The Collections Thematic Centre

The Collections Thematic Centre aims to support the creation of the taxonomic backbone (taxonomic hierarchy, names, synonyms, etc.) of the LifeWatch-ITA infrastructure.

The Thematic Centre will contribute to the updating, standardisation and refinement of the data hosted by the infrastructure, making the already existing databases and sources interoperable and accessible through the portal. The Thematic Centre aims to increase and ensure online availability of biodiversity data from collections held by Natural History Museums, Research Institutes, National Parks and private collections.

Long-term goals

  1. The Collections Thematic Centre will develop its activities in line with the National Biodiversity Network (NNB) of the Italian Ministry of the Environment (MATTM) and its components.
  2. The Thematic Centre will coordinate its activities and efforts with the other Thematic Centres of the e–Biodiversity Research Institute in the development of the Italian Species Cadastre, contributing to the components dealing with systematics and nomenclature.
  3. The Thematic Centre will focus on the screening and selection of the available high-quality digital sources containing georeferenced and chrono-georeferenced data, filling the gaps in terms of geographical coverage, taxonomic groups, time series, etc. It will also organise and select the taxonomic databases, giving priority to those with large geographic coverage (preferably worldwide: Global Species Databases – GSDs) and to those recognised as nomenclatural authorities (e.g. AlgaeBase).
  4. The Thematic Centre will continue the updating, standardisation, refinement, maintenance and implementation of the data hosted by the LifeWatch-ITA infrastructure (including those pertaining to the Alien species showcase).

Start up

  1. Cooperation with the ICT Working Group in the development of the taxonomic basis of the LifeWatch-ITA infrastructure and the development of automated processing for name verification and data refinement, thereby creating useful tools for stakeholders.
  2. Continued screening of sources to implement the infrastructure, establishing Memoranda of Understanding and agreements between LifeWatch and the managers of existing datasets to make them interoperable and easily accessible through the platform.
  3. Development of standard protocols for the acquisition of primary biodiversity data from “Citizen Science” programmes.
  4. Digitisation of key data included in scientific studies not available online (e.g. taxonomic revisions), which could be essential for the operation of the platform.

Scientific Results

  • Initial selection of the main sources (e.g. PESI – Pan-European Species directories Infrastructure; CoL – Catalogue of Life) to be used  as nomenclature references;
  • Screening of online resources with high-quality occurrence data (e.g. CKmap – Checklist and distribution of Italian fauna);    Updating, standardisation and refinement of part of the data included in the Alien species showcase;
  • Refinement, standardisation, updating and partial digitisation of data for the core of the LifeWatch-ITA platform, i.e. the main  national database on terrestrial Isopods (Crustacea, Isopoda, Oniscidea), created by the National Research Council of Italy.


The Collections Thematic Centre has participated in several initiatives and developed networking activities with national and international institutions, research groups and project consortia dealing with e-biodivesity taxonomic facilities. These include the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the Pan-European Species directories Infrastructure (PESI) and the Italian Strategy for Biodiversity.
The Collections Thematic Centre has organised and participated in a number of scientific expeditions and Bio-Blitzes both in Italy and abroad (e.g. Vietnam and other South-Eastern Asian countries).
The Collections Thematic Centre is currently participating in projects including: NNB (National Biodiversity Network) – implementing datasets with DNA barcode sequences of the Italian fauna included in the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC)
CSMON-LIFE (Monitoring biodiversity by a Citizen Science approach for solving environmental problems) MIPP LIFE+ Nature (Monitoring of insects with public participation).
The Collections Thematic Centre participates in CETAF (Consortium of European Taxonomy Facilities) and organises taxonomic courses for:
DEST (Distributed European School of Taxonomy)
ANMS (Italian Association of Scientific Museums) – CollMap national project.


Luca Bartolozzi – Coordinator
Valerio Sbordoni – Coordinator
Fabio Cianferoni – Research Assistant
Stefano De Felici – Research Assistant

Contact Details
+39 055 2755116