World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) | Lifewatch regional portal

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World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)


The aim of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms, including information on synonymy. While highest priority goes to valid names, other names in use are included so that this register can serve as a guide to interpret taxonomic literature.

The content of WoRMS is controlled by taxonomic experts, which are technically supported by the WoRMS data management team.


The consolidated database behind WoRMS is called Aphia. Aphia includes several Global Species Databases (GSD), Regional Species Databases (RSD), Thematic Species Databases (TSD). In addition, taxonomic information is retrieved from a number of externally hosted databases, such as e.g. FishBase.


Link with LifeWatch Species Information Backbone:


The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is one of the largest component data systems contributing to the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone.

The WoRMS editorial board and the data management team are mainly focusing on completing the content of the World Register. The efforts primarily focus on the previously identified taxonomic gaps within WoRMS, e.g. adding missing species in particular groups or verifying already available species names. These gaps can be addressed in several ways, for example through assigning a small data grant to the responsible editor or by dedicated support by the data management team at VLIZ.

Furthermore, LifeWatch also supports the WoRMS editor community logistically by organizing, hosting and financing several taxonomy-related workshops and meetings.

WoRMS is part of the taxon match web service of the Belgian LifeWatch e-Lab, allowing your species list to be cross-checked with the taxonomic information available in WoRMS.

The interoperability between WoRMS and FADA is being improved through the development of a set of web services within the AquaRES project, a project closely related to LifeWatch. Read more about AquaRES here.


WoRMS in the press