Aphia now compliant with the new Catalogue of Life Data Package (COLDP) format and exporting several WoRMS subregisters

Added on 2021-04-16 09:52:06 by Vandepitte, Leen
From now onwards, the Aphia infrastructure is capable of exporting several of its sub-registers to the Catalogue of Life (COL) in their new Data Package format. This new format was developed to overcome some of the limitations in currently used formats.
The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) has a long-standing relationship with the Catalogue of Life (COL). Several of the Global Registers within the Aphia infrastructure are shared with the Catalogue of Life since 2009. This collaboration contributes to the overall goal of the Catalogue of Life, to create a register containing all species names globally.

Recently, the Catalogue of Life developed a new format to integrate existing species registers into their data infrastructure. This new format is being referred to as the Catalogue of Life Data Package (COLDP). This COLDP format was developed to overcome limitations existing in currently used formats for sharing taxonomic information, as there are e.g. Darwin Core Archives (DwC-A) and the Catalogue of Life submission format also known as ACEF (Annual Checklist Exchange Format). The Catalogue of Life will still allow the usage of DwC-A and ACEF as a format to exchange data to and from the Catalogue of Life, but the COLDP format will support the majority of the features.

For WoRMS specifically, the most important improvement of the new format is that it allows to export the extended Linnean classification, thus including all sub- and super-ranks that are available within the Aphia infrastructure. Towards the future, it will also be possible to exchange species interaction information, as e.g. the host-parasite relationships that are being documented within WoRMS.

For the last few months, updates from WoRMS were not taken into account, as the new COL+ infrastructure cannot handle the legacy ACEF format very well. With the start of a new IT-developer at the WoRMS Data Management Team (DMT) – Khadija Bouirig - in September 2020, the DMT has overcome this, thus ensuring that COL is able to ingest the monthly updates again.

Currently, 41 Global Species Databases (GSDs) have been updated in the Catalogue of Life, an update of an additional 19 GSDs will follow in the next months. The export from Aphia to the Catalogue of Life is not limited to marine registers only, a significant amount of non-marine species are also being shared.

The collaboration and data exchange between the Aphia infrastructure and the Catalogue of Life is possible through support of the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone. 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 at bringing together taxonomic and species-related data and at filling the gaps in our knowledge. It gives support to taxonomic experts by providing them logistic and financial support for meetings and workshops related to expanding the content and enhancing the quality of taxonomic databases. In addition, it looks for active and long-lasting collaborations with related initiatives and databases, avoiding duplication of efforts.


Aphia now compliant with the new Catalogue of Life Data Package (COLDP) format and exporting several WoRMS subregisters


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