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10 years of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS): where do westand & where are we heading?

Journal Contribution

The World Register of Marine Species aims to provide the most authoritative list of names of all
marine species, ever published through a freely available online portal.
In 2017, WoRMS celebrated its 10th anniversary. This was an excellent opportunity to both look
backward and forward, by analyzing how the system has grown, how it is used and how it can be
improved in the future.
Although there are more than 240,000 accepted marine species available through WoRMS, an analysis
of editor activity shows that there are still many species names missing from the system, and that this
does not only concern recently published species. Each year, an average of 38000 marine species
names are added to WoRMS – compared to the on average 2000 newly described marine species per
An actively collaborating editor community and Data Management Team are indispensable in keeping
a database like WoRMS alive, and mean that WoRMS is now regarded as the standard marine species
taxonomic backbone for numerous other initiative such as NCBI Genbank, BOLD, CoL, EOL, GBIF
and OBIS. Funding to keep WoRMS going currently is provided through the LifeWatch project.
WoRMS constitutes a major contribution to the LifeWatch Taxonomic Backbone.
Volume: Preprint
Number of pages: 1
Publication year:2018
Keywords:database, taxonomy, marine biodiversity, LifeWatch