Impacting biodiversity data using names

Marianne le Roux (South African National Biodiversity Institute, SANBI, South Africa)
Anne Bruneau (Université de Montréal, Canada)

In 2022, the Taxonomy Working Group continued work on the legume names list with the aim of further enhancing the community-endorsed legume species checklist. The second version of the checklist was published at the end of May after an additional eight taxonomists volunteered their expertise (genera improved are listed below). The latest version of the checklist is available on Checklist Bank ( and on the Legume Data Portal ( The good news is that this list is now also incorporated into the GBIF and the World Flora Online (WFO) taxonomic backbones.

While name checking continued in 2022, the 2021 checklist was used in a study recently published in Scientific Data (Le Roux et al. 2022, to illustrate the impact of a curated names list on biodiversity data records. A comparison was made between the legume checklist and the GBIF taxonomic backbone and resulted in adding 30,456 names to improve the GBIF taxonomic backbone. Then, after the GBIF taxonomic backbone was updated, names of all legume occurrence records in GBIF were compared between the older and updated versions. This showed that the names of 61,235 occurrence records were more accurately labelled because they matched better to the updated GBIF taxonomic backbone than before. This is a big achievement: putting numbers to the usefulness associated with a well- curated checklist. This is one example of how the efforts of the Taxonomy Working Group and the legume systematics community as a whole has already enabled more effective collaboration, highlighting the importance of taxonomic work.

Another step for the Legume Taxonomy Working Group was to start archiving versions of the checklist on Zenodo. During interactions with the legume community, it was requested that versioning be considered because the checklist displayed on the Legume Data Portal and Checklist Bank only shows the current and most recent published version. Both the 2021 and 2022 checklists are now available on Zenodo, each dataset with its own DOI and version number (2021: WCVP: Fabaceae 2021v.1,; 2022: WCVP: Fabaceae 2022v.2, The DOIs for these lists are being cited in various publications as the source of validated species names/concepts for groups that have been checked.

In 2023, the Taxonomy Working Group will tackle names in the Caesalpinioideae following the publication of Advances in Legume Systematics 14, Part 1 which focused on generic delimitation across that subfamily ( Name checking of other legume groups will also continue. In addition to these planned activities, queries received from GBIF and WFO will also be targeted. We are also planning some name checking activities at the ILC8 Legume Conference in Brazil during August 2023. Keep an eye out for more information about this on the Legume Data Portal. Taxonomic updates in the 2022v.2 checklist mainly took place in parts of the Caesalpinioideae: Arquita Gagnon, G.P.Lewis & C.E.Hughes, Biancaea Tod., Coulteria Kunth, Erythrostemon Klotzsch, Guilandina L., Hoffmannseggia Cav., Leucaena Benth., Mimosa L., Parapiptadenia Brenan, Piptadenia Benth., Pityrocarpa (Benth. & Hook.f.) Britton & Rose, Pomaria Cav., Pseudopiptadenia Rauschert and Stryphnodendron Mart.), and Papilionoideae: (Acmispon Raf., Amorpha L., Calobota Eckl. & Zeyh., Exostyles Schott, Harleyodendron R.S.Cowan, Holocalyx Micheli, Lebeckia Thunb., Lecointea Ducke, Lotus L., Marina Liebm., Melilotus Mill., Psorothamnus Rydb., Robynsiophyton R.Wilczek, Rothia Pers., Uribea Dugand & Romero, Wiborgia Thunb., Wiborgiella Boatwr. & B.-E.vanWyk and Zollernia Wied-Neuw. & Nees.

If you want to join the Taxonomy Working Group and contribute to name curation, please contact Marianne or Anne. We need your expertise!