A Standard Method for Abbreviating the Names of Fishes of the United States, Canada, and Mexico

Rebecca M. Krogman

Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 24570 U.S. Highway 34, Chariton, IA 50049. E-mail: [email protected]

Abbreviations for fish names are used by fisheries biologists throughout the data life cycle, especially field data collection and entry, sharing, and reporting. However, use of nonstandard abbreviation systems across North America hinders data collection, sharing, and communication among agencies, programs, universities, and other data providers. An ideal abbreviation system would yield unique codes for all species, while being intuitive, memorable, and stable over time, as well as providing for a wide range of scenarios such as naming subspecies, hybrids, and unidentified species of a known taxon. A standard abbreviation system that meets these ideals was developed using a defined rule set and implemented for fishes of the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico. Standard abbreviations were developed for 3,875 species, in addition to their respective genera and families. Use of the standard abbreviation system can improve data integrity by reducing worker training, use of ambiguous codes, and misinterpretation of shared data. Abbreviations facilitate faster data recording and entry, as well as brevity in writing reports and creating tables. The standard abbreviation system will be made available online for widespread use.

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