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Celebrating the 15th anniversary of the World Register of Marine Species


You might have already heard… The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year! And we do not want to let this birthday pass unnoticed…

To celebrate, the Data Management Team and the current and past (co-)chairs of WoRMS are launching a series of 15 stories. All stories are on topics related to the World Register, and through these stories, we will take you on a journey to explore WoRMS from different perspectives. We will be sharing insights from ‘behind the scenes’, where both the Editorial Board and the Data Management Team are operating to keep WoRMS running and up-to-date, providing the high quality content you expect from WoRMS.

We invite you on this 15 week journey so you can get to know the World Register of Marine Species in more detail, discover some ‘unknowns’ and explore with us what the future may hold. This series of messages is intended for everyone, not just for our editors. Although they are definitely the ones to celebrate, we want everyone to have the opportunity to get to know WoRMS, the people behind the database and the continuous efforts that keep such a system dynamic and up-to-date.

With this invitation to read along, we also invite you to widely share these messages, making sure that we reach all of our users, from scientists to policy makers, industry and the wider audience.

Every week, we will release a new story, which will become available below. We will start on Thursday, November 17th 2022 and we will carry on until March 3rd 2023. We will take a short break during Christmas & New Year, as the host institute of WoRMS, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), is taking a collective holiday that week ☺. 

Enjoy the journey!




1. Happy 15th birthday WoRMS! A story for each year.

Publication date: November 17th 2022

Today we kick-off the 15th anniversary celebration of WoRMS! Remember how it all started? From the first actions in 2007 and the first WoRMS marine taxonomy editor workshop, to the authoritative and comprehensive list of names of all marine organisms that WoRMS is today. Join us on a 15-week journey to explore WoRMS' past and future. (READ MORE)


2. Who are the experts behind the World Register of Marine Species?

Publication date: November 24th 2022

WoRMS is managed by a small Data Management Team (DMT) and an elected Steering Committee (SC), but the actual driving force behind the high-quality content of WoRMS is the Editorial Board. Who are all these volunteers on our Editorial Board, and what is driving them to contribute their spare time and expertise to WoRMS? Join us in this short dive into their insights on their editor-work, their favorite species and the general dynamics of our editor pool. (READ MORE)


3. WoRMS general growth: number of species and their discovery rates according to WoRMS

Publication date: December 1st 2022
Since Linnaeus 1758, the starting point of zoological nomenclature, there has been an average annual discovery rate of 1.255 species per year. Over the last 5 years, the content of WoRMS grew with an average of 2.050 newly described marine species per year. WoRMS currently contains more than 241.000 accepted marine species. What is the rate of species discovery today? And what kind of species are still being discovered? (READ MORE)

4. WoRMS general growth: editor activity and how this reflects in the content growth

Expected publication date: December 8th 2022
Stay tuned for even more stories celebrating 15 years WoRMS!



WoRMS Data Management Team - info@marinespecies.org



This celebration and series of news messages initiated by the Data Management Team (DMT) would not have been possible without the collaboration of the WoRMS Steering Committee (SC) & voluntary contributions by many of the WoRMS editors.

The work of the DMT and many WoRMS-DMT-related activities are supported by LifeWatch Belgium, part of the E-Science European LifeWatch Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research. LifeWatch is a distributed virtual laboratory, which is used for different aspects of biodiversity research. The Species Information Backbone of LifeWatch aims at bringing together taxonomic and species-related data and at filling the gaps in our knowledge. In addition, it gives support to taxonomic experts by providing them logistic and financial support for the organization of meetings and workshops related to expanding the content and enhancing the quality of taxonomic databases.

WoRMS – as ABC WoRMS – is an endorsed action under the UN Ocean Decade.