The Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) provides national leadership and support for the discovery, naming and classification of Australia’s living organisms. We do this because information on Australia’s biodiversity, provided through taxonomy, underpins knowledge and decision-making across government, science and industry.
To increase knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity by documenting and disseminating fundamental taxonomic information.
The Importance of Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of discovering, naming, describing and classifying life on earth. Taxonomists provide information that is fundamental to our understanding and management of biodiversity. This knowledge underpins all other biological and ecological research, and contributes to effective decision-making for conservation and the sustainable management of biodiversity. Taxonomic information is essential in fields such as: protected area selection and management; regulation of biological trade; threatened species conservation; biosecurity and the management of invasive species; and understanding the impacts of environmental change on biodiversity.
Australia is one of only 17 mega-diverse countries in the world, with a rich and unique biodiversity. An estimated eight percent of the world’s plants and animals are Australian, yet only a fraction of these species are known to science. It is estimated that 75 percent of Australia’s biodiversity remains to be discovered and described.
What we do
For 50 years, the ABRS has been the national focal point for taxonomy and systematics, and a recognised world leader in helping to make taxonomic information widely available. The ABRS is responsible for facilitating taxonomic research and for producing and disseminating authoritative taxonomic information. Through these activities, the ABRS supports the science and decision-making essential for biodiversity conservation.
The ABRS achieves this through:
- provision of grants and training schemes that fund taxonomic and related research;
- development of strategic partnerships to document Australia’s biodiversity, such as through the Bush Blitz species discovery program;
- production of ABRS publications and identification tools, which contain authoritative information about the naming and classification of Australia’s diverse biota; and
- providing taxonomic information and advice about scientific names for Australian organisms.
The ABRS maintains close relationships with collaborating partners including the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH), the Council of Heads of Australian Faunal Collections (CHAFC), the Australasian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) and the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists (SASB). We also work with numerous professional bodies and scientific associations that have interests in systematics and taxonomy.