The Taxonomy Unit is responsible for curating the scientific names and taxonomic hierarchy on BOLD, along with validating and improving the taxonomic assignments of barcoded specimen records. These tasks are conducted in collaboration with external databases and taxonomic experts in order to maintain BOLD’s global taxonomy and to assist external researchers interested in working with the voucher specimens stored at CBG. The Taxonomy Unit is closely integrated with the other units, especially Collections and Informatics, to provide taxonomic expertise and support for CBG’s internal research projects such as Arctic BIOSCAN and the Kruger Malaise Program. The Taxonomy Unit currently includes four full-time staff members.
The reliability of barcode-based specimen identification depends on the taxonomic coverage and data quality of the reference libraries used in sequence comparisons. Targeted sampling of families, subfamilies and higher taxa that are poorly represented in or completely missing from BOLD is planned and performed in collaboration with Collections. The number of specimen records on BOLD recently passed the ten million mark, and the rate of data accumulation is expected to increase even further in the future. To address the challenges posed by the increasing volume of data, the Taxonomy Unit is developing new workflows for curating taxonomic data, including new approaches for detecting misidentifications and improving the taxonomic resolution of records identified only to higher ranks (phylum, class, order). The Taxonomy Unit is also working on improving the documentation of taxonomic metadata (e.g. identification methods and authors of scientific names) and specimen annotation (type material, confidence in taxonomic assignment etc.).
For any questions related to taxonomy on BOLD, please contact the Taxonomy Unit through the BOLD support team at firstname.lastname@example.org