Checklists of species are essential tools for taxonomy, ecology, distributional research and conservation. They also form the basis for legislature regarding protected species. Their dynamic nature means that they need continuing update, as new species are discovered, newly recorded from our region, or found to be incorrectly reported following new research. For Britain, the UK Species Inventory (https://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/uk-species.html) is maintained by the Natural History Museum, and provides the species database underpinning biological recording for the UK (see particularly the National Biodiversity Network's NBN Atlas). It is also the basis for recording for many of the specialist societies that focus on biodiversity, and the network of local recording hubs. The UKSI is dependent on external resources (principally those listed below) for addition of new species and taxonomic updates.
Britain and Ireland have extensive historical resources on which checklists have been developed, but currently investment is limited in their updating and curation. There are currently three major ongoing projects.
The Ascomycota comprise around 70% of the 15000-odd species of fungi recorded for Britain and Ireland. The checklist has not been subject to a major revision since 1985, since when probably at least 25% of the species included require some change in their status. A project to update the list is ongoing at Kew, and periodically spreadsheets giving a skeleton outline of the list and its annotations will be posted here. Please note that these are made available as provisional documents, and should not be cited as formal evidence of the presence of particular species. The spreadsheet is largely self-explanatory, but if there is an entry (Y, N or ?) in the "Accepted" column, that is an indication that some basic attempt at update has been made.
Lichens and lichenicolous fungi
The species included in this biological grouping are updated regularly by the British Lichen Society, and the resulting Taxon Dictionary is accessible online (with a spreadsheet download facility) at https://www.britishlichensociety.org.uk/resources/lichen-taxon-database. Species are also included in the overall Ascomycota and Basidiomycota checklists, but for most purposes the BLS list will be more up-to-date for the species included.
A major checklist of the British and Irish Basidiomycota was published by Kew in 2005, and a series of updates have been made available as pdfs (these can be downloaded from the table below). The updated checklist has been published as an online database at https://basidiochecklist.science.kew.org/ along with much useful accompanying data, but the future of this resource is currently uncertain due to changing policies on web accessibility.
|Updates to the Checklist of the British and Irish Basidiomycota
|1-6 (compendium), compiled by Antony Burnham
|7-11 (compendium), compiled by Martyn Ainsworth