International Symposium
"Data Retrieval Systems in Biodiversity Research"

St. Petersburg, Russia, May 22 - 28, 1999


Taxonomic Databases


The data base of the world's flea fauna based upon hierarchical classifiers

(FoxPro 2.5/2.6)

Database (76,000 records, 40 Mb) on the world fauna of fleas and their hosts - mammals and birds has been created in the FoxPro environment. The database comprises 6 tables - hierarchical classifiers of ZOOCOD2 standard. The tables include 3,900 records (1.1 Mb) for flea taxa, 8,000 records (1.8 Mb) for mammal taxa, 11,500 records (2.5 Mb) for bird taxa. The major factual tables present parasite-host relationships of 1,835 flea species with 544 bird species and 1644 mammal species (15,000 records, 1.2 Mb) and distribution of 1,835 fleas species in 40 zoogeographic regions (3,700 records, 0.4 Mb). The database comprises hierarchical classifiers of administrative territories (9,000 records, 1.8 Mb) and physical geography objects (27,000 records, 6.0 Mb) of the world and 70 smaller databases. The database is supported by 70 innovative programs. The single hierarchical structure of the basic tables provides for search and analysis of data. The general patterns of zoogeographic distribution and parasite-host relationships of the world's flea fauna were revealed by means of the database. The large size of the geographic tables and the large number of classification levels permits accumulation and generalisation of primary information on fleas' distribution in terms of administrative and physical geography. The development of the database assumes creation of a block of morphological hierarchical classifiers of flea structural features both separately and in relation to the peculiarities of their distribution and parasite-host relationships.

Zoological Institute RAS, Russian Academy of Sciences, St.Petersburg 199034 Russia.
Tel. (812) 3280711, fax (812) 3282941, E-mail:


Pluralistic database in systematics

Existent electronic databases on taxa of living organisms and on taxa names, as well as existent printed catalogues, have a common shortcoming: to create a database or a catalogue, a single classification is chosen which subsequently is regarded to be a "correct" one and is used as a basic classification. Actually many possible classifications can be presented, and it is necessary to input facts from many sources to a database, while authors of these sources accept different classifications. During his (or her) work the user of database changes his (or her) opinion about classification, and as a result of this the database becomes out of date, or the user feels difficulties to choose a single classification among possible ones, and the work is stopped. Here is suggested the principle of creating of electronic informational system, into which all classifications are input from literature sources as equivalent ones. Such informational system includes not less than three databases connected by programs. Being absolutely objective in relation to the referred literature, this informational system can be perpetual: it never becomes out of date, no doubts appear how is better to input data in it, and its volume is limited only by hardware possibilities. Database on Arthropod taxa names (which do not fall under the ICZN rules) made in collaboration with A. L. Lobanov is presented as an illustration of this principle.

St. Petersburg State University, Biological Faculty, Department of Entomology. Tel. 328-95-79. E-mail


The taxonomic databases on the Umbelliferae: current state

(GNOM; CARUM; ASIUM; FoxPro 2.6)

Since 1984 the multidisciplinary studies in the plant family Umbelliferae in the Botanical Garden of Moscow State University (MSU) have been accompanied by creating of specialized computer databases. Up to now the databases GNOM on the nomenclature and geography of the World genera, CARUM on the karyotaxonomy, and ASIUM on taxonomy and distribution of Asian species of the family have been elaborated. GNOM contains the data on 1013 valid generic names, 463 of which are accepted. A reference-book "The genera of the Umbelliferae. A nomenclator" (1993) was based on GNOM. Now the principal information from GNOM is available via INTERNET at join WWW-site of the Information System Lab of the Computer Science Department and the Botanical Garden of MSU. CARUM contains information on chromosome numbers and karyotypes of 1712 species belonging to 337 genera. The monograph "Karyotaxonomic analysis in the Umbelliferae" is to be published soon, basing on CARUM. ASIUM contains complete data on protologues, typification, distribution, synonymy and essential references for 2043 accepted species (277 genera), distributed in Asia, a continent with the highest biodiversity of the family. All the databases are permanently maintained and upgraded in MS-DOS environment under FoxPro 2.6 on PC-486 (66 Mhz). They permit to obtain numerous secondary analytical characteristics based on their data. Support: RFBR.

