What is the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species provides taxonomic, conservation status and distribution information on plants and animals that have been globally evaluated using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.

Our Role

IUCN Red List Authorities have been established for all major taxonomic groups included on the IUCN Red List. In our case, the IUCN Red List Authority (RLA) is the SSC Specialist Group for Seahorses, Pipefish, and Sticklebacks. RLAs facilitate species assessments for the IUCN Red List by collating data and maps and coordinating their review by well-qualified experts, and by contributing directly to the assessments.

Our Specialist Group’s role as the IUCN Red List Authority is to ensure that all species within our jurisdiction (all fish in the orders Gasterosteifiormes and Syngnathiformes) are correctly assessed against the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria at least once every ten years and, if possible, every five years . The intention is that no new species assessment will be included on The IUCN Red List until it has been reviewed by one or more members of the RLA. This review system places greater responsibility on the SSC network and its partners to ensure that what appears on the IUCN Red List is credible and scientifically accurate.

Learn more about IUCN Red List Assessments

You can learn all about the IUCN, the Red List, and the protocols used for the assessments in the online course offered by the IUCN. If you complete the course and pass the exam, you can even perform Red List assessments on species you are interested in. Contact iucn@projectseahorse.org if you’d like to help out with assessments of species within our remit.

IUCN Red List Online Course: Assessing Species’ Extinction Risk Using IUCN Red List Methodology

Further reading

In addition to the readings below, be sure to check the IUCN’s online Red List resources for further information on applying the IUCN Categories and Criteria, the IUCN Red List assessment process, training modules and more references.

Akcakaya, H. R., Butchart, S. H. M., Mace, G. M., Stuart, S. N. and Hilton-Taylor, C. 2006. Use and misuse of the IUCN Red List Criteria in projecting climate change impacts on biodiversity. Global Change Biology 12(11):2037-2043.

Butchart, S. H. M., Akcakay, H. R., Kennedy, E. and Hilton-Taylor, C. 2006. Biodiversity indicators based on trends in conservation status: Strengths of the IUCN Red List Index. Conservation Biology 20(2):579-581.

Hayward, M. W. 2011. Using the IUCN Red List to determine effective conservation strategies. Biodiversity Conservation 20(12):2563-

Hoffman, M., Brooks, T. M., da Fonseca, G. A. B., Gascon, C., Hawkins, A. F. A., James, R. E., Langhammer, P., Mittermeier, R. A., Pilgrim, J. D., Rodrigues, A. S. L. and Silva, J. M. C. 2008. Conservation planning and the IUCN Red List. Endangered Species Research 6(2):113-125.

Reynolds, J. D., Dulvy, N. K., Goodwin, N. B. and Hutchings, J. A. 2005. Biology of extinction risk in marine fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272(1579):2337-2344.

Rodrigues, A. S. L., Pilgrim, J. D., Lamoreux, J. F., Hoffman, M. and Brooks, T. M. 2006. The value of the IUCN Red List for conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21(2):71-76.



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