Our knowledge of the many life-forms on Earth - of animals, plants, fungi, protists and bacteria - is scattered around the world in books, journals, databases, websites, specimen collections, and in the minds of people everywhere. Imagine what it would mean if this information could be gathered together and made available to everyone – anywhere – at a moment’s notice.
This dream is becoming a reality through the Encyclopedia of Life.
The Fauna Europaea project (EVR1-1999-20001) has been funded by the European Commission for a period of four years (1 March 2000 - 1 March 2004) within the Fifth Framework Programme (5FP). Fauna Europaea has assembled a database of the scientific names and distribution of all living multicellular European land and fresh-water animals.
Experts in taxonomy have provided data of all species currently known in Europe. Together these data have formed a huge database, which will be accessible to everyone. The University of Amsterdam has coordinated the project, assisted by the University of Copenhagen and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.The Fauna Europaea database will provide a unique reference for many groups such as scientists, governments, industries, conservation communities and educational programs.
Why Fauna Europaea?
The European Commission has published the Community Biodiversity Strategy to provide the framework for development of Community policies and instruments in order to comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Strategy recognises the current incomplete state of knowledge at all levels concerning biodiversity, which is a constraint on the successful implementation of the Convention.
Fauna Europaea contributes to the European Community Biodiversity Strategy by supporting one of the main themes of the Strategy: to identify and catalogue the components of European biodiversity into a database to serve as a basic tool for science and conservation policies. In Europe such a taxonomic index did not exist as yet. Partial overviews were scattered around Europe in different scientific institutes, while only some countries are working on national information systems. In regard to biodiversity in Europe, science and policies depend on knowledge of its components. The assessment of biodiversity, monitoring changes, sustainable exploitation of biodiversity, and much legislative work depends upon a validated overview of taxonomic biodiversity, in which Fauna Europaea plays a major role.
Geographic scope of Fauna Europaea?
What does FaEu define as its external geographical boundaries? The FaEu contract states that the species and subspecies names should be registered at least at a country level, meaning political countries. The FaEu geographical system will follow basically the ISO - TDWG standards; the covered area will be the same as European mainland, plus the Macaronesian islands (exl. Cape Verder Is.), Cyprus, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, the Western Kazakhstan excluded.
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international open data infrastructure, funded by governments.
It allows anyone, anywhere to access data about all types of life on Earth, shared across national boundaries via the Internet.
By encouraging and helping institutions to publish data according to common standards, GBIF enables research not possible before, and informs better decisions to conserve and sustainably use the biological resources of the planet.
GBIF operates through a network of nodes, coordinating the biodiversity information facilities of Participant countries and organizations, collaborating with each other and the Secretariat to share skills, experiences and technical capacity.
GBIF's vision: "A world in which biodiversity information is freely and universally available for science, society and a sustainable future."
The Map of Life Steering Committee provides technical, managerial and scientific advice to Map of Life and key outreach to allied communities in biodiversity, informatics, and conservation. The committee is currently composed of:
Katrin Boehning-Gaese (Senckenberg, Frankfurt, Germany), Simon Ferrier (GEO BON and CSIRO, Canberra Australia, Donald Hobern (GBIF, Copenhagen, Denmark), Jon Hoekstra (WWF. Seattle, Washington USA), Steve Kelling (eBird, Ithaca, New York USA), Georgina Mace (DIVERSITAS, Imperial College London, UK ), and Henrique Pereira (GEO BON, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
Species 2000 is an autonomous federation of taxonomic database custodians, involving taxonomists throughout the world. Our goal is to collate a uniform and validated index to the world's known species (plants, animals, fungi and microbes). Species 2000 is registered as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (registered in England No. 3479405)
Species 2000 began as a joint programme between CODATA(link is external) (International Council for Science: Committee on Data for Science and Technology), IUBS(link is external) (International Union of Biological Sciences) and the IUMS(link is external) (International Union of Microbiological Societies) in the early 1990's. In 1996 eighteen taxonomic database organisations agreed to convert Species 2000 into a legal entity as the vehicle for developing the global Species 2000 programme. It is an associate participant in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility ( GBIF(link is external) ); a data provider to ECLifeWatch(link is external) ; and is recognised by the United Nations Environment Program ( UNEP(link is external) ) and the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD(link is external) ).
Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), also known as the Taxonomic Databases Working Group, is a not for profit scientific and educational association that is affiliated with the International Union of Biological Sciences.
TDWG was formed to establish international collaboration among biological database projects. TDWG promoted the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the World's heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of the world at large. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) now focuses on the development of standards for the exchange of biological/biodiversity data.
Develop, adopt and promote standards and guidelines for the recording and exchange of data about organisms
Promote the use of standards through the most appropriate and effective means and
Act as a forum for discussion through holding meetings and through publications