Botanical Garden & Computer Science Department, Moscow State University, Moscow, 119899, Russia.
Tel. (095) 9393479, Fax (095) 9392450. E-mail ;


ZOOCOD - conception of representation of zoological hierarchical classifications in the relational databases

Practically all databases created in Zoological Institute RAS have the taxonomic blocks. In the majority of these blocks the ZOOCOD2 concept (detailed description: Lobanov, Smirnov, 1997) is used to reflect the hierarchical classifications in the flat relational tables. For full representation of classification and synonymy in this concept next fields are used: LATNAM (latin name of taxon), RANCOD (taxonomic code of a rank), SYSCOD (digital systematic code), SYN (code of synonymy), ABBR (unique mnemonic code of taxon). In the last years, in connection with specifity of developments, using the standard Windows controls and dialogs, the concept ZOOCOD has undergone significant changes and now it is more correct to speak already about 3rd version. To described earlier field's set new fields KEY (unique digital code of taxon) and PARENT (significance of KEY for the nearest parent) are added now. These fields work with the TreeView Windows control for representing hierarchy of taxa as a tree. Though these two fields completely reflect multilevel hierarchy, but they are inconvenient for fast search all descendants of one taxon. For the decision of this problem the filling rules of the field SYSCOD are changed. Its significances are attached strict and full hierarchiness, width of the field is made equal to maximum number of hierarchical levels in the table, and for filling not only figure are used but also all symbols following for them. The field SYSCOD is filled by the special utility but the search of descendants of the given taxon is executed with lightning speed and limitly simple by superposition of the filter with a completely optimized condition. The rules of filling of the field LATNAM are changed too. Now in this field the full name of taxon (i.e. binomen for species and trinomen for subspecies taxa) is stored. Support: RFBR, grants 96-07-89086 and 99-07-90315.

Zoological Institute RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia, E-mail


Database on fossil marine invertebrates (DB PIN RAS)

A computer database on fossil marine invertebrates is being developed in the Paleontological institute RAS since 1991. The software was made by the authors; the data collected by specialists on particular groups. Both software and data are being continuously improved and updated according to current research tasks. Each record of the main table represent a taxon (usually genus; for some groups, data available on species level). For each genus (or species) an information is the following: taxonomic position, times of origin and extinction, morphology, geographical distribution (precision up to one square with side length 2,5o); additional taxonomic information: author and year of description, type species, holotype, synonyms. By now, the database contains information on almost 5000 genera and species (mostly bryozoans, trilobites, brachiopods, cephalopods, corals, echinoids). The database is aimed especially for quantitative analysis of macroevolution. The software makes it possible to select genera according to taxonomy, space/time position and morphology in any combination. The analysis of the sample includes plotting of areas on the world map; construction of tables representing the distribution of diversity, showing the number of taxa in each square of the map; calculation of faunistic similarity of the regions; study of diversity dynamics and rate of origination and extinction; survivorship curves; analysis of the dynamics of areas and durations of genera, etc. There is also a possibility of modelling of incompleteness of paleontological record, erroneous determination of geological age and imperfect taxonomy, and other ways of evaluation of reliability of the results. The database has helped to prepare 58 scientific publications, including three monographs.

Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya street, 123, Moscow, Russia. Tel. 095 9524006, Fax 095 9543815, E-mail


Electronic catalog of Siberian plants

(Visual Basic 5.0 / Windows95, Windows98, Windows NT; MS Access 7.0 / Windows)

Central Siberian Botanical Garden and Institute of Computer Technologies, within the framework of the project "GIS and Internet" of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, have started developing an electronic library "Biodiversity of Siberian Plant Life" (leader - academician I. Yu. Koropachinskiy). An electronic catalog of Siberian plants represents one of the units of this library, but can be used independently as a management data base system. Its interface was developed in Visual Basic 5.0 and works stably in the operating systems Windows-95, Windows-98 and Windows NT. The program on the hard disk amounts to about 700 Kb. A list of taxa Latin names is made up hierarchically and contains 137 families, 830 genera and 4303 species (and subspecies) of higher plants. Data on the taxa are similar to those published in "Flora of Siberia" (1987-1997). To work with the main screen form, one should choose a family, a genus and a species. Information is input and edited with the help of additional screen form obtained by pressing "Edit" key. One may input a reference to the number of volume, page, figure and map in "Flora of Siberia", give Russian names of the family, genus and species, a list of synonyms and indicate distribution in Siberia (13 regions) and outside Siberia. Input of the chromosome number, habitat characteristic, morphological description (which can be imported from another file) and figures (formats JPG and BMP) is provided. On pressing "OK" key, new information appears in the main screen form. A change of the taxa list and design of printed forms are performed in the program Access 7.0 for Windows and provided by common format of primary data.

