Cataloguing Life

Today sees the launch of the Catalogue of Life, a taxonomic checklist of 1 million of the world’s organisms. The catalogue contains contributions from 47 databases constructed by more than 3000 taxonomists and species specialists from around the world.

Jointly produced by Species 2000 and ITIS, this 7th edition encapsulates data from 1 million species (1,008,965 to be exact), and was launched as part of the tertcentenary celebrations of the birth of Linnaeus (see ‘Celebrating Linnaeus’).

The key to the Catalogue of Life’s functionality is simplicity, you can either search by entering a organism’s name or by browsing a taxonomic tree. Records include accepted scientific names, common names, synonyms and distribution, with information on the source database and the most recent taxonomic scrutiny. The Catalogue of Life is available in a variety of formats, the Annual Checklist, which can be accessed via the internet or by CD-ROM, and the Dynamic Checklist, which provides a constantly updated catalogue.

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