GBIF-mediated data used in one quarter of all IUCN Red List assessments

The world's most comprehensive source of information on global extinction risks now includes 147,517 species—41,459 of which are threatened with extinction

Danaus plexippus ssp. plexippus
Danaus plexippus subsp. plexippus observed in Querétaro, Mexico by Christine Cieslak Campelo (CC BY-NC 4.0)

IUCN’s network of experts have used GBIF-mediated data in 25 per cent of the new and updated assessments included in the recent update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ (Red List).

These latest Red List assessments analysed the extinction risk faced by more than 7,500 species, comprising hundreds of vascular plants, fishes, reptiles and amphibians as well as dozens of insects and mammals. Data-use citations of 140 downloads uniquely identified with DOIs improves the transparency and reproducibility of a portion of the 1,839 assessments citing the use of GBIF as a source of data in their bibliography.

The GBIF network's contributions to the Red List are not limited to data. A team from Uganda's National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFiRRI) led by Laban Musinguzi, currently a GBIF regional support contractor for Africa, examined Afrotropical freshwater fishes and contributing 29 new assessments, each of which provides direct links to GBIF-mediated data supporting their findings.

More than half of the assessed species included in the update are categorized as Least Concern, however, nearly 2,500 species are considered threatened (i.e., Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered), while 21 species are considered Extinct. This includes the giant atlas barbel (Labeobarbus reinii), a freshwater fish endemic to Morocco that was last reported in 2001.

Known for its migrations from Mexico and California in the winter to summer breeding grounds throughout the United States and Canada, the migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus subsp. plexippus) is one the new additions to the List. The assessors used GBIF-mediated occurrences to map the distribution and calculate the extent and area of occurrence, categorizing the butterfly as Endangered under Red List criteria A2ab.

"The IUCN Red List assessment for the migratory monarch puts the conservation status of this iconic subspecies into a global context. It is clear that more needs to be done to protect this butterfly and its unique migration," said Anna Walker, who, as Species Survival Officer at the New Mexico BioPark Society and member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Butterfly and Moth Specialist Group, led the assessment for the migratory monarch. She continued: "The assessment process was facilitated by the use of GBIF occurrence data. Distribution information is key to understanding the extinction risk of any species. GBIF is an invaluable resource for accessing accurate, up to date occurrence data."