Reliable taxonomy underpins communication in all of biology, not least nature conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem resources. The flexibility of taxonomic interpretations, however, presents a serious challenge for end-users of taxonomic concepts. Users need standardised and continuously harmonised taxonomic reference systems, as well as high-quality and complete taxonomic data sets, but these are generally lacking for non-specialists. The solution is in dynamic, expertly curated web-based taxonomic tools.
The Pan-European Species-directories Infrastructure (PESI) worked to solve this key issue by providing a taxonomic e-infrastructure for Europe. The three key objectives of PESI include standardisation in taxonomic reference systems, enhancement of the quality and completeness of taxonomic data sets and creation of integrated access to taxonomic information. The five pillars of biological community networks, Zoology, Botany, Marine Biota, Mycology and Phycology, have been integrated in five infrastructural components: knowledge, consensus, standards, data and dissemination.
PESI provides standardised and authoritative taxonomic information by integrating and securing Europe's taxonomically authoritative species name registers and nomenclators (name databases) and associated expert(ise) networks and focal points that underpin the management of biodiversity in Europe. As a result, PESI comprises of a total of nearly 450,000 scientific names that are available online.
Scientific names are key carriers of biodiversity information. Therefore, for the efficient exploring and integration of biodiversity data, the development of a functional taxonomic resolution system, including the establishment of a shared taxonomic standard (as a core component), is essential for all sorts of biodiversity assessments. PESI provides such an infrastructure for Europe, integrating the relevant technical (informatics) and social (knowledge & users) networks into a common work program, serving a wide community of biodiversity workers