Even since the establishment of the Convention on Biological Diversity
(1994), there has been much said and written about the critical need to
summarize what is known of our biota so that existing knowledge can be
integrated and a framework provided for new information. Unfortunately
beyond a few charismatic taxa, like birds, little has been done.
Flies, midges, gnats, bots and other two-winged insects represent a
major clade of life (order Diptera) and perhaps 10% of the described
diversity of the World (Thompson 2000). And while some dipterans are as
beautiful and colorful as birds, many others are of more critical
importance to man as vectors of diseases, pests of food and fiber, model
systems for research (Drosophila), precise bio-indicators for
conservation, pollinators of flowers and biological control agents
against weeds and pests.
The BioSystematic Database of World Diptera (BDWD) provides a
comprehensive portal to knowledge about these dipterans as well as a
framework to organize and integrate current and future data, information
and knowledge. The linnaean system of names provides unique information
keys within a hierarchical framework which can map our knowledge of life
from a historical (phylogenetic) perspective. Unfortunately after some
250 years of research, there are now too many names, including identical
names for different organisms and many different names for the same
organism. More than 150,000 species of Diptera have been described under
more than 300,000 names. The BDWD provides a nomenclator to find the
single correct name for each dipteran. A species database and WWW portal
is being built to allow information retrieval by other attributes and
linkage to WWW taxon-information pages. While BDWD is primary an
interactive web-based program the database is also archived periodically
on the Diptera Data Dissemination Disk, a CD-ROM based scientific
The challenge now is to review all the records within the BDWD and
assure its quality through appropriate review by specialists and peers.
At present, virtually all names have been entered, but only about 15% of
the species have been verified and peer-reviewed. Additional support will
allow for the completion of the data entry phrase, complete review and verification
of all family- and genus-group names, and a significant increase in the
number of species authenticated.
The BDWD is a FileMakerPro
application, consisting of 4 primary data files for family-group, genus-group
and species-group names as well as bibliographic references, from which
the two online databases are derived, the nomenclator and species
interface. A full project description is available in Adobe Acrobat
Reader PDF Format as well as our data standards and protocols.
Documentation on the other aspects of the BDWD is available as standard
HTML pages. See the listing to the left.