The Taxonomicon
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Project: The Taxonomicon

The Taxonomicon & Systema Naturae 2000

"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

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

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

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

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".

References everywhere

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

Preferred citation

For the entire website: Brands, S.J. (ed.), 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. []. Access date: ...

For the Systema Naturae 2000 classification: Brands, S.J. (ed.), 1989-present. Systema Naturae 2000. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. []. Access date: ...

For a specific page, e.g.: Brands, S.J. (ed.), 2024. Domain Eukaryota Chatton, 1925. In Systema Naturae 2000. The Taxonomicon, 1 Feb 2024. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. []. Access date: ...

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Last updated: 1 Feb 2024