Central Siberian Botanical Garden, Zolotodolinskaya str., 101, Novosibirsk-90, SB RAS, 630090, Tel. 3832-350-152, 3832-342-367,
Fax 3832-354-986, E-mail


Data base "Herbs of CIS (the former USSR)"

The following information about each plant species is presented in the data-base: 1) taxonomy; 2) areal; 3) the ecology; 4) status according to the Red Book; 5) shape and size; 6) outward appearance of roots, leaves, flowers and foetusis; 7) chemical composition of each part of plant separately; 8) objectives and mode of use under different diseases, contra-indications; 9) collections of herbes: preparation, applications. Information about chemical composition is taken from "The plant resourses of the USSR” published by of V. L. Komarov Botanical Institute RAS (St. Petersburg)". Other sections have been compiled from different sources. SQL language and menu are used for queries to DB.

Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol, 335011, Ukraine, Tel.0692-525642,


Computer data bases in biodiversity research of dendrocolous aphids of Byelorussia

(MS Access 2.0)

Data base “Dendrocolous aphids of Byelorussia” contains several blocks. The block of taxonomic information contains the data on taxonomic position of registered species and their synonymy (now only partially). The block of bibliography consists of two datasheets: "publications" and "personalia". Main block of geographic and ecological information consolidates datasheets, which contains the data on locality and datum of items registration, habitat conditions, collector name and presence of collection material, including permanent microscopy preparations. Information on registered host plants is presented in a separate block. Database filling started from families Lachnidae and Drepanosiphidae uniting mainly dendrocolous form. DB will allow to realize information support of aphidological collections and to serve as a manual on synonymy, host range, species distribution and bibliography of Aphidinea.

Zoological Department - Byelorussian State University, Minsk, 220080, Byelorussia, Tel. 017 2785518, Fax 017 2775535,


Data base “Auchenorrhyncha of conservancy areas of Central Byelorussia”

(MS Access 2.0)

Data base consists of several blocks. Taxonomic position of species is reflected in the block of taxonomic information. Complete data of geographical and ecological labels are stored in corresponding datasheets of the block of geographical and ecological information. Faunal publications are taken into account due to a presence of the block of bibliographic information. The data base allows to accumulate information on the biodiversity of Auchenorrhyncha of the conservancy areas, and in prospect - the whole Byelorussia.

Zoological Department - Byelorussian State University, Minsk, 220080, Byelorussia, Tel. 017 2785518, Fax 017 2775535,


Information system on vascular plant species of Central Russia

(DataEase / MS DOS; MS Access / Windows)

DB consists of 4 connected tables - main species names (2323 records), synonyms (1360 items), families (139) and genues (689) by Cherepanov's (1995) nomenclature. List of species is composed on a base of floristic information on Central Russian Nechernozemje (more 120 sources) as well as on the regional vegetation sampling DB. The following information for each species is indicated: Latin and Russian names; species life form by I. G. Serebryakov (1962) and C. Raunkier (1934); ecological properties of species by tables of L.G. Ramensky (1956), H. Ellenberg (1974), E. Landolt (1977), D. N.Tsyganov (1985), D.P.Vorobjev (1953); geographic origin and connection to various types of vegetation by A. A.Nitzenko (1969), G. M.Zozulin (1973), Ju. D.Kleopov (1990), O. V.Smirnova (1994), O. I.Evstigneev (1997); population behavior of species by J. Grime (1988) and O. V. Smirnova (1987, 1994). Species family and genus as well as synonyms are accessible by table connections. Possible source of species appearance (for non-autochthonous species) is marked. DB consists of 140 fields. IBM PC with MS DOS (DataEase DBMS) and Windows (Access DBMS) is required. Combined use of the DB with DB of vegetation sampling allows to evaluate ecosystem and plant species diversity of territories under the study. One can access succession stage of community as well as representation of potential flora (see Zaugol'nova et al., 1995. Smirnova et al., 1997, Khanina, 1996, 1997). Information on ecological and coenotic properties of species allows to identify functional groups of plant species for simulating dynamics of stand and soil vegetation cover. DB is convenient tools for student training in plant and community ecology.

