Sometimes naming a thing – giving it a name or discovering its name – helps one to begin to understand it.— Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler
Taxonomy, the science of naming and classifying organisms, is the backbone of conservation. After all, we need a standardized way of naming and referring to organisms if we are to know what to conserve and communicate that with others.
Like all scientific disciplines, however, taxonomy evolves over time. We discover new species and acquire data that changes our understanding of how organisms are related to each other. While these discoveries are important and exciting, they can also lead to confusion as people try to reconcile old names with new ones.
As a result, scientists, natural resource managers, and members of the public need an easy and reliable way to keep track of changes in nomenclature.
The Fauna of Alaska is a synonymized, taxonomic checklist of vertebrates in Alaska. It includes the accepted names of all non-fish vertebrates in Alaska, and includes synonyms, misapplied names, and spelling variants. With time, we hope to develop a comprehensive list of synonyms and subspecies.
2023-10-19: Integrated updates from the Sixty-fourth Supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds:
- Added the American Goshawk (Accipiter atricapillus) following its split from A. gentilis.
- Changed English Name of A. gentilis from Northern Goshawk to Eurasian Goshawk. This species is accidental in Alaska.
- Changed English Name of Empidonax difficilis to the Western Flycatcher.
- Added Mictomys borealis as the provisional accepted name for the northern bog lemming (previously Synaptomys borealis).
- Listed Myotis keenii as the currently accepted name for Keen’s myotis, rather than Myotis evotis.
- Added 7 “new to Alaska” bird species per the University of Alaska Museum’s 2023 Checklist of Alaska Birds.
The Fauna of Alaska builds upon existing resources by the Alaska Center for Conservation Science and the University of Alaska Museum. The Fauna is compiled by staff at the Alaska Center for Conservation Science with support from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program and the University of Alaska Anchorage. We’d like to give a special shoutout to Kelly Finan for designing our logo.
Alaska Species Ranking System – Conservation assessments for vertebrates of Alaska.
Flora of Alaska – Taxonomic checklist of vascular plants of Alaska.
GitHub Repository – For all the octocat fans. 🐙🐱
You can cite the Fauna of Alaska project as:
Alaska Center for Conservation Science. 2023. Fauna of Alaska Taxonomic Database. Available: https://faunaofalaska.org