"The beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right names."
(Confucius, ca. 500 BC)
"Only by understanding the environment and how it works
can we make the necessary decisions to protect it.
Only by evaluating all our precious natural and human resources
can we hope to build a sustainable future."
(UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 30 Mar 2005)
"The tree of life is changing rapidly. As new techniques reveal more
about the phylogenetic relationships between taxa, the tree changes shape almost
every day. Taxonomy today is more exciting than ever before, but this constant
change creates a need for stability and insight into the relationships between
the classifications themselves. The Taxonomicon is trying to satisfy this
need for insight and enters into a journey on a vast ocean, called taxonomy."
The Taxonomicon is a biodiversity information system that contains information
from a multitude of sources. Information from each original and authorative source remains
intact and so provides a historical account. Systema Naturae 2000 is
the most recent compilation of all these sources. This approach enables accurate
accounts that may serve as a starting point for biodiversity research.
Links to the literature and the internet lead you to more in-depth information.
The Taxonomicon combines four major components:
- The Index of Life
- The Tree of Life
- The Web of Life
- The Facts of Life
The index of life attempts to enumerate the names of the world's past and present biota.
The list is completed with nomenclatural issues, like authorship, synonyms,
homonyms (incl. allowed ones) and common names. The Taxonomicon also allows
accurate synonymy at the circumscription level, by combining the
scientific name of the taxon with the source in which it appeared.
The tree of life shows multiple alternative and historical classifications. You
can easily switch between them with just a single click of the mouse.
Systema Naturae 2000 will serve as the most recent and most comprehensive
scheme that "rules" them all. Separate classifications based on taxa and clades
respectively offer you even more views of the tree of life. Synonyms and
alternative entries can easily be included in or excluded from the tree.
Each entry within a classification shows the total number of subtaxa and the
completeness thereof relative to the source to eventually answer the
question: "How many species are there?".
The web of life shows the many types of interrelationships between species and
allows more complex constructions such as "Species A is an endoparasite in the
gut of a male adult of species B, causing disease X", with focus on both species,
crossing kingdom boundaries time after time.
The facts of life provide information on the taxa themselves.
This information consists mainly of structured metadata, i.e. no observation
or specimen data. Currently The Taxonomicon focuses on geographic distribution,
habitat, and geologic distribution, but it allows for a much wider array of
properties of different types, e.g. conservation status, body size, pH and
salinity ranges, population size, etc., that may be used as input by many other
systems. Context properties provide additional details to allow constructions
such as "The estimated population size of chimpanzees in Gabon in 1980 was 64,000".
Every piece of information within The Taxonomicon gets a precise reference for
easy verification. The quality indicator tells you if the piece of information is a
formal entry within an authorative publication and other indicators tell you how
the entry used in Systema Naturae 2000 relates to the original entry.
Cross-references between authors, references and taxa help you find more in-depth
information in the vast amount of sources in the literature and on the internet
For The Taxonomicon: Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. [http://taxonomicon.taxonomy.nl/]. Access date: ...
For Systema Naturae 2000: Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. Systema Naturae 2000. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. [http://taxonomicon.taxonomy.nl/]. Access date: ...