The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) and the Catalogue of Life (CoL) intensify their collaboration

Added on 2013-10-18 11:14:06 by Fockedey, Nancy
The Catalogue of Life (CoL) has the ambitious objective to list all species that occur worldwide, on land and at sea. There was already a contribution to this initiative from the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), but recently Leen Vandepitte and Wim Decock– both working in the VLIZ data centre for the WoRMS data management team – became member of the ' CoL Global Team ' and the ' CoL Editorial Board’, repsectively. This enables them to actively participate in the scientific basis and products of this grand biodiversity initiative.
The data system Catalogue of Life (CoL was created in 2001 by Species2000 and ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). The ambitious goal of CoL is to list every distinct species in each group of organisms living on earth, on land as well as in the oecan. At present, some groups are globally complete, some are represented by global sectors that are nearing completion, and others are represented by regional sectors.

The current edition of CoL (October 2013) collates data from 139 taxonomic global and regional databases (for an overview: For the global sectors the taxonomic data is derived from selected, peer reviewed Global Species Databases (GSDs).

The VLIZ data centre started in 1999 with the development and coordination of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), a globally covering data system uniting the taxonomic information on all marine species. This data system integrates 68 GSDs. The content of each GSD is being checked and validated by the WoRMS editorial board, a team of 250 international taxonomic experts. Currently WoRMS is providing 40 GSDs to CoL. This is done by the WoRMS data management team at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) through monthly automated exports.

To improve the collaboration between CoL and WoRMS, two members of the WoRMS data management team were invited to become a member of the ‘CoL Global Team’ (Leen Vandepitte, VLIZ) and ‘CoL Editorial Board’ (Wim Decock, VLIZ).

The ‘CoL Global Team’ is an international group of taxonomic experts who advise and decide upon the scientific policy for the Catalogue of Life. This team is made up of GSD custodians, and representatives of ITIS and Species2000.

The ‘CoL Editorial Board’ is responsible for the overall taxonomic content of CoL, and the assembly and publication of the CoL Annual Checklist.

The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) is convinced that this close cooperation with CoL certainly will contribute to the construction of the LifeWatch taxonomic backbone (

More information: Leen Vandepitte and Wim Decock (VLIZ).

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