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The LifeWatch taxonomic backbone is expanding

Added on 2014-04-09 14:07:54 by Dekeyzer, Stefanie
The Interim Register for Marine and Nonmarine Genera (IRMNG) will move from CSIRO to VLIZ and will become a new contributor to the LifeWatch taxonomic backbone.
As part of the Flemish contributions to LifeWatch, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) is setting up a central taxonomic backbone (TB) to facilitate the standardization of species data and the integration of the distributed biodiversity facilities. The TB includes species information services (taxonomy access services, a taxonomic editing environment, species occurrence services and catalogue services), and unites different component databases and data systems, both taxonomic, biogeographical, ecological and genomic. One of the next taxonomic databases to become a new component of the TB is the Interim Register for Marine and Nonmarine Genera (IRMNG).

Recently, the current database manager and curator of IRMNG – Tony Rees – started looking for a new host institute for his database. VLIZ has made an offer – including hosting, adding & distributing content and the development of new features for IRMNG – which has been accepted by Tony and the current host institute CSIRO in Australia.

The Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera is a provisional (or ‘interim’) compilation of genus names – including species names in many cases – and covers both living and extinct biota into a single system to support taxonomic and other queries dealing with e.g. homonyms, authorities, parent-child relationships, spelling variations and distinctions between marine and non-marine or fossil and recent taxa.

VLIZ will provide ongoing hosting of the IRMNG data content, using the same infrastructure that is currently provided to host the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) and with the technical support already in place. VLIZ will also support the ongoing web interfaces for the external users so they can easily query existing and future IRMNG content and continue the delivery of IRMNG data dumps for the benefit of significant-scale IRMNG users such as e.g. GBIF, EoL, ALA, OBIS and many more. In time – and as resources permit – VLIZ will develop additional services over both IRMNG and WoRMS to serve the users’ needs. Also content-wise, VLIZ will contribute to IRMNG by committing to help build an editor network – similar to the WoRMS editor network - who can help to keep the IRMNG information up-to-date and to help fill in the already identified gaps within the database.

The hosting of IRMNG at VLIZ has several advantages, including an even stronger link between WoRMS and IRMNG than the one currently existing. The information of both systems can be compared, helping to fill gaps in both and avoiding duplication of efforts. Technologies available and developed for the Aphia database will automatically also be available for IRMNG, including the online editing environment.

Currently, IRMNG is one of the databases being used within the taxonomic quality control of the OBIS data, and this quality control is performed at VLIZ. VLIZ and IODE are working closely together on the quality control of OBIS, and IRMNG was initially an OBIS/CSIRO sponsored product to meet the needs of OBIS. Through this work and thus the extensive use of both the static data dumps and the online web services, the VLIZ staff is already very familiar with the structure and content of the IRMNG database and understands both the user and database developer needs of IRMNG. This will certainly have its benefits in the transfer of IRMNG to VLIZ, and in the further maintenance and curation of this database at its new host institute.


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