Data Sources & Name Standards

Accurate information about species and ecological communities at risk is essential in order to manage and protect them.

The Conservation Data Centre staff collects and assembles information from many sources including museum collections, herbaria, universities, published and unpublished reports, inventories, ecosystem mapping, theses, scientists and researchers, natural history groups, citizen science resources and the ongoing work of its own staff and contractors. This information is used for classification and mapping the locations of species and ecological communities at-risk and for status assessments.

Standards for Names and Codes


The CDC recognizes the following as the standards for the scientific nomenclature and taxonomy for Animals in B.C..

Mammals: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at:
Birds: American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online:
Amphibians and reptiles:

Crother, B. I. (ed.). 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding pp. 1–102. SSAR Herpetological Circular 43 .  Available online at


Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [Rhodin, A. G. J., J. B. Iverson, R. Bour, U. Fritz, A. Georges, H. B. Shaffer, and P. P. van Dijk]. 2021. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (9th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A. G. J., J. B. Iverson , P. P. van Dijk, C. B. Stanford, E. V. Goode, K. A. Buhlmann, and R. A. Mittermeier (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 8:1–472. doi: 10.3854/crm.8.checklist.atlas.v9.2021.

*where only one common name is provided by TTWG, NatureServe will adopt that name; where multiple common names are provided, we will keep the name that matches SSAR (Crother 2017).  

McPhail, J.D. 2007. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. The University of Alberta Press. 696 pp.

Paulson, D.R., and S.W. Dunkle. 2011. A checklist of North American Odonata including English name, etymology, type locality, and distribution. Originally published as Occasional Paper No. 56, Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound, June 1999; completely revised March 2009; updated February 2011. Online. Available:

Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2004. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

Eades, D. C., D. Otte, M. M. Cigliano and H. Braun. 2012. Orthoptera Species File Online. Version 5.0/5.0. available from 

Tiger Beetles:
Pearson, D. L., C. B. Knisley and C. J. Kazilek. 2006. A field guide to the tiger beetles of the United States and Canada: identification, natural history, and distribution of the Cicindelidae. Oxford University Press, New York, New York. 227 pp

Freshwater mussels: 
Graf, D.L. & K.S. Cummings. 2014. The Freshwater Mussels (Unionoida) of the World (and other less consequential bivalves), updated 15 November 2014. MUSSEL Project Web Site,

Turgeon, D. D., J. F. Quinn, A. E. Bogan, E. V. Coan, F. G. Hochberg, W. G. Lyons, P. M. Mikkelsen, R. J. Neves, C. F. E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F. G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J. D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: mollusks. Second edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26: 1-509

Platnick, N. I. 2012. The world spider catalog, version 12.5. American Museum of Natural History, online at DOI: 10.5531/db.iz.0001


Vascular plants: The CDC, in collaboration with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Biogeoclimatic Classification program, produces the provincial government standard for plant and lichen names in British Columbia (

The list follows the nomenclature and taxonomy of the Flora of North America (FNA), which is increasingly recognized as the standard for vascular plant scientific names in North America. For vascular plants that have not yet been published by the FNA, the BC CDC follows Kartesz 1999 and will also include some taxonomic updates for species that are newly described in the published scientific literature, if they have a validly published scientific name.

Changes to the nomenclature and classification of species on the BC vascular plant list are the result of an annual review of nomenclatural issues, herbarium review, and reports of new species to BC by the BC Flora Expert Committee.  English (common) names are compiled from a variety of sources (i.e. VASCAN, Washington Natural Heritage Program, Oregon Flora Checklist, Jepson eFlora) to best reflect usage in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds.  1993+.  Flora of North America North of Mexico.  19+ vols.  New York and Oxford.
  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, JT and CA Meacham. Synthesis of the North American flora [computer program]. Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden: Chapel Hill, NC.

Bryophytes (i.e. mosses, liverworts and hornworts): The CDC is revising taxonomy and scientific nomenclature to meet the standards of the ongoing publishing project, Bryophyte Flora of North America (BFNA) which comprises volumes 27, 28 and 29 of the FNA. For mosses that have not yet been published in BFNA, the BC CDC follows Anderson et al. 1990 and Anderson 1990. Liveworts and hornworts follow Stotler and Crandall-Stotler 1977 and Stotler and Crandall-Stotler 2005. Updates to BC CDC bryophyte nomenclature will be made as new FNA volumes become available.

  • Anderson L.E., Crum H.A., Buck W.R. 1990. List of the mosses of North America north of Mexico. The Bryologist 93(4):448-499.
  • Anderson L.E. 1990. A checklist of sphagnum in North America north of Mexico. The Bryologist 93(4):500-501.
  • Bryophyte Flora of North America. 2015. (accessed October 21, 2015).
  • Stotler R.E. and B. Crandall-Stotler B. 1977. A checklist of the liverworts and hornworts of North America. The Bryologist 80(3):405-428.
  • Stotler, R. E. and B. Crandall-Stotler. 2005. A revised classification of the Anthocerotophya and a checklist of the Hornworts of North America, north of Mexico. Bryologist 108(1): 16-26.

Lichens: The CDC generally  follows  the taxonomy and scientific nomenclature of:

  • Esslinger, T.L. 2015. A cumulative checklist for the lichen-forming, lichenicolous and allied fungi of the continental United States and Canada. Version 20. North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND. (accessed: October 21, 2015).


  • Species Fungorum. 2018. June 16 last update. In Index Fungorum-Species Fungorum Access database. Species Fungorum Partnership (CABI, ITIS, Catalogue of Life).

Ecological communities have been documented in British Columbia through a variety of sources:

Vascular and non-vascular plant names used in the names of ecological communities follow the plant name standards used by the CDC. The CDC in collaboration with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Biogeoclimatic Classification program, produces the provincial government standard for plant and lichen names in British Columbia (

Ecological community names based on BEC plant association names follow BEC ecosystem naming conventions.  In some cases, the ecological community names will not include subspecies or varieties and/or may limit the names to genus only when warranted by the natural variability of plant species composition.

Note: Currently, plant species codes are not available in Explorer Search tools for Ecological Communities.

The CDC invites anyone interested to submit documentation of animals, plants and ecological communities.