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Welcome to the Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment (FADA) Project:

The Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment (FADA) is an informal network of scientists specialized in freshwater biodiversity.

The FADA database is an information system dedicated to freshwater animal species diversity and expert-based distribution information. The system provides access to authoritative species lists and global distribution compiled by world experts for the FADA book (see below). You can Browse or Search the database online.

We encourage experts who are interested to contribute to the FADA initiative to contact us to request the most recent template for submitting information on species and distributions (regional, local). All submissions will be peer-reviewed by a scientific editorial board of experts (see Groups) before being validated (about FADA).

The FADA project

Following a preliminary phase -supported by DIVERSITAS and the Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique - French National Reseach Institute (CNRS)- to develop a gross estimate of the number of freshwater species ( Lévêque, C., E. V. Balian & K. Martens, 2005. An assessment of animal species diversity in continental water systems. Hydrobiologia 542: 39-67), the Belgian Science Policy Office (BelSPO), the Belgian Biodiversity Platform and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences provided the necessary support to launch the Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment in 2005.

This project consisted of a series of workshops in 2 phases:

  • Phase 1- A global assessment of freshwater animal groups, which resulted in the publication of a special issue of Hydrobiologia and in the development of the FADA database, following the FADA workshop in October 2005.
  • Phase 2- Analysis the data gathered for the FADA book and compiled in the FADA database. A workshop (see FADA Activities) investigating potential analyses was held in Bruges in December 2008.
FADA follow-up activities
  • From 2010 to 2014, the FADA database received new attention in the framework of the FP7 BioFresh project. BioFresh adopted FADA as the taxonomic backbone for its Freshwater Biodiversity Data Portal. The project also supported, together with Ghent University and VLIZ/LifeWatch Flanders a third FADA workshop. This workshop focussed on completing the freshwater checklists, especially for macro-invertebrate groups.
  • In 2014 we initiated the two year project AquaRES ("Aquatic species Register Exchange and Services"). This Belspo funded BRAIN project represents a collaboration with the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) which hosts the World Register of Marine Species and the Marine Biology Laboratory of the ULB which is involved in the Register of Antarctic Marine Species. In the framework of this project, we aim to improve and extend the data in FADA by updating the import procedures and ensuring that relevant data is synchronised with the two other aquatic species registers.
  • In May 2015, 4 leading European research institutes launched the Freshwater information Platform -, which integrates FADA through the Freshwater Biodiversity Data Portal and will hopefully foster the development of further follow-up initiatives.
Consulting and downloading FADA data

In addition to the options to Browse or Search the database, the FADA checklist can be consulted in various ways.

  • Pdf versions of the checklists are available on the Group pages.
  • Data can be searched through the species search on the Freshwater Biodiversity Data Portal.
  • Since 22/06/2011 the FADA data are available in Darwin Core Archive format. Click here to download the current version, released on 26/06/2015.
  • Since early 2013, selected checklist have been integrated in the Catalogue of Life.

News :

  • August 2023. We are pleased to announce that Belspo, the Belgian Science Policy, has approved a project to re-instate the FADA expert consortium and the FADA databases ! This project, called “Upgrading the taxonomic backbone of global freshwater animal biodiversity research infrastructures – infraFADA” will run from April 2023 till December 2026. infraFADA is a joint enterprise between the coordinating institute, the Royal Belgian Institute of natural Sciences (RBINS, Brussels, Belgium) with Koen Martens as promotor, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Department of Water, Atmosphere, Environment, Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (BOKU, Vienna, Austria), represented by Astrid Schmidt-Kloiber. The project will receive its own project website at the RBINS website by October 2023, where all news and progress will be reported. For further information, please contact the project manager Géraldine Mertens.
  • October 2021: After a period of relative silence, several initiatives are being taken to relaunch FADA! We have experienced some further delays because of COVID, as has almost everybody, but together with the partners in the FIP consortium ( we are working hard to update and upgrade FADA, both in (technical) form and in content. Keep an eye on this space!
  • September 2017: As an outcome of the AquaRES project, we established an agreement between Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment (FADA) and the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) to organise the exchange of taxonomic checklist data.
    See Aquares News for more details.
  • December 2015: As announced in the European Journal of Taxonomy, the period of public commentary on the revised proposal of species-group level names, and on the proposal of genus-group level names of the Candidate Part of List of Available Names (LAN) in the phylum Rotifera has started. The current version of the proposal can be found at or
  • October 2015: The report of the AquaRES editor meeting (along with the presentations) is available at
  • June 2015: Release of updated FADA database including the new groups Diptera-Chironomidae-Tanytarsini, Diptera-Culicidae, Coleoptera-Psephenidae, Coleoptera-Dytiscidae, Coleoptera-Gyrinidae, Coleoptera-Haliplidae, Coleoptera-Donaciinae and Gastrotricha.
  • February 2015: A FADA-related workshop will be organised in September 2015. Check the AquaRES webpage for more details.
  • Rotifer taxonomists, representing the community of rotifer scientists, are preparing a
    candidate Rotifera Part of the List of Available Names in Zoology
    (see Article 79 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature).
    The process to have this list adopted by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature involves two periods of one year during which all zoologists are invited to comment on the candidate part of the LAN.
    In the case of the Rotifera part of LAN, the first review period lasted from 31 March 2012 to 30 March 2013 and the rotifer taxonomists involved in the work have taken into account all comments received.
    An announcement inviting zoologists to a second review period will be issued soon. The revised proposal can be found at or
  • The special issue of Hydrobiologia Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment (FADA) can be consulted on the Springer website.
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