A national catalogue of Finnish species published for the first time

For the first time, the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility has published a national catalogue of Finnish species. The list comprises more than 40,000 species names, encompassing the fish, insects, springtails, amphibians, birds, vascular plants, bryophytes and many other organisms living in Finland.

For the first time, the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility has published a checklist of Finnish species. The institute maintains a national catalogue of species for Finland, publicly available through its Laji.fi portal. However, the database in the portal is dynamic: its content can change daily, as information is supplemented and updated.

Referring to the catalogue in other publications is difficult, since the cited data may change after the time of citation. To solve this problem, a citable version of the species catalogue will be published at regular intervals, in which no amendments to the content are made after publication.

The recently published Checklist 2018 is the first annual version of the catalogue of Finnish species in history. For the first time ever, the nomenclature of fish, insects, springtails, amphibians, birds, vascular plants, bryophytes and many other eukaryotic organisms has been compiled into a single catalogue. (The catalogue does not include prokaryotes, or non-nucleated single-celled organisms, such as certain bacteria and archaeon.)

The first annual list encompasses all species and taxons below species. Taxons include all groups of organisms separated and named in biological classification. The list consists of over 40,000 taxons of the species rank.

The catalogue is a reference targeted at specialists and hobbyists, with the taxons in alphabetical order. A higher level of hierarchy is also included in the entire database to make it possible to search for information in as many ways as possible. For example, the list of mammals can be browsed by selecting ‘Mammalia’ from the column for class names, while crustaceans can be viewed by selecting ‘Crustacea” from the column for sub-phylum names.

The catalogue also includes a unique identifier for each taxon that remains unchanged unless the species description changes. The Checklist 2018 combines the concepts of species valid at the beginning of 2019 with the names used at the time of compilation. With the help of the identifiers, changes to nomenclature and classification can be monitored through the list. If two different versions of the catalogue include an identical name and identifier, the name and taxon delineation for that species have not changed between the publication of the two versions.

As of 2013, the checklist has been compiled from catalogues maintained by various parties into a single catalogue in the taxonomic, or scientific classification, database of the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility. The list is a compilation of current information on the species occurring in Finland, their nomenclature, distribution, as well as biological and administrative features, such as information on endangered species.

Not all of the data stored in the facility’s database is included in the catalogue. Synonyms and other details on species can be searched by browsing the species cards in the Laji.fi portal (for example, Asian knotweed: https://laji.fi/en/taxon/MX.38240).

The checklist can be downloaded from https://laji.fi/en/theme/checklist.

The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility is coordinated by the Finnish Museum of Natural History, operating under the auspices of the University of Helsinki.

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