ABRS adds significantly to species names information

A three year Atlas of Living Australia funded contract with the Australian Biological Resources Study has resulted in Australian researchers adding 29,864 species names to the Australian Faunal Directory and the Australian Plant Name Index. The contract was part of the Australian National Species Lists project.
The Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) component of the National Species Lists (NSL) project set out to update the Australian Faunal Directory (AFD) and to integrate names information for algae and lichens into the Australian Plant Name Index (APNI).
The names data sets are a critical part of biodiversity informatics infrastructure. For the Atlas of Living Australia, the lists provide the framework for integrating data. Dr John La Salle, Director of the Atlas has said “the species names delivered through this project are absolutely essential for the Atlas system itself and the overall study of biodiversity in Australia.”

Lepas pectinata (barnacle) attached to Janthina janthina (snail), Photo: Clay Bryce, Western Australian Museum

The names datasets include information on current name, synonymy, authority, place and date of publication and protologue.


  • 28,305 accepted species names were added to AFD via the new editing interface.
  • An additional 32,250 modifications and updates were made to species names.
  • The AFD now holds 112,504 accepted species records (close to 90% of the accepted, described species of fauna inAustralia).


  • The freshwater and marine algae datasets are being combined  in the APNI data structure
  • There was an increase of 1,295 accepted algae species, with this project delivering 7,309 accepted species of algae to the APNI data structure.


  • The lichen dataset was up-to-date prior to the project commencement.
  • Following recent additions the dataset has increased to 3,528 accepted species.

ABRS managed 46 contracts for delivery of NSL names information over the three years of the project, with 44 of these for delivery of species information to the AFD. Some 104 external specialists contributed to the ABRS component of the NSL project. They were responsible for updating and compiling taxonomic and nomenclatural information about fauna and algae. The project formally concluded in September 2012, however, additions to the databases are still occurring with compilers still adding data to the AFD.