A major historical challenge for the management of anthropogenic introductions of species has been the absence of a globally standardized system for species nomenclature (Costello et al., 2021
). For over a decade, the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)
has provided a taxonomically authoritative classification and designation of the currently accepted names for all known marine species. However, WoRMS mainly focuses on taxonomy and does not specifically address species introductions. In this newly published paper, we introduced the World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRiMS)
, a database directly linked to WoRMS that includes all introduced marine species, distinguishing native and introduced geographic ranges of the well-studied species.
Both the WoRMS and WRiMS contents are continually updated by specialists who add original species descriptions, key taxonomic literature, images and notes on native and introduced geographic distributions. WRiMS editors take responsibility for assessing the validity of the species distribution records by critically evaluating if a species has been introduced to a region, erroneously identified and/or potentially naturally present in a region but previously unnoticed. Thus, some records are of species not considered introduced by the editors, but which may have been classified as “introduced" in the literature. Also, whether an introduced species still survives at a location may not be known. WRiMS currently contains more than 2,300 introduced species. The amount and quality of the information entered depend on the availability of the WRiMS editors to update its contents.
As WRiMS is global and it combines species taxonomic and geographic information with links to other resources and expertise, it can currently be seen as the most comprehensive standardized database of marine introduced species in the world. In addition, WRiMS forms the basis for a future global early warning system of marine species introductions.
Both WRiMS and WoRMS are part of the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone (LW-SIBb)
. LifeWatch, the E-Science European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, is a distributed virtual laboratory, which is used for different aspects of biodiversity research. The Species Information Backbone of LifeWatch aims to bring together taxonomic and species-related data and to fill knowledge gaps.
Within this LW-SIBb framework, one of the initiatives that WRiMS links to is the Internal Joint Initiative (IJI)
. The IJI was instigated by LifeWatch ERIC in 2019 to build the next generation of Virtual Research Environments (VREs). The architecture and workflows of the IJI VRE is determined by five validation cases on Non-indigenous Species (NIS). One of these validation cases is called “Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) programme: long-term monitoring of invasive marine species
” (more information
). In the data analysis workflow of this ARMS validation case, the correct identification of taxa in each specific location is made with reference to WoRMS and WRiMS. Web services to WoRMS and WRiMS are used to check respectively the identity of the organisms and whether they are introduced a way of their native range.
The article has just been published and is available through www.vliz.be/nl/catalogus?module=ref&refid=347287
Map indicating the numbers of Introduced and Invasive species in seas as reported in the World Register of Introduced Marine Species. (Costello et al. 2021)