Proceedings 2009/021

Proceedings of the DFO Taxonomic Standards Workshop ; 16-17 January 2008

Chairperson: Mary Kennedy


A Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) taxonomic workshop held at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, British Columbia, in January of 2008 provided a forum for DFO regional representatives to share their knowledge of ‘species lists’. Participants at the workshop included a mixture of taxonomists, biological oceanographers, computer programmers, and data managers.

This workshop focused on data management aspects of taxonomic lists and not on taxonomy. It was acknowledged that although synonyms do exist within taxonomic nomenclature, it is not the data manager’s mandate to update this information. However, it is their mandate to provide the means to link to sources of this information. A method proposed at the workshop is to map species names to a standard code such as the Integrated Taxonomic Information System’s code, ITIS.TSN. By linking to ITIS, data managers can obtain the latest accepted/valid name. This ‘accepted’ name could change next week - if it does, then it is up to ITIS to update the taxonomic information.

One topic discussed at the workshop was the fact that many of our marine taxonomic names are not yet in ITIS and, therefore, cannot be assigned a standard code. Collaboration between ITIS and DFO data managers is required to overcome this problem.

The second topic of discussion centred around quality control of species lists and registers of marine species (RMS). A RMS is a list of all species found within a defined area. Existing local and international registers were described. It was acknowledged that DFO should build and maintain regional registers, and a design for a Canadian register of marine species was drafted and implementation plans were discussed.

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