Date: 20 September 2012
A new world-leading register of species important to New Zealand was launched last month and is now available for use.
Designed and developed by Landcare Research, the New Zealand Organisms Register provides up-to-date information on over 94,000 animals, plants, fungi and bacteria of significance to our economy, environment and society – making it the most complete digital species catalogue of any country in the world.
Its key value is to provide an authoritative name and source of information on organisms relevant to New Zealand, which may be known by multiple names, says Landcare Research scientist, Jerry Cooper.
“Take Didymo, for example, it is known by several different names. But when an organism like this is discovered in New Zealand, you need to have that information to mount an effective biosecurity response.”
The New Zealand Organisms Register uses the latest data-sharing technology to access species data from research providers both here and overseas, allowing it to keep up with new knowledge as it emerges, says Dr Cooper.
Department of Conservation Transformation and Threats Manager, Allan Ross, says the NZOR, which is modelled on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, will be a valuable tool for all agencies in the natural resource sector.
“We are very pleased that this tool is now available for use and can be connected to the data systems of our major users.”
“We now need other organisations involved in biodiversity work such as councils and NGOs and the private science community to link into NZOR to gain the benefits of cost saving and better decision making from it.”
The NZOR stands to provide widespread benefits wherever species names are needed – to conserve threatened species, manage ecosystems, and for biosecurity responses and decisions on species introductions. It will also be of value to the primary industry for export clearances and regional councils in pest and land management.
The Department of Conservation played a key role in the creation of the NZOR, helping to fund its development over the last three years through its Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) programme.
Landcare Research is hosting the NZOR and leading the work to connect it into other agencies. Other key partners include the Ministry of Primary Industries, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, NIWA, and Te Papa.
Fiona Oliphant, DOC media officer, ph +64 27 470 1378