Taxonomic Thesaurus

This page describes the use of backbone taxonomic thesauri in Symbiota portals.

While providing foundational data to the science of taxonomy, Symbiota portals are not necessarily designed to be taxonomic resources. Other resources will likely be more up-to-date and carefully curated than Symbiota portals, which are designed for data discovery and curation rather than taxonomic precision.

Symbiota portals are built with a taxonomic backbone so that:

  1. Users can perform searches for occurrences of a taxon, and occurrences of that taxon’s synonyms will be included in the search results.
  2. Taxa can be linked hierarchically so that searches for higher taxa (e.g., families) result in lists including lower taxa (e.g., species)
  3. Data entry personnel can select taxonomic names from a pick-list rather than typing entire Latin names.
  4. Family names and taxonomic authorships can be auto-populated for occurrences with provided taxonomic names.

Curation of Taxonomic Information

The curation and accuracy of a portal’s taxonomic thesaurus depends largely on the community managing and using the portal. Some portal communities actively curate their taxonomic thesaurus, while others use it largely as a curational tool and update it sparingly. Users interested in helping to curate the taxonomic thesaurus of a portal should contact the portal manager or

The taxonomic thesaurus can be edited by superadministrators and users with express Taxonomy Editor permissions (see the User Permissions page for more information).

Multiple thesauri

Some portals include several backbone thesauri in case of, e.g., conflicting taxonomic concepts or authorities. One thesaurus will be displayed by default, but users can select between thesauri when using the checklist or list-viewing functions.

Cite this page:

Katie Pearson. Taxonomic Thesaurus. In: Symbiota Support Hub (2021). Symbiota Documentation. Created on 14 Oct 2021.