Institute of Mathematical Problems in Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, IMPB, Puschino, Moscow region, 142292, Russia. Tel. (0967) 732848, Fax (095) 9240493, E-mail


The DB for researches of plant genetic resources: the genus Prunus (Rosaceae)

Characters variation of was studied on numerous specimens of the genus Prunus L. from the collections of the N. I. Vavilov Institute and VIR Herbarium. The information system using the DB information was created to evaluate the links of the intra- and interspecific differencies of plants with their morphological characters. The computer database which includes 858 records about 54 objects with 96 indices (characters of flowers) was formed for the evaluation of the share of genotypical and ecological variability in the variability system of Prunus cerasifera Ehrh.(Luneva, 1995). The stones of 500 cherry-plum specimens were studied and the database with 78 parameters was designed. The study was performed using the system of the complex scientific analysis of the BD of the genetic resources collections. This expert-system named statusmetry(Luneva, Razorenova, 1997). Analysis of the flowers morphological characters database was made for the specimens of three species from genus Prunus L.: P. domestica L., P. cerasifera Ehrh., P. spinosa L. This database includes 1186 records, 96 fields reflecting variations of 30 characters. The contribution of cherry-plum and black-thorn to the forming of each domestic plum specimen was studied using statusmetry (Luneva, Rasorenova, 1998). At present the database including the information about North American species of plums is forming. Support: RFBR.

N. I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry, Bolshaya Morskaja str., 42, St. Petersburg, 190000, Russia, Tel. 314 48 27; 311 61 17 Fax (812)3118762, E-mail


Information system on pathogens of weeds (JULIA)

The information system JULIA (for IBM-compatible PCs) includes a database of specimens of pairs weed-pathogen, subsystem of inquiries and dialogue help tools. Taxonomy of pathogens and plants is maintained as a supplement. The software is developed in Clipper / MS DOS. As the descriptors of search one can use the taxonomy units of plants and micromycetes, places of the specimen collection, disease and symptoms names. For the descriptors choice there are the appropriate menu and cartographic basis. Processing of descriptors goes in two ways - 1) selection of all samples of the specified (plants) pathogens , or 2) the samples only of those (plants) pathogens, for which the whole complex of the determined pathogens (plants) is established in DB. Information output is represented as characteristics of the specific pairs specimens or as the incorporated lists, to the screen, printer, in a file, and also in a temporary database. It allows to form the connected sequences of different inquiries. Transfer of JULIA to Access’97 / Windows 95/98 is started. At present DB contains the information of 2544 specimens collected in 41 regions, 19 areas of Russia (421 species of micromycetes, registered on 266 plant species) . Four species of micromycetes are new records for the investigated territory, 25 species are new records for plant species , 2 species are the new taxa.

All-Russian Institute for Plant Protection, 3, Podbelsky shosse, Pushkin, St.-Petersburg 189620, Russia, Tel. / Fax + 7-812-4704384, E-mail


Data base "Dendrophilous insects of the Baikal region"

(MS Access-97)

DB includes 7 blocks: an information on dendrophagous insects, data on their feeding plants, descriptions of biotopes, the list of the publications containing any items of information on the dendrophagous insect, the block of mathematical processing, the graphic block. The series of the files with information on the insect species form the block "dendrophagous insects". Central file contains fields with taxonomic characteristics of the insects, with information on their trophic relations and the natural lifetime, with information on the type of population dynamics and the geographical distribution, etc. Separate files have additional help blocks with an information about the used codes in taxonomy, zoogeography, etc. Help allows to avoid mistakes with filling a database and saves the disk space. The block of mathematical processing serves for statistical calculations and the cluster analysis. Graphic block allows to construct the reference maps that show the distribution of the dendrophagous insect species in the region. The new version of our database created with use of MS Access-7, has many advantages as compared with the database developed earlier. For example, it enables to input any information created with use of other programs. The graphic and cartographic data can have any format including the vector one. The supplement and database can be expanded by new blocks, such addition does not lead to a cardinal reorganization of whole system. It is entered in the already existing circuit without difficulties. The protection of the information is foreseen for DB and its separate blocks.

Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry of SD RAC, Tel. (3952)461595, Fax (3952)510754, E-mail;


To the database formation on fauna and references on tipuloids flies (Diptera, Tipuloidea) of the Caucasus

(Visual FoxPro 3.0/5.0)

Aim of the research is the formation of database (DB) on fauna of Tipuloidea (Trichoceridae, Tipulidae, Limoniidae) of the Caucasus. All the necessary bibliography had been as well as considerable collection materials were available. The bibliography database is thought to be one of the components of the more general DB on tipuloids flies fauna of the Caucasus. Bibliographic part may be regarded as the independent reference block with separate access. DB was organized in Fox Visual 3.0 (5.0) system with the usage of the object-orientation programming opportunities. Selection of the present system of programming has been stipulated by the need to make up the classes of information streams updating forms. Data model uses all the opportunities of the data relational support. The following fields will be used in the interface of the fauna DB: nomenclature of taxon, description of stages, distribution patterns, habitat selection, biology; regional lists of species. The compatible DB block of references contains the complete information on sources (publication code, author's and co-author's name, the name of publication in the original language, its Russian translation, complete data about the issue, Russian and English summaries, the list of species (for articles), data carrier. Text and graphic files have been created for 119 species recorded in the Caucasus. Support: RFBR (grant N 98-04-48122) and Biodiversity program (grant N 76).

