The Parasite Extinction Assessment & Red List: an open-source, online biodiversity database for neglected symbionts


Parasite conservation is a rapidly growing field at the intersection of ecology, epidemiology, parasitology, and public health. The overwhelming diversity of parasitic life on earth, and recent work showing that parasites and other symbionts face severe extinction risk, necessitates infrastructure for parasite conservation assessments. Here, we describe the release of the Parasite Extinction Assessment & Red List (PEARL) version 1.0, an open-access database of conservation assessments and distributional data for almost 500 macroparasitic invertebrates. The current approach to vulnerability assessment is based on range shifts and loss from climate change, and will be expanded as additional data (e.g., host-parasite associations and coextinction risk) is consolidated in PEARL. The web architecture is also open-source, scalable, and extensible, making PEARL a template for more efficient red listing for other high-diversity, data-deficient groups. Future iterations will also include new functionality, including a user-friendly open data repository and automated assessment and re-listing.