To standardize species data and to integrate the distributed biodiversity data repositories and operating facilities, LifeWatch needs species information services. These services form the taxonomic backbone of LifeWatch, and include taxonomy access services, a taxonomic editing environment, species occurrence services and catalogue services.

The taxonomic backbone aims at containing the following taxonomic and species related data:

Content taxonomic backbone


The central taxonomic backbone is coordinated by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), who has an internationally recognized expertise in building taxonomic databases and related web services. Coordination of the taxonomic backbone is practiced at three main levels: 

Taxonomic backbone 2

The first level aims at setting up a central taxonomic backbone by integrating the existing databases (PESI, WoRMS, CoL, etc.) as contributing components and build access services bringing the data to the LifeWatch infrastructure.

The second level aims at completing and updating the taxonomic and species related data in the different component databases by supporting these communities with a central data management taskforce, which is providing technical, logistic and financial support for upgrading and expanding the component databases.

The third level aims to organize and mobilize the taxonomic experts that provide the data by supporting the taxonomy societies in which they participate (SMEBD, TDWG, PESI, EDIT and MARBEF+). LifeWatch will provide logistic and financial support for workshops and meetings with and between the societies. 


(PESI = Pan-European Species-directories Infrastructure; WoRMS = World Register of Marine Species; CoL = Catalogue of Life; SMEBD = Society for the Management of Electronic Biodiversity Data; TDWG = Taxonomic Database Working Group; EDIT = European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy; MARBEF+ = Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning) 

Related projects: