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Niven Library - FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology Library Guide: Biodiversity Open Access DBs

The library supports a number of themes - African ornithology, conservation biology, Antarctic and sub-antarctic biology, specifically birds.

Global Invasive Species Database

Global Invasive Species Database focuses on invasive alien species that threaten native biodiversity and covers all taxonomic groups from micro-organisms to animals and plants in all ecosystems.  Species information is either supplied by or reviewed by expert contributors from around the world.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility is an international organisation that is working to make the world's biodiversity data accessible everywhere in the world. GBIF and its many partners work to mobilise the data, and to improve search mechanisms, data and metadata standards, web services, and the other components of an Internet-based information infrastructure for biodiversity.

For an introduction to the capabilities of the Portal, see the online tutorial.

South African Environmental Observation Network

SAEON consists of a number of biome-specific nodes, located throughout South Africa. 

The SAEON Data Portal is based on a collaborative platform for the sharing of earth and environmental observation data and its meta-data. Built on a meta-data repository, it offers support for several meta-data standards.

It provides extensive search capabilities that can be tailored to serve specific user communities.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Since 1963 the Species Survival Commission has been evaluating the conservation status of species and subspecies on a global scale - highlighting those threatened with extinction and promoting their conservation.  In 1988 all bird species were evaluated, and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals the conservation status of every mammal species in the world was assessed for the first time.  The IUCN Red List Partnership consists of BirdLife International, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), Conservation International, Sapienza Università di Roma, NatureServe, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Texas A&M University, Wildscreen, Zoological Society of London.

Biodiversity GIS

The South African National Biodiversity Insitute hosts the Biodiversity GIS.  The service is offered in the interests of assisting biodiversity planning and decision making by offering comprehensive and freely accessible spatial biodiversity planning information. The Biodiversity GIS provides tools, such as interactive mapping tools, for analyzing and applying the available biodiversity information.

Species Status Database

The South African National Biodiversity Insitute also hosts the Species Status Database.  The database provides basic information pertaining to the relevant species such as descriptions of their habitat, common names and distribution ranges. Amongst others, it will provide information on the status of species under the various legislation that govern species in South Africa as well as IUCN red data list assessments of the conservation status of species.


ZooBank is the official registry of Zoological Nomenclature, according to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN).  The Registry contains four kinds of data objects - Nomenclatural Acts: Published usages of scientific names for animals; Publications: Publications that contain Nomenclatural Acts; Authors: Names of Authors of published usages of scientific names for animals; Type Specimens: Type specimens for scientific names of animals.

South African Biodiversity Information Facility

The South African Biodiversity Information Facility is also hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute in an endeavor to facilitate free and open access to the biodiversity data of South Africa and in this manner contribute to the sustainable development of the country. 

One of SABIF’s main objectives is to promote the sharing of biodiversity data. It does this through creating and maintaining strong networks and partnerships with organizations working together to mobilize biodiversity data. Currently SABIF has mobilized more than 6.5 million biodiversity data records, including data on plants, mammals, birds, invertebrates, reptiles and fish, and through the use of the SIBIS informatics platform is able to very efficiently serve this data. SABIF also provides funding to support the digitization efforts of organizations throughout South Africa and in this way is able to encourage organizations to capture the vast quantities of data that remain to be captured in natural history collections, research organizations and herbaria.