New Season, New Faces, New Red Lists

 

As we moved through autumn and into winter we have had two new voluntary interns join the National Red List team at the Institute of Zoology to help with the National Red List (NRL) database updates. Meet Raelene Edwards and Chloe Davies! They have been getting to grips with the process of manipulating the data sent to us and uploading it to the NRL database and website.  Not such an easy task when Chinese, German or Spanish isn’t your mother tongue!  Two days IUCN Red List training has allowed them to get a better feel of the IUCN Red List assessment process, enabling them to understand it from start to finished product.

To throw our newest team members in at the deep end, we recently produced a summary of our NRL database for an information document submitted to the Conference of Parties (CoP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (note, CoP13 has just come to a close). A significant increase in the numbers of assessments processed since our last post in August, with 17,006 assessments uploaded in the last four months.  We are thrilled with the influx of new assessments, from as far and wide as Uruguay and Bangladesh! Please keep them coming!  The number of assessments in the database now stands at 228,026 entries, representing 132,672 unique taxon names from 147 regions, countries or sub-national entities (yes, we cater to all of these!); try picking a favourite species out of that lot.

Having said this, taxonomic coverage of our database suggests a liking for plants, mushrooms and invertebrates uncharacteristic for other Red List databases such as the IUCN Red List database. While on there – the gold standard for global extinction risk assessments of species – vertebrates are having an overwhelming share of the published assessments, the NRL database provides a treasure trove for assessments carried out on species often considered to be lesser known! Check out our summary table for taxonomic coverage of our NRL database from assessments covering the last ten years!

 

 

Criteria System

Taxon group IUCN Modified IUCN Non-IUCN TOTAL
Vertebrates 12,294 1,304 587 14,185
Mammals 2,132 206 65 2,403
Birds 4,106 345 373 4,824
Amphibians 1,691 82 45 1,818
Reptiles 1,673 125 101 1,899
Fish 2,691 546   3,237
Invertebrates 21,615 5,858 28 27,481
Insects 14,394 3,380 15 17,789
Arachnids 1,770 238 1 2,009
Crustaceans 1,318 159 1 1,478
Centipedes & millipedes 146 25   171
Other arthropods 112 2   114
Molluscs 3,434 1,961 10 5,405
Other inverts 429 73 1 503
Plants 41,076 10,906 10,242 62,224
Flowering plants 34,707 8,241 8,961 51,909
Gymnosperms 410 13 72 495
Mosses 3,012 1,364 679 5,055
Ferns & allies 1,901 959 526 3,386
Green algae 954 172   1,126
Red algae 87 144   231
Fungi and others 9,703 820 3,455 13,978
Mushrooms 566   449 1,015
Lichens 1,867   1,194 3,061
Brown algae 67 30   97

Taxonomic coverage of National Red Lists carried out since 2006 by criteria system used.

 

The team has been raising awareness of NRL work during a Twitter takeover of the @biotweeps account on the 17th November. To catch up with what you missed on the day – or to relive the day – check out our previous blog on the event!  The effort proved successful as there has been an increase in the number of followers of the National Red List project on social media.  You too can follow us at @NationalRedList, ask us a question on your favourite species, find out its status in your region, or get in touch with us if you would like to submit National Red List data to the project.

As the year draws to a close, an important next step for us in 2017 is the continued work to upload all of the NRL data submitted to the project by the end of January.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of Rae and Chloe, we’re hopeful that our target is achievable. We are also very grateful to the Rufford Foundation for its continued support of the project! We are hoping that with the data upload completed, we can produce analyses on the state of NRLs worldwide, thus further pushing forward NRL development. So keep an eye out for us in 2017 too! Lastly, our database and website are due an overhaul and we will be focusing on making them more streamlined and aligned with that held by the IUCN Red List.

So no rest for the NRL team quite yet – but to all our friends, contributors, supporters and Twitter followers a very happy New Year 2017!

 

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