WoRMS project Re: [Annelida] Clymenura polaris original description

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Thu Feb 7 02:23:11 EST 2008

>>> On 5/02/2008 at 3:03 a.m., Stanislas DUBOIS
<Stanislas.Dubois from ifremer.fr>
> Dear Polychaete lovers,
> I'm looking for the original descrition of Clymenura polaris (Théel,

> 1879).  Does someone has ever look at the pictures of C. polaris on 
> http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=130286?  The 
> thing is that the prostomium doesn't look like a Clymenura-like 
> prostomium and there're no picture of the single cirri pygidium to 
> confirm the ID.
> That's why I need to cheek on the original description and need your

> help in my quest for truth!

Since the pictures aren't adequate in amount of detail shown for good
identification perhaps it doesn't matter if it's not actually Théel's
polaris (whatever its true genus might now be) that is illustrated! The
photo source web page lacks the authenticating information which would
suggest the polychaetes are named with an accuracy above
ecologist-level. Maybe a taxonomist was involved in the original
collections, maybe not - I don't readily know yet. Also we don't know
who choose to use those photos for that name on marinespecies.org.
Knowing how these things happen I expect it was more likely just someone
building the site who was trawling for any pics that matched the name,
rather than evaluation by the 2 distinguished persons named as their
polychaete editors by the site.  

All in all one would be rash to rely uncritically on anything put up
anywhere on the internet as a solid worm photo id to species - work by
taxonomist members of this list excepted. Stan is doing his bit by
investigating something that caught his eye, but probably as I write
this someone is putting a dubiously identified worm photo online. Life
is short - the internet is bigger by the day. 

I have some info on the WoRMS project (www.marinespecies.org),
apparently recently circulated. Here it is. It came from:

Kristen Yarincik
Program Manager
Census of Marine Life International Secretariat
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
1201 New York Avenue, NW, 4th Floor
Washington DC, 20005, USA
Ph: +1 (202) 448-1237
Fx: +1 (202) 332-9751
Email: kyarincik from OceanLeadership.org 


"World Register of Marine Species

Lack of standardization in the use and spelling of taxonomic names is a
serious problem when integrating data from different sources, or when
trying to interpret information found in literature. OBIS
[http://www.iobis.org/], in its efforts to integrate data from a vast
number of data sets, is confronted with this problem on a daily basis.
For this reason, EurOBIS, the European node of OBIS, started compiling a
World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS); this register will soon be
implemented by OBIS as its taxonomic authority list. 

Many of the elements for a marine species register are available.
Several regional lists have been compiled; other lists have been
compiled for specific groups of organisms. Bringing these lists
together, harmonizing them and presenting them to end users as a single
information system, is a very achievable project, and one that OBIS has
taken on itself to achieve, as a contribution to the Census of Marine
Life and the Catalogue of Life. We hope that, by the end of 2008, we
will have information on at least 200,000 species, which would represent
the vast majority of known marine species. Right now, we have
information on more than 170,000 taxa; of these, 110,000 are valid
species names, well over the first target of 100,000 we set ourselves
for the end of 2007.

The quality of the register and governance is assured by an Editorial
Board, consisting of experts in relevant fields of biology such as
taxonomy and in data management. Its main asset will be the large
community of taxonomic editors, who will ultimately be responsible for
the content and have the tools to edit the database on line. 

WoRMS is accessible through www.marinespecies.org. Our current database
is not complete, and we’re constantly looking for collaborators. If
you are a taxonomist studying a marine group, or if you are the
custodian of a marine species list, please do get in touch through
info from marinespecies.org, or through info from iobis.org.

WoRMS is coordinated by a steering committee, co-chaired by Mark
Costello and Edward Vanden Berghe; all members of the steering committee
are listed on the web site. The technical facilities are developed and
maintained at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), by Bart Vanhoorne;
data management is coordinated by Ward Appeltans. The WoRMS team wishes
to acknowledge Species 2000 europa, the Sloan Foundation, Lounsbery
Foundation, GBIF and the EU through MarBEF for financial support, and
the very many taxonomic editors who have donated their time to this

What WoRMS is

A growing register of all marine species names, including synonymy and
misspellings in common use
A tool to assist in standardisation of spelling of taxonomic names
A guide to assist in the correct interpretation of taxonomic names
found in the literature, and to associate old names with the currently
valid one
An authoritative register, maintained by the authorities: the content
is controlled by taxonomic experts, not by data managers

What WoRMS isn’t

Complete: we’re working hard to complete the register for an
estimated 80% by the end of 2008 - this corresponds with an estimated
200,000 valid names.
Without mistakes: not a single non-trivial database is completely
error-free. We don’t promise to be perfect, only to be responsive and
to make best possible use of any feedback we receive
A complete species information system: we’re working together with
other organizations and trying to play our own role. The Encyclopedia of
Life will build on our efforts through its Catalogue of Life.

What you’ll find on www.marinespecies.org 

Acknowledgement of contribution of everyone involved, on the level of
the individual record
A detailed edit history of every taxonomic record
Links to all sources of information, with many links to the primary
literature, where available with links to full text versions of
Hyperlinks to other on-line data systems
A powerful search interface, capable of dealing with the more common
A tool that can check names in an uploaded file against the register



 Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>

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