Milestones reached

BioNomenclature 2013

The main focus of activty was the discussion of nomenclature in the context of increased role for molecular data as the prmary taxobase underpinning taxonomic decsions. The symposium in Vienna (details below) was a premier opportunity to do this, and the collaborative links were followed through in additional meetings. New collabortions and further meetings are planned as a result.
The key unifying mechanism for all the components discussed by the ICB in recent years is a unified system of digital nomenclature (as indicated in last year’s ICB report to IUBS). The sope of the programme should thus be shifted to Nomenclature in an age of Big Data as the next major item on the agenda for ICB consideration. An informal working group with extensive experience in this topic has been convened, including a number of chief executives of relevant projects (e.g., GBIF, Smithsonian, ZooBank, etc.). This group has had a number of Skype meetings and drafted planning documents to launch a cross-taxonmic, global digital system for nomeclatural information access, with an aim to hold a workshop, paired with a major symposium, on digital nomenclature in Septmeber 2014. The ICB will provide the core participants for the workshop, with additional funding and hosting by the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA and Oxford University, UK.

BioNomenclature 2012

We reviewed input on the Draft BioCode (2011) and emerged satisfied that a single typological Code for the future covering all organisms is feasible, provided that there were exceptions for some special groups. The workshop decided that it would be premature to seek its formal adoption by IUBS and IUMS because: (1) the increasing convergence in the Special Codes, and (2) the development in new digital models for handling nomenclatural information. The Committee was pleased to note that elements of the Draft BioCode (2011) were being incorporated into the Special Codes. It was determined that the BioCode would continue to serve as a framework to influence the development of future typological Codes. As harmonization of the principle terms used by the Codes will facilitate inter-Code discussions, the committee published its recommendations on terminology (David et al. 2012: Biological nomenclature terms for facilitating communication in the naming of organisms. ZooKeys 192: 67–72). Three new areas were identified as requiring particular attention; (1) the naming of organisms in an era of molecular-based discovery; (2) challenges with ambiregnal organisms, (3) the changing electronic environment for handling names.

BioCode 2011

The Draft BioCode 2011 was published in January 2011, both on the project's webpage and separately in Bionomina, Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, and Taxon. A symposium to present the new draft to biosystematists, "Modernizing the Nomenclatural Codes to meet future Needs of Scientific Communities (BioCode)", was convened during Biosystematics 2011 (incorporating the VII International Congress of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology) in Berlin on 23 February 2011. A round-table debate followed the formal presentations, which enabled many features on the new draft to be further explained and concerns aired. The new draft was approved in principle by the Congress subject to finalization of the BioCode in the light of comments received from biologists as a whole. In order to facilitate the views of the widest possible range of biologists, a mechanism for posting comments has been established through the International Commission on Zoological Nomencalture's website.

Impacts on education

Increased awareness amongst biosystematists and biologists as a whole of possible simplifications in the nomenclatural aspects of taxonomic procedures in the future.

Relevance for the scientific community

High; a further step towards a more cohesive approach to the future naming of organisms of all kinds, which will increase harmonization in approaches to common issues in the existing Codes of Nomenclature, as well as the BioCode.

Development of partnership

In including key current officers and other representatives from the different internationally mandated nomenclatural bodies, the programme fosters inter-disciplinary dialogue.


In addition to the novel features of the The Draft BioCode (2011) itself, i.e. innovations relating to maximizing the use of web-based electronic systems for the registering and publication of names of organisms, the programme also involves the international community of biologists through symposia and web-based fora.

BioCode 2010

An up-dated version of the Draft BioCode 1997 was circulated to a working group of the IUBS/IUMS International Committee on Bionomenclature for discussion in September 2010, prior to a workshop convened at the Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum in Berlin on 21-23 October 2010. This was attended by 13 members representing different groups of organisms, and who were involved in the bodies concerned with biological nomenclature. The draft was discussed in detail and revised, and the procedure for obtaining inputs and views from a wide range of taxonomists agreed. The Draft BioCode 2011 was then released through the Committee's website []and also for publication in Bionomina, the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, and Taxon. A session devoted to the initiative has been planned for the International Congress of systematic and Evolutionary Biology to be held in Berlin on 21-27 February 2011. A book "Terms used in bionomenclature: the naming of organisms (and plant communities)" prepared in support of the programme was also finalized and published.