Report AquaRES follow-up committee and user workshop
(Wednesday 15th of June 2016, VLIZ, Ostend)

Report: Aaike De Wever

Participants: See below.

You may also Download the AquaRES Workshop report in pdf format.


Aim of the meeting: report on progress and demonstrate developed tools, priorities for finalising project. As there is a considerable overlap between the follow-up committee members and the end-users of the developed data tools we decided to combine this meeting with the planned “user workshop” and invite a number of additional participants, including persons involved in OBIS and the BRAIN SAFRED project. The latter project will contribute to the Freshwater Information Platform which was developed during the BioFresh project (which ended in 2014).

Overall, the activities and tools developed during the project were well received by the participants. Most participants acknowledged the difficulty of dealing with taxonomic checklist data, which is often take a considerable time to process, and appreciated the effort to set up an on-going exchange between WoRMS, RAMS and FADA. We also indicated that the full exchange should be in place by the end of the project and that further exchange activities will be continued after the end of the project.

Introductory presentation

Introduction to the AquaRES: Aquatic species Register Exchange and Services follow-up committee meeting and user workshop. Presentation pdf

Presentation of data management activities related to AquaRES

Some key points

  • A detailed report for the editor workshop in September 2015 is available at
  • The RAMS team is working towards a Register of Antarctic Species. During the discussion, Bruno Danis touched on the issue of dealing with cryptic species.
  • In addition to the massive amount of work on the different focus groups of AquaRES (esp. Annelida and Crustacea), the WoRMS team are working on completing environmental flags to indicate whether species are occurring in marine, freshwater, brackish and/or terrestrial environments. Options to bring together FADA and WoRMS editors for Mollusca (which were not dealt with during the September 2015 workshop) are still being considered.
  • For FADA, 8 new Insect groups were processed. Most Annelida and Crustacea groups were pending integration. Checklists for freshwater Nematoda and Tardigrada are being produced. The finalisation of these pending checklists will be speeded up over summer through the help of 2 paid interns and the finalisation of the FADA Import Tool.

Data exchange: status and future plans

Presentation pdf

  • During this session, we reported on the status and plans regarding the data exchange between FADA-WoRMS and RAMS. In general data will be made available to the partner initiatives through file based web services (using the Darwin Core-Archive format). The format for this exchange has been agreed and data exports are in place. Actual integration of data is still pending (in the case of FADA, we are working on finalising the FADA Import Tool).
  • To establish and future proof the exchange between FADA and WoRMS, we are working out a data exchange agreement between OD Nature and VLIZ.

Data entry and validation tools for taxonomic experts

  • Short presentation/demo for FADA & WoRMS
    • The FADA Import Tool, which covers both Excel import and Darwin Core-Archive import was shown during a live demo.

    • The WoRMS editing interface and checklist generation tool were discussed and demoed in this Presentation pdf.
FADA Import Tool Screenshot
FADA Import Tool Screenshot

AquaRES tools for taxonomic editors and external users

In the afternoon, the tools for external users were discussed – see Presentation pdf. Covering the following topics:

Discussion on finalising the project and future plans / Feedback

  • It was suggested to include a paragraph on Aquacache in the AquaRES MoU.
  • There is a need for constant attention to data quality and validation. Some checklists still contain multiple times the same name for instance.
  • Wouter Addink suggested us to get in touch with Yuri Roskov regarding missing lists/GSDs to be added to Catalogue of Life (CoL), which groups in FADA would be of interest to CoL, and whether to use “CoL route” or make data available in Darwin Core Archive
  • Wouter also highlighted the existing GNA name resolver which returns a match % and fuzzy name match. Apparently the WoRMS data can be called in command line version, not the one on-line. He suggested to add FADA and get in touch with Dimitri Mozerin (works for EoL).
  • Geoff Boxshall expressed that we realised a lot and considered the collaboration very useful from editor perspective - e.g. Tom Artois was working on the Platyhelminthes-Turbellaria in 3 databases and has now been able to move the data management to WoRMS/Aphia.
  • Geoff also mentioned that the geography checking promises to be very useful.
  • He also briefly touched on the topic of dealing with zombie taxa.

    He also pointed out the freshwater copepods from the World of Copepoda by Chad Wolter.
  • Pieter Lemmens mentioned that the topic was rather new to him and that he would play around with tools/data services for his work in SAFRED.
  • Ward Appeltans said it was good to see this collaboration materialised and mentioned there’s a clear link between OBIS and the improved tools, as all species need to be matched with WoRMS
  • He also suggested to promote the use of Aquacache and explore the uptake in international initiatives such as Zoobank and possibilities for making register(s) authoritative.
  • During the discussion, we briefly touched on the WoRMS harvesting from Zoobank & Pensoft, which is automated, but manually triggered
  • Wouter Los suggested by email to check whether specific gaps in data availability could be dealt with through FaunaEuropae editors.


Project partners

  • Aaike De Wever, RBINS,
  • Leen Vandepitte, VLIZ,
  • Bart Vanhoorne, VLIZ,
  • Bruno Danis, ULB,
  • Quentin Jossart, ULB,

Follow-up committee members

  • Koen Martens, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)/Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment (FADA)
  • Wouter Addink, Naturalis/Species 2000
  • Ward Appeltans, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO/Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS)
  • Geoff Boxshall, The Natural History Museum/WoRMS Steering committee

Additional users

  • EurOBIS:
    • Daphnis De Pooter
    • Carolien Knockaert
  • Representatives of the BRAIN SAFRED project (Saving Freshwater Biodiversity Research Data -
    • Pieter Lemmens, KULeuven
  • Interested WoRMS Steering Committee members
    • Sofie Vranken


  • Michel Kapel, RBINS
  • Lorenzo Bovit, VLIZ
  • Dimitri Brosens, Belgian Biodiversity Platform/Research Institute for Nature and Forrest (INBO)
  • Saskia Van Gaever, Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment - Marine Environment
  • Wouter Los, University of Amsterdam/LifeWatch
  • Maaike Vancauwenberghe, Belspo/BRAIN-Axis 6
  • Sabine Stöhr (WoRMS Steering Committee member)
    • Anton Van de Putte
    • Nabil Youdjou