24 April 2015

Collaborator of the Week: Denis Lepage

Denis Lepage’s most notable work is his creation of a massive online resource on birds, the Avibase. As a passionate birdwatcher, it all started as a personal endeavour of having a catalogue for his own sightings. Eventually, it became more than that. The database is standing for more than 20 years now and it has been available online since 2003. It hosts an astounding 14 million records - encompassing 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds with details on their taxonomy, distribution and synonyms in many languages.

Aside from overseeing the database he founded, he is currently a Senior Scientist at the National Data Center, Bird Studies Canada. His resolve in creating the database is rooted in a disciplined organization of the entire bird taxonomy, with the utmost goal of  mapping out the evolution of bird taxonomy and devising concrete solutions for inconsistencies in taxonomic concepts and scientific names. In response to these nomenclature intricacies, he submitted a paper in ZooKeys (http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=3906)whereby his concepts are integrated in Avibase and can then be utilized by other taxonomic groups.

Furthermore, over 10,000 checklists from different countries and regions can be accessed in Avibase. This database encourages people to actively participate by contributing data and sharing their experiences. No doubt that many birdwatchers, along with educators and enthusiasts alike, find his database very useful and interactive.

Being a collaborator of SeaLifeBase, he has supplied invaluable information on seabirds. For that, we are grateful and hopeful for more years of collaborating with you. 

Biodiversity Heritage Library. Avibase, The World Bird Database. http://blog.biodiversitylibrary.org/2014/08/avibase-world-bird-database.html [Accessed 4/19/2015]. 

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