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Ecokeys
What we do?

Ecotaxonomy database is a platform developed to integrate ecological research and taxonomy, and, more in general, the morphology of organisms.

Ecotaxonomy is a repository for identification characters and ecological traits of species and morphospecies. Further, Ecotaxonomy is a tool for data management in ecological projects. Ecotaxonomy aims to integrate ecological research to global online repositories in real time. As a publicly available output, we provide a pictorial catalogue and interactive identification keys for certain taxa.

At present, Ecotaxonomy is linking ecological and taxonomical work within the interdisciplinary research project EFForTS in Indonesia www.uni-goettingen.dewith focus on soil and arboreal arthropods. For the future, we envisage the database to cover a wide range of organisms and regions. Our next steps are to include our projects in Europe and Ecuador.

The Ecotaxonomy team
Photo by Makarov K.V.
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Projects
The Ecotaxonomy database is a platform developed to integrate ecological research.
Partners
University of Göttingen
The University of Göttingen is an internationally renowned research university and is one of the largest universities in Germany. University of Göttingen hosts the database server and administration. The idea of the database was evolved in these walls.
Centrum für Naturkunde (CeNak)
The “Centrum für Naturkunde” center for natural history at the University of Hamburg has one of the largest Insect and Arachnid collections in Europe and is aimed to bridge the gap between academia and the general public. CeNak is in the boat with their taxonomic expertise in arachnology and entomology.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility is an international network and research infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth. GBIF is providing the taxonomic backbone for the Ecotaxonomy database. With regular updates we keep species names and taxonomy up to date. In the future we will establish direct link to provide GBIF with our data.
The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)
The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) is a world-class research institute that uses its research to enhance Indonesia’s competitiveness LIPI is the node between the EFForTS project and Indonesia. Type material of species, described during our research activities in Indonesia is deposited in LIPI.
Bogor Agricultural University (IPB)
Institute Pertanian Bogor (IPB) is an agricultural university with the competence in the field of agriculture, bioscience, and various fields related. IPB is a scientific partner of the EFForTS project in Indonesia.
University of Jambi (UNJA)
The University of Jambi initiates and ensures access to high-quality education, affordable for the whole society on the basis of principals of equality to develop knowledge, technology and arts. UNJA is a scientific partner of the EFForTS project in Indonesia.
Complex Cloud Solutions, LLC
Development, implementation and support of high-loaded cloud service and aggregators of any complexity.
Ecotaxonomy database service

Species are the main actors in environmental science and conservation politics. The knowledge of species diversity and composition is the foundation for studies on ecosystem functioning, community ecology ect.. But what makes a species so valuable? Apart from the aesthetic aspect, it is the ecosystem role that this species plays. On the global scale, only little is known on ecosystem roles of different species. This is especially true for tropical regions, where species are numerous and at the same time biological diversity remains undescribed. Ecological roles of species to an extent can be inferred from their morphology, allowing to extrapolate existing knowledge to unexplored regions and taxa. However, in most groups, the link between morphology and ecological roles is still not described. To fill this gap, we are developing a hub where people in different countries can together work on this task.

The Ecotaxonomy is a repository for identification characters and ecological traits of species and morphospecies. Our taxonomic backbone is based on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), which is being further attached with flexible system of morphological and ecological parameters, pictures and literature. As an output we are compiling publicly available catalogue on our web site. In collaboration with specialists worldwide we use the data on morphological identification characters to develop easy-in- use pictorial identification keys for different taxa.

We further developing universal morphological grids for different taxonomic groups to integrate existing biological knowledge in morphospecies-based parataxonomy. The Ecotaxonomy is a morphospecies repository that provides standardized definitions and linked to conventional taxonomic system. We believe that developing standardized system for morphospecies is mandatory to improve inter-study comparability and is a particularly important first step in ecological research in unexplored regions.

The Ecotaxonomy is a tool for data management in ecological projects. Whenever web connection is available, all members of the research team around the world is up-to- date with the project activities. A single common taxonomic and environmental backbone is used for the project to avoid simple typing mistakes or redundancy. With this, consistent and conclusive datasets can be produced to investigate ecological questions. Project relevant data of study sites and environmental parameter are linked directly to taxonomic backbone, and species morphological and ecological traits. By this link, species or supraspecific taxa collected during the project connect geographical and environmental data to morphological characters and ecological traits. New taxa and traits added to the database during the project with time become publicly available and can be used by any other project.

The Ecotaxonomy database was developed in the framework of the EFFortTS project to manage the undescribed species and connect several people working on the same dataset. Initially, database was used for soil mites (Oribatida) from Jambi province, Indonesia. Successful experience with this group inspired us to further develop a universal system that can be used for various projects and groups of organisms. Identification key that based on the morphology of species is created by continuous work and can be improved anytime. Existing data can be easily uploaded to the database but primary way is to enter data during the ongoing research, which requires minimum additional efforts and moreover – can greatly facilitate the research process.