Can we make LPSN our official source for Archaea and Bacteria taxonomy?

Right now the high level clades are frameworked to COL 2019. The finer clades aren’t frameworked to anything, but it seems like they’re mostly COL imports. COL itself is using ITIS, which is using a 2014 internal list for some of the tree, and a 2012 list from DSMZ for other parts of the tree.

Rather than use 6-8 year old taxonomy, why don’t we go right to the source and get the info directly from DSMZ? They put out the LPSN, and it appears to be really the best source for Archaea and Bacteria taxonomy. It’s continuously updated and has an API.



As far as I’m aware LPSN/DSMZ are lists of published names, not taxa. i.e. they are nomenclators, like IPNI or IndexFungorum. Neither are the Approved Lists statements on taxonomy. I’m not sure how these lists deal with the higher classification. Perhaps that part is ok. I though the only resource explicitly dealing with taxonomic opinion in these groups is NamesforLife, which unfortunately is a closed resource (and used by all the journals of the Microbiology Society).

Maybe I misunderstand their statements, but it seems like they also express taxonomic opinions within LPSN:

“Among a set of names in accordance with the rules of the ICNP, the LPSN curators select one taxon name as the correct name. This is based upon valid publication, legitimacy and priority of publication. The situations in which the taxonomist has a choice between several names that could be regarded as the correct name are explained in an article freely available on the LPSN. Whenever several options are available that are in accordance with the rules of the ICNP, the choice of a correct name in the LPSN reflects one of the taxonomic opinions expressed in the literature; this process is thus not fully automated as there are exceptions. Crucially, the ICNP does not specify that the most recent validly published name is to be regarded as the correct name. Other researchers may well express distinct taxonomic opinions and the Code permits them to do so. The LPSN indicates alternative taxonomic arrangements, if any, in addition to the preferred one.”

And I guess the follow-up question is if LPSN is the source for ITIS, which is the source for COL, which is our current source anyway, isn’t getting the information from LPSN at least better than the status quo?


From what I understand, iNaturalist’s taxonomy prioritizes eukaryotic taxa because they are more likely to be observed and warrant more attention because of that. Personally, I would at least like to see iNat adopt official sources for prokaryotic taxa in the event that people want to currant them anyways. I think there are enough observations of bacteria and such to warrant officially integrate them into the tree.

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OK I have not seen that text. What I read was …
“The names in this list are “valid” only in the sense of being validly published as a result of conformity with the Rules of Nomenclature. The inclusion of a name on this list is not to be construed as taxonomic acceptance of the taxon to which the name is applied.”