Institute of Ecology of Mountain Territories, Kabardino-Balkarian Scientific Center RAS, 360000, Nalchik, Tel. 86622 22614, E-mail


Database "Reproduction biology of species of family Fabaceae"


Leguminous plants are of practical importance. International project ILDIS is aimed to systematics of leguminous plants. Database "Reproduction biology of species of family Fabaceae" is being developed at Perm State University as the reference tool for breeding. Types of a germ and endosperm, embryo sac, pollination, fertilization, the structure and development of anther and ovule are input for each species. The database has hierarchical structure. Data are represented as the texts and graphic images. Fast navigation is possible via the interface.

Perm State University, Bukirev st. 15, 164000, Perm, Tel. (3422) 396-626, Fax (3422) 337-571, E-mail


The computerized checklist of fungi of Ukraine plans for a second edition

Between 1993 and 1996, much of the mycological herbarium of the M.G. Kholodny Institute of Botany was computerized in a project funded by the UK Darwin Initiative. In a systematic progression through the collections, the information from each packet label was keyboarded into a database specially designed for this purpose. Altogether about 80,000 observations of living organisms were computerized in this way. The keyboarded information was then edited, and transferred to a fully-structured relational database, which was used to produce the book "Fungi of Ukraine, a preliminary checklist". Although this volume appears substantial, in reality, limited resources mean that there are many inadequacies. In particular, for some taxonomic groups, only a small proportion of the herbarium collections were computerized; significantly, also, no literature-based information was accessed. These inadequacies are now being addressed, as part of a new project funded by the UK Darwin Initiative through BioNET-INTERNATIONAL. Over the next three years, the remaining parts of the mycological herbarium will be computerized, and mycological literature relating to the former Soviet Union in general, and Ukraine in particular, will be scanned and abstracted. A second and much more full edition of the checklist will then be produced.

1 M.G.Kholodny Institute of Botany, Tereshchenkivs'ka 2, 252601, Kiev, Ukraine
2 BioNET-INTERNATIONAL, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey, TW20 9TY, UK


The Information System of the World Syrphoidea Flies (Diptera: Syrphidae + Pipunculidae)

(MS Visual Basic 5.0; MS Access 7.0)

The information system of the world Syrphoidea (Diptera: Syrphidae + Pipunculidae) flies fauna has been created in the MS Visual Basic 5.0 environment and based on MS Access 7.0 data base, is simple to use and consists of seven original PC Windows 95/98/NT programs, which comprise: 1) three separate Keys to World Genera of Pipunculidae and Syrphidae: IconographicKey, common multientry and VoiceKey; 2) Reports Maker 1.4 - for complete and/or local checklists and faunas generation; 3) Description Maker 2.0 - for the automatic or user-defined filling the characters databases and the morphological description generation; 4) Biomath 2.0 - for providing of simple statistic analysis and on its basis generation of wide range of charts. The data bases comprise separate genera, species, distribution, authors, bibliography, illustrations, static maps, diagnostic characters and common character tables. In total 42 tables include 1,900 species records and 199 genera records for taxa of the Palaearctic fauna, 900 species records and 90 genera records for taxa of the Nearctic fauna, 500 species records and 60 genera records for taxa of the Afrotropical fauna, 771 species records and 84 genera records for taxa of the Oriental fauna, 1700 species records and 82 genera records for taxa of the Neotropical fauna, 426 species records and 53 genera records for taxa of the Australian and Oceanian fauna. All includes extensive distributional, bibliographical, taxonomical and morphological data. The Complete Information System of the World Syrphoidea will be composed on 5 CD-ROM's and illustrated with more than 16,000 24 bit colour digital photographs. Support: RFBR, grants No. 99-04-49809, Russian Program of "Biological diversity", the collections of the Zoological Institutes, Russian Academy of Sciences, which obtain financial support from the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Russian Federation, grant No 99-03-16, were used.

Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St.Petersburg, 199034, Russia.
Tel. (812) 3281212, fax (812) 3282941, E-mail: or