International Committee

on Bionomenclature (ICB)

Bionomenclature Across
All Groups of Organisms

The International Committee on Bionomenclature (ICB) was created in 1995 by joint decision of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) and the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS) to explore ways and means to harmonise the various sets of international rules governing the creation and use of scientific names of organisms.

It is an international scientific, non-commercial membership association of unlimited duration, affiliated with its Founding Unions and reporting to their General Assemblies and Congresses.

The objectives of the ICB are:
  • To serve as the inter-Union scientific body for Organismal Nomenclature (Bionomenclature) within ICSU and to both Founding Unions.
  • To provide a forum for discussion between representatives of the various organisations and committees responsible for the international rules governing the scientific names of extant and fossil organisms.
  • To explore issues of common concern to the aforementioned organisations and committees with a view to identifying and implementing common solutions.
  • To promote the understanding of organismal nomenclature amongst biologists as a whole through the organization of workshops and symposia at appropriate scientific meetings and through publication.
In fulfilment of its objectives the ICB will, in particular:
  • Pursue work on the BioCode so as to make it an appropriate instrument to govern the nomenclature of all extant and fossil taxa in the future, and to work toward its adoption by the World’s biologists.
  • Promote the set-up of a system for the mandatory declaration of future nomenclatural acts such as the creation of new scientific names of organisms.
  • Encourage efforts toward registration of scientific organismal names of the past, so as to protect and stabilize those that are useful as tags in the handling of taxon-relevant data.
  • Work toward the resolution of issues relating to organisms that are or have been treated as covered by more than one of the existing sets of nomenclatural rules.

The current Programme of the ICB concentrates on the drafting of an entirely new edition of the BioCode, which is to be discussed and revised at the various international meetings such as the International Congress on Systematic and Evolutionary Biology (Biosystematics Berlin 2011, February 21-27, 2011(ICSEB VII)), the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne, August 2011, the International Zoological Congress in Haifa in 2012. In addition, the ICB including the IUBS Programme Group will meet once a year to discuss and implement the revisions. At the Biosystematics Berlin 2011, February 21-27, 2011, a resolution concerning the Draft BioCode 2011 was passed (IOSEB VII resolution as pdf).

Work on the BioCode is supported by the IUBS, in the frame of the Union’s Scientific Programme, through its Programme on Biological Nomenclature.