Article Alert: How Aphia Can Serve Both the Taxonomic Community and the Field of Biodiversity Informatics

A new article published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering looks at how Aphia, the core platform that underpins the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS),  can Serve the taxonomic community and the field of biodiversity informatics.


The Aphia platform is an infrastructure designed to capture taxonomic and related data and information, and includes an online editing environment. The latter allows easy access to experts so they can update the content of the database in a timely fashion. Aphia is the core platform that underpins the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) and its more than 80 related global, regional and thematic species databases, but it also allows the storage of non-marine data. The content of Aphia can be consulted online, either by individual users or via machine-to-machine interactions. Aphia uses unique and stable identifiers for each available name in the database through the use of Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs). The system not only allows the storage of accepted and unaccepted names, but it also documents the relationships between names. This makes it a very powerful tool for taxonomic quality control, and also allows the linking of different pieces of information through scientific names, both within the Aphia platform and in relation to externally hosted databases. Through these LSIDs, Aphia has become an important player in the field of (marine) biodiversity informatics, allowing interactions between its own taxonomic data and e.g., biogeographic databases. Some applications in the field of biodiversity informatics encompass the coupling of species traits and taxonomy, as well as the creation of diverse, expert validated data products that can be used by policy makers, for example. Aphia also supplies (part of) its content to other data integrators and the infrastructure can be used to host orphan databases in danger of being lost.

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flag big This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 308454.