Document number

not applicable

Maintenance Authority

not applicable


The objectives are to provide a standard reference system for information on names (scientific and common) and associated classification (taxonomy) for biological species that can be used to help support exchange and comparison of biological and/or geospatial data sets in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).  The proposed standard will support the implementation of  the existing FGDC Vegetation Classification Standard, the FGDC Wetlands Classification Standard, and the proposed Biological Data Profile of the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, as well as other biologically related FGDC standards, by serving as the standard reference for biological nomenclature and taxonomy information for use in these FGDC standards. 

It should be clarified that individual species names or classifications will not be standardized in this effort.  The proposed standard will not constitute or create (or require the use of ) a single, non-dynamic listing of biological species names and associated classifications.  Rather, the proposed standard will provide a consistent reference system or database framework for maintaining and representing dynamic, scientifically credible biological taxonomy and nomenclature information..  This information can then be used as needed as a consistent reference source for aiding in the discovery, comparison, exchange, and integration of  biological and geospatial data sets throughout the NSDI.    Mechanisms for incorporating and tracking changes in biological nomenclature and taxonomy, and which allow for multiple names and classifications to be represented, will be an important part of the proposed standard. 


This standard will focus on providing a consistent reference system for maintaining and representing dynamic, scientifically based information on scientific and common names (including scientific synonyms) for plant, animal, fungal, moneran and protist species.  By providing this reference system, the proposed standard will help facilitate discovery, comparison, exchange, and integration, through the NSDI, of any biological and/or geospatial data set (or related information product) that includes scientific names of species (or higher taxonomic groups) as part of its data structure. 

Sponsored by

Biological Data Working Group

Project history

Proposal  1999-07-22 FGDC Standards Working Group