Environmental Initiatives



Rainer Froese is the project leader and coordinator of FishBase, the largest and most widely used biological information system available on the web. He was one of the architects of FishBase, having been involved since its inception in 1990 at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in Manila, Philippines. Previously, he worked on life history strategies of fish larvae and on computer-aided identification systems at IfM.

Fish are the largest group of vertebrates, with about 30,000 species, and interact with countless other species. Froese's research focuses on biodiversity and population dynamics of fishes with the goal of conservation and sustainable management in mind. He prefers data-rich approaches that emphasize commonalities rather than differences between species. He claims that the often-heard statement "Nothing is known about fish X" is usually not true because reasonable first estimates with error margins can be made for many life history traits if the maximum length and age at first maturity are known.

Getting the scientific names right is a precondition to any serious work in biodiversity. Froese therefore accepted in 1995 an invitation to join the Species 2000 Project Management Team, an initiative to establish an authoritative checklist of scientific names for all organisms on earth.

Froese considers the intelligent merging of available biological and environmental data as one of the main tasks of the new field of biodiversity. In 2001 he accepted an invitation to join an international committee to establish an Ocean Biogeographic Information System, which is intended to make use of the Internet by combining occurrence and abundance data for marine species with oceanographic data sets.



Ph.D., University of Hamburg
1990 - Biology, Germany

M.Sc., Christian Albrecht University
1985 - Biology, Kiel, Germany


1990-PRESENT- Project leader and coordinator

OBIS International Committee

Species 2000
1995- 2003- Project Manager Team


2003 - Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation


Société Française d'Ichthyologie

European Ichthyological Society


Froese, R. 2004. Keep it simple: three indicators to deal with overfishing. Fish and Fisheries 5(1): 86-91

Froese, R. and Sampang, A. 2004. Taxonomy and biology of seamount fishes. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 12(5): 25-31

Froese, R., D. Lloris and S. Opitz. 2004. The need to make scientific data publicly available – concerns and possible solutions. p. 268-271 In M.L.D. Palomares, B. Samb, T. Diouf, J.M. Vakily and D. Pauly (eds.) Fish Biodiversity: Local studies as basis for global inferences. ACP-EU Fisheries Research Report 14, 283 p

Froese, R., U. Piatkowski, S. Garthe and D. Pauly. 2004. Trophic signatures of marine organisms in the Mediterranean as compared with other ecosystems. Belgian Journal of Zoology 134:31-36

Froese R, Binohlan C. 2003. Simple methods to obtain preliminary growth estimates for fishes. Applied Ichthyology 19:376-379

Froese, R., F.A. Bisby and K.L. Wilson (eds.). 2003. Species 2000 & ITIS catalogue of life 2003: indexing the world's known species. CD-ROM

Froese, R. and Kesner-Reyes, K. 2002. Impact of fishing on the abundance of marine species. ICES CM (12):

Froese, R. and Binohlan, C. 2000. Empirical relationships to estimate asymptotic length, length at first maturity and length at maximum yield per recruit in fishes, with a simple method to evaluate length frequency data. Journal of Fish Biology 56:758-773

Froese, R. and Palomares, M.L.D. 2000. Growth, natural mortality, length-weight relationship, maximum length and length-at-first-maturity of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae. Environ. Biol. Fish. 58:45-52

Froese, R. and Pauly, D. (eds.) 2000. FishBase: 2000: concepts, design and data sources. ICLARM (344 pp). 4 CD-ROMs

Froese, R. 1999. The good, the bad, and the ugly: A critical look at species and their institutions from a user's perspective. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 9:375-378

Froese, R. and Torres, A. 1999. Fishes under threat: An analysis of the fishes in the 1996 IUCN Red List.. Towards policies for conservation and sustainable use of aquatic genetic resources, ICLARM Conf. Proc. 59, 277 P

Froese, R., Bailly, N., Coronado, G.U., Pruvost, P., Reyes, R., and Hureau, J.-C. 1999. :(): 697-7. Proceedings of the 5th Indo-Pacific Fisheries Conference, Noumea, New Caledonia (B. Seret and J.-Y. Sire), Society of French Ichthyologists, Paris, France.

Pauly, D., Christensen, V., Dalsgaard, J., Froese, R., and Forres, F., Jr. 1998. Fishing down marine food webs. Science 279:860-863

Froese, R. 1996. A data-rich approach to assess biodiversity. In: Biodiversity in Asia: challenges and opportunities for the scientific community (J.A. McNeely and S. Somchevita eds.). Office of Environmental Policy and Planning, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Bankok, Thailand, p. 127-136

Froese, R., Bisby, F.A., and Wilson, K.L.Species 2000 & ITIS catalogue of life 2003: indexing the world's known species (CD ROM). Los Baños, Philippines

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