Sunday, 31 August 2014

GSD focus: Phasmida Species File

Paul D. Brock, Author, Natural History Museum, London, and from home in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, UK.  My database is of Phasmida [= Phasmatodea et al.] and includes 3058 valid species and a further 680 species synonyms.  About 250 have common names, the rest do not have them.   

Paul Brock with Acanthoxyla geisovii (c) Paul Brock

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Dr Yuri Roskov moves from Reading to Champaign but continues to edit Catalogue of Life

Although sad to see Yuri moving on after 15 years at University of Reading working on the Catalogue of Life I am pleased that he has the opportunity to continue his valuable editorial work from a new location, Champaign, Illinois.  I look forward to continuing our collaboration and wish Yuri the very best in his new post working with David Eades.  In the photo below Yuri is sitting outside Park House after a farewell lunch.  Good luck and Bon Voyage!

Yuri can continue to be contacted on his current email address for the next few months but will be getting new contact details in due course.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Catalogue of Life User Survey Results

During July 2013 we conducted an online survey under the i4Life project to better understand our Catalogue of Life direct users and their needs. The Catalogue of Life is taxonomic infrastructure for many global biodiversity data providers who themselves service millions of users, but over a thousand people a day also access the online Catalogues direct from our website. Google Analytics provides statistics on certain usage patterns, but we wanted to try to gain further insight. 78 people responded to our request for information (thank you!) and below are the quantitative results from the survey.

Here are a few things that we observed from the results:
  • The majority of users, as we thought, come to the Catalogue of Life to check a species name.
  • Many professionals are using the Catalogue of Life for their work.
  • We have worked hard with our website to give clear explanations of our products but perhaps some of our users still do not understand the distinction between the Annual Checklist and the Dynamic Checklist.
  • Stable name identifiers are the most important addition you would like to see.
  • You really do consider us to be of help!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Catalogue of Life, 26th February

The Catalogue of Life, 26th February was released yesterday at In this release we have a major contribution of new global checklists from Michael Hassler's World Plants database for 103 families of flowering plants (263 in total). We also included updates for 3 plant databases received from Wien via Heimo Rainer. This is a last due delivery of i4Life pilot projects.

New databases include three from the i4Life project:
• AnnonBase
Annonaceae include a range of tropical and sub tropical shrubs and trees including the Custard Apple and the Cherimoya.

• ChenoBase
Chenopodiaceae includes the increasingly popular Quinoa - Chenopodium quinoa, yields a high protein, zero gluten, starch-rich seed.  Many Chenopodiaceae are problem weeds as they grow very well in nitrogen rich conditions.

• EbenaBase
Ebenaceae includes the high quality timber ebony, the traditional source of wood for black piano keys, but also the widely sold fruit Persimmon (Diospyros spp. commonly D. kaki).

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

January edition of Catalogue of Life is published

The Catalogue of Life, 20th January 2014 is now available online at  The new edition includes updates of the World Ferns checklist that was incorporated into CoL last year as part of the i4Life project. Ferns are a very widespread linaege of plants often now considered to include the Horsetails (Equisetum) and the Whisk Fern (Psilotum).  One of the largest fern genera is Asplenium which has >800 species listed in Catalogue of Life. Illustrated here is Asplenium ceterach which has distinctive rust-brown scales on the underside of its fronds.  This has lead to the common name 'Rustyback fern'.

Asplenium ceterach growing in a rock crevice in southern Spain.