20 December 2021

Updated Legume Taxonomic Checklist Now Used in GBIF

The latest taxonomic work by the LPWG Taxonomic Working Group (LPWG TWG) has been put to good use. On gbif.org we organize all data by indexing (aligning) it to a taxonomic backbone. Obviously, the better the taxonomy the better the occurrences data in the index. This latest legume taxonomy is now the taxonomy for the family in the GBIF backbone and with this update GBIF data is much improved.

This LPWG WG derived checklist was previously put together by 80 legume taxonomists (look for your name on the checklist and DOI), vetted by WCVP at Kew, and submitted to the Catalogue of Life/GBIF Checklist bank. It has been forwarded to World Flora Online and is now incorporated into GBIF’s backbone. This will be detailed later in a press release and publication.

This means that the taxonomic information found on this page of the portal is used on the occurrence data page of the portal (and on gbif.org) — nearly 22 million records. There are still names on GBIF occurrence records that have not been incorporated into the checklist, such as fossil taxa. At GBIF we can provide a list back to the LPWG TWG to facilitate further improvements.

At the GBIF Secretariat we are measuring improvements to the occurrence data due to the taxonomic effort. This is a new type of analysis for us. The easiest thing for us to measure will be the number of occurrences that, previous to the taxonomic update, were submitted to GBIF with names that were not in our taxonomic backbone and were “snapped” to genus level resulting in a loss of information at the species level. There are thousands of occurrences that now match a species because more accepted legume species are in the GBIF backbone due to the LPWG TWG efforts, thanks! We will try to measure the improvement of having many more synonyms in the backbone but that is more complicated. Any ideas on how to measure this are more than welcome!

A big thank you to everyone along this long chain of events starting with the taxonomist and ending with the GBIF/COL developers with a special shout out to Marianne Le Roux for being the principal organizer of the work. A larger news item will appear in January and a publication is being prepared. Both will have much more information. Stay tuned.