Register of Marine Organisms

Land Land
Mon Jul 22 16:46:43 EST 1996

Dear Colleagues,

For some time I have been engaged in the compilation of the "Unesco-IOC
Register of Marine Organisms". Originally this was only a more or less
complete overview of the families and a first draft of a bibliography of
key-works, distributed on floppy disk in 1994. Since then I have mainly
tried to collect lists of species because the ultimate goal is to list all
described and accepted marine species (in the order of 200.000 I guess).
They will be made freely available, first on internet and later on CD-ROM.
Some of you may know about a broader initiative to list all species on
earth, 'Species 2000'. This is intended to be a federation of biodiversity
databases and the Unesco database will of course be associated.
Duplication of efforts has to be avoided.

I hope we will succeed in getting the overview down to the family level
and a sizable bibliography ready this year and list about 50.000 species
as well. Therefore we started making two (more or less experimental) lists
available on the WWW site of the Expert-center for Taxonomic
Identification (ETI), Amsterdam. ETI, Amsterdam WWW site adresses:
directly to the Unesco register:

The first list contains only part of the marine chordate species, from
tunicates to mammals, but it gives a good impression of the basic idea. Of
course there is also a search machine and some explanatory stuff.

Several groups, for the time being mainly multicellular animals, are
waiting to be put on the web, including several of the smaller groups of
worms. There are for instance complete lists of chaetognaths, sipunculids,
echiurids, cephalorhynchs (priapulids, kinorhynchs etc.), gastrotrichs and
phoronids. Until now I did not actively seek support for the creation of
an annelid list, but after quite some work on cnidarians and several
groups of arthropods I should like to try the annelids now, one of my
favourite groups after all. I do have more than 3000 species of
polychaetes listed but there should be at least 8000 I presume. Some
families are easy but most are not. 

Harry ten Hove already spent quite some time on completing the serpulids
in digital form, not one of the easiest families, and he enjoyed it or at
least found it a useful exercise. There may be others who have done
similar work on other families and of course I invite them to make their
results available to the scientific world at large. My experience is that
there are even more people who have planned to do this for their favourite
group for a long time already. I can assure you that collaborating in such
a major effort is quite stimulating.

In short: who is willing to take reponsibility for one or more families
of annelids (or even other beasts)? Geoffrey already sent us his
"Worldwide Polychaete Family List" as an excellent basis. The format of
your contribution is of little importance as long as it is not a card
index. Lists in digital form are preferred but scannable paper is also
alright. I can also send you by e-mail what I have already (much in some
families), in your preferred format.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Dr Jacob van der Land, 
National Museum of Natural History,  P.O. Box 9517, 
2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands
fax +31.71.5133344. E-mail: evert at
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