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Register of Resources (RoR)

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WoRMS: World Register of Marine Species
Citable as data publication
WoRMS Editorial Board (2017). World Register of Marine Species. Available from at VLIZ. Accessed yyyy-mm-dd.

Access data
Dedicated website
Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

An authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms, including information on synonymy. WoRMS contains both global and regional species lists. more

The aim of a World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms, including information on synonymy. While highest priority goes to valid names, other names in use are included so that this register can serve as a guide to interpret taxonomic literature.

The content of WoRMS is controlled by taxonomic experts, not by database managers. WoRMS has an editorial management system where each taxonomic group is represented by one or more experts who have the authority over the content, and are responsible for controlling the quality of the information. Each of these main taxonomic editors can invite several specialists of smaller groups within their area of responsibility to join them.

This register of marine species grew out of the European Register of Marine Species (ERMS), and its combination with several other species registers maintained at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ). Rather than building separate registers for all projects, and to make sure taxonomy used in these different projects is consistent, VLIZ developed a consolidated database called ‘Aphia’. A list of marine species registers included in Aphia is available on the website. is the web interface for this database. The WoRMS is an idea that is being developed, and will combine information from Aphia with other authoritative marine species lists which are maintained by others (e.g. AlgaeBase, FishBase, Hexacorallia, NeMys).

Resources to build and Aphia were provided mainly by the EU Network of Excellence ‘Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning’ (MarBEF), and also by the EU funded Species 2000 Europe and ERMS projects. Currently, funding is received through the LifeWatch project, where WoRMS is part of the LifeWatch Taxonomic Backbone.

Aphia contains valid species names, synonyms and vernacular names, and extra information such as literature and biogeographic data. Besides species names, Aphia also contains the higher classification in which each scientific name is linked to its parent taxon. The classification used is a ‘compromise’ between established systems and recent changes. Its aim is to aid data management, rather than suggest any taxonomic or phylogenetic opinion on species relationships.

Keeping WoRMS up-to-date is a continuous process. New information is entered daily by the taxonomic editors and by the members of the Data Management Team. Often data also come in from contributions of large datasets, such as global or regional species lists. No database of this size is without errors and omissions. We can’t promise to make no errors, but we do promise to follow up and give feedback on any communications pointing out errors. Feedback is very welcome!

Access to the data can be obtained either through the online interface or through requesting a download of the database.

Biology, Biology > Ecology - biodiversity
Marine, Brackish water, Terrestrial, Classification, Species, Taxonomy, World Waters, Animalia, Bacteria, Chromista, Fungi, Plantae, Protozoa, Viruses

Geographical coverage
World Waters [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
From 1758 on [In Progress]

Taxonomic coverage
Animalia [WoRMS]
Bacteria [WoRMS]
Chromista [WoRMS]
Fungi [WoRMS]
Plantae [WoRMS]
Protozoa [WoRMS]
Viruses [WoRMS]


Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), moredatabase developer
WoRMS Editorial Board (WoRMS editors)data creator
WoRMS Steering Committee (SC)data creator

Related datasets
Parent dataset:
Child datasets:
Personal Decapoda distribution Database for Europe
Type locality distributions from the World Register of Marine Species
Published datasets:
AfReMaS: African Register of Marine Species, more
ARMS: Arctic Register of Marine Species, more
Ascidiacea World Database, more
BeRMS: Belgian Register of Marine Species, more
Black Sea checklist for Ocean-Ukraine & Sibema
CaRMS: Canadian Register of Marine Species, more
Cumacea World Database, more
DiatomBase, more
ERMS 2.0: European Register of Marine Species version 2, more
Fauna Italia - Checklist of the species of the Italian Fauna
FreshGEN: Freshwater Gastropods of the European Neogene database
GCD: Global Compositae Database
Gulf of Mexico Register of Marine Species
Hans De Blauwe site
Hemichordata World Database, more
Hexacorallians of the world, more
HKRMS: Hong Kong Register of Marine Species
IOC-UNESCO Taxonomic Reference List of Harmful Micro Algae, more
MSBIAS: Marine Species of the British Isles and Adjacent Seas, more
MilliBase, more
MolluscaBase, more
New Zealand Register of Marine Species (volume I)
NARMS: North Atlantic Register for Marine Species, more
NSBP: North Sea Benthos Project, more
NSBS: North Sea Benthos Survey, more
PycnoBase: World Pycnogonida Database, more
RAS: Register of Antarctic Species, more
TISBE: Taxonomic Information System for the Belgian coastal area, more
ChaRMS: The Chinese Register of Marine Species, more
The Mangrove Reference Database and Herbarium, more
RAMS: The Register of Antarctic Marine Species, more
Traits dataset of European macroalgae
URMO: UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms, more
WAD: World Amphipoda Database, more
World Ascothoracida Database
WAD: World Asteroidea Database, more
World Database of Littoral Myriapoda, more
Nemys: World Database of Nematodes, more
WED: World Echinoidea Database, more
World Foraminifera Database, more
World Hydrozoa Database, more
World List of Acoelomorpha, more
World List of Crinoidea
World List of Kinorhyncha, more
World List of Lophogastrida, Stygiomysida and Mysida, more
World List of Marine, Freshwater and Terrestrial Isopod Crustaceans, more
World list of Rhizocephala
World List of Scleractinia, more
World list of Tardigrada, more
World list of turbellarian worms: Acoelomorpha, Catenulida, Rhabditophora, more
World Nemertea Database, more
World of Copepods
World Ophiuroidea Database, more
World Ostracoda Database
World Paguroidea & Lomisoidea Database
World Placozoa Database, more
World Polychaeta Database, more
WPD: World Porifera Database, more
WoRDSS: World Register of Deep-Sea Species, more
WRiMS: World Register of Introduced Marine Species
WoRCS: World Register of marine Cave Species
World Remipedia Database, more
WoRMS checklist of Irish marine species
WoRMS checklist of marine species from Greece
WoRMS checklist of marine species from the Iberian Peninsula
WoRMS checklist of marine species in Israel
WoRMS checklist of marine species occurring in Polish marine waters
WoRMS checklist of Swedish marine species
WoRMS checklist of the terrestrial and marine biota from the Azores
Source datasets:
Algaebase, more
FADA: Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment
Index Fungorum
Phylum Ctenophora: list of all valid species names
Recent and Fossil Bryozoa
The Reptile Database
Previous version:
VLIZ's Marine Species Register, more

Based on this dataset
Appeltans, W. et al. (2012). The magnitude of global marine species diversity. Curr. Biol. 22(23): 2189-2202.
Describing this dataset
Costello, M.J. et al. (2013). Global coordination and standardisation in marine biodiversity through the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) and related databases. PLoS One 8(1): 20 pp.

Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Data collection
Metadatarecord created: 2007-08-28
Information last updated: 2017-11-16
All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy

If any information here appears to be incorrect, please contact us
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Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (EMBC)

Responsive Mode Programme (RMP) - Marie Nordstrom, copyright Aspden Rebecca

part of WoRMS logo

ERMS 2.0
Epinephelus marginatus Picture: JG Harmelin


Geographic System



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