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Major Data Sources

A goal of the Taxonomy Work Group is to form partnerships with existing taxonomic list development efforts. Some of the ITIS partners manage taxonomic databases that contribute significantly to ITIS. Much of this automated data is currently used by several Federal agencies in their environmental monitoring activities. Below are descriptions of those projects that are currently collaborating with ITIS.

Vertebrate Checklist

The U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division (BRD) Survey Project developed a Checklist of Vertebrates of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and Canada. BRD continues to maintain the list. An update of the original Checklist, to which freshwater fishes have been added, will be included in ITIS.

NODC Taxonomic Code

The National Oceanographic Data Center Taxonomic Code is a system of numerical codes used to represent the scientific names of organisms chiefly in support of archiving oceanographic data. As part of the original agreement among the participating agencies, all NODC data will be incorporated into ITIS. Efforts are underway to review and update the NODC data.


The PLANTS database is managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the Department of Agriculture. The database includes all native or naturalized vascular plants, mosses, lichen, liverworts, and hornworts known to occur in the United States. PLANTS is the plant data standard for ITIS as well as the NRCS, its cooperators, and clients. It provides the information necessary for database administrators to revise, standardize, integrate, and share existing data. The taxonomic data within PLANTS is derived from cooperative efforts by Drs. John Kartesz, BONAP, North Carolina Botanical Garden (vascular plants); Robert Egan, University of Nebraska-Omaha (lichens); Marshall Crosby, Missouri Botanical Garden (mosses); and Ray Stotler and Barbara Crandell-Stotler, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (liverworts and hornworts).

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