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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(4), 1448-1473; doi:10.3390/jmse3041448

How Aphia—The Platform behind Several Online and Taxonomically Oriented Databases—Can Serve Both the Taxonomic Community and the Field of Biodiversity Informatics

1
Flanders Marine Institute/Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ), Wandelaarkaai 7, Oostende 8400, Belgium
2
Ghent University (UGent), Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25, Ghent 9000, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Angelika Brandt
Received: 14 September 2015 / Revised: 13 October 2015 / Accepted: 17 November 2015 / Published: 1 December 2015
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Abstract

The Aphia platform is an infrastructure designed to capture taxonomic and related data and information, and includes an online editing environment. The latter allows easy access to experts so they can update the content of the database in a timely fashion. Aphia is the core platform that underpins the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) and its more than 80 related global, regional and thematic species databases, but it also allows the storage of non-marine data. The content of Aphia can be consulted online, either by individual users or via machine-to-machine interactions. Aphia uses unique and stable identifiers for each available name in the database through the use of Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs). The system not only allows the storage of accepted and unaccepted names, but it also documents the relationships between names. This makes it a very powerful tool for taxonomic quality control, and also allows the linking of different pieces of information through scientific names, both within the Aphia platform and in relation to externally hosted databases. Through these LSIDs, Aphia has become an important player in the field of (marine) biodiversity informatics, allowing interactions between its own taxonomic data and e.g., biogeographic databases. Some applications in the field of biodiversity informatics encompass the coupling of species traits and taxonomy, as well as the creation of diverse, expert validated data products that can be used by policy makers, for example. Aphia also supplies (part of) its content to other data integrators and the infrastructure can be used to host orphan databases in danger of being lost. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aphia; taxonomy; biodiversity informatics; online database; online editing environment; data rescue; World Register of Marine Species; web services Aphia; taxonomy; biodiversity informatics; online database; online editing environment; data rescue; World Register of Marine Species; web services
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vandepitte, L.; Vanhoorne, B.; Decock, W.; Dekeyzer, S.; Trias Verbeeck, A.; Bovit, L.; Hernandez, F.; Mees, J. How Aphia—The Platform behind Several Online and Taxonomically Oriented Databases—Can Serve Both the Taxonomic Community and the Field of Biodiversity Informatics. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3, 1448-1473.

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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. EISSN 2077-1312 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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