register records by the assignment of authoritative notes
  • To assist with the compilation of distribution notes for areas of interest to DFO scientists
  • To assist with the compilation of authoritative taxonomic notes for taxonomic names not included in the ITIS and/or the WoRMS databases
  • To assist with the compilation of authoritative taxonomic notes for unverified or incorrect records in ITIS and/or WoRMS databases
  • To assist with the compilation of authoritative notes associated with taxonomic records in ITIS and/or WoRMS (such as feeding types, morphology, invasive status)
  • To assist with the assignment of the terms fresh, brackish and marine to entries in CaRMS
  • To provide advice in the mapping of dataset species lists to the register and standard codes for names where an exact match with names in the register do not exist (perhaps missing authorship information or variations in spelling of the taxonomic name and/or authorship)
  • To provide advice on the mapping of non taxonomic terms to controlled vocabulary lists.

Notes must be associated with an authoritative source. The type of source may be one of the following: expert; database; internet or publication. Preference is to recognized published material. Full reference information for all sources used will be included in the literature/source table associated with the register of species.

Disclaimer

The CRAB/CaRMS editorial board maintains these registers but is aware that they may not be complete and may contain errors. The board cannot be held responsible for any errors or misuse of data contained in these registers. Comments from our users are more than welcome, so if you come across incorrect or incomplete information, or you are willing to contribute to this initiative, please contact KennedyM@mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Citation

Kennedy, M.K., L. Van Guelpen, G. Pohle, L. Bajona (Eds.). 2010. Canadian Register of Marine Species. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://www.marinespecies.org/carms/, version 1.0/2010.

Contact Information

Mary Kennedy
Mary.Kennedy@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Publications

Branton, R.; Bajona, L.; Bond, S.; Kennedy, M.; Ricard, D.; Van Guelpen, L., 2007. Methods for standardizing, validating and enriching taxonomic metadata. NAFO SCR document 07/08 8 pp. http://archive.nafo.int/open/sc/2007/scr07-008.pdf

DFO. 2009. Proceedings of the DFO Taxonomic Standards Workshop; 16-17 January 2008. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Proceed. Ser. 2009/021. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/CSAS/Csas/Publications/Pro-CR/2009/2009_021_e.htm

Kennedy, Mary and Lenore Bajona. 2009. A data manager’s guide to marine taxonomic code lists. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2827: iii + 23 pp. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/336700.pdf

Van Guelpen, L. and M.K. Kennedy. 2011. The history of Canadian registers of marine species 2001-2009. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2906: iv + 20 p. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/343523.pdf

Kennedy, M.K., Nozères, C., Miller, R., Vanhoorne, B. and Appeltans, W. 2011. The Canadian Register of Marine Species Photo Gallery: A User's Guide, Version 1. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2933: v + 47 pp. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/343616.pdf [IMIS]

Affiliations

Affiliations

Board of Editors

Data Management

  • Mary Kennedy, DFO, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, NS
  • Lenore Bajona, DFO, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, NS
  • Bart Vanhoorne, VLIZ, Flanders Marine Institute, Oostende, Belgium
  • Wim Decock, VLIZ, Flanders Marine Institute, Oostende, Belgium

NWARMS

  • Lou van Guelpen, Atlantic Reference Centre, The Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, NB
  • Gerhard Pohle, Atlantic Reference Centre, The Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, NB

CRAB/CaRMS

  • Lou van Guelpen, Atlantic Reference Centre, The Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, NB
  • Gerhard Pohle, Atlantic Reference Centre, The Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, NB
  • New and expanded list of taxonomic editors to be provided soon….
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