Post a composite review
Unpost a composite review
Search all MERLOT
Select to go to your profile
Select to go to your workspace
Select to go to your Dashboard Report
Select to go to your Content Builder
Select to log out
Search Terms
Enter username
Enter password
Please give at least one keyword of at least three characters for the search to work with. The more keywords you give, the better the search will work for you.
Select OK to launch help window
Cancel help


Advanced Search


Peer Review

Threatened Species



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.7 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.7 stars
Reviewed: Jul 08, 2005 by Biology Editorial Board

This Red List site is
managed and produced by IUCN-The World Conservation Union and is the most definitive listing of threatened species available. The information is kept in a searchable database. The IUCN has developed Red List categories and criteria as well as guidelines for application of these criteria. Standardized “authority files” are being implemented to ensure the same terms are used by all entries in the list. This site details the entire program as well as providing in depth information on individual species.

    The goals of the IUCN Red List Programme are to:
  • Identify and document those species most in need of conservation attention if global extinction rates are to be reduced; and
  • Provide a global index of the state of degeneration of biodiversity.

    To achieve these Goals, the Objectives of the Programme are:
  • To assess, in the long term, the status of a selected set of species;
  • To establish a baseline from which to monitor the status of species;
  • To provide a global context for the establishment of conservation priorities at the local level; and
  • To monitor, on a continuing basis, the status of a representative selection of species (as biodiversity indicators) that cover all the major ecosystems of the world.

Summary statistics concerning the number of threatened species are given. Material presented includes an excellent assessment of critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable species through regional, habitat, classification, and other categories. Pictures and descriptions are provided to accompany each organism for the past five years. An exceptional set of references and hundreds of links are included to help users learn more and get involved in researching threatened species. A frequently asked questions page is provided along with an extensive photo gallery. All-in-all, this is a first class site.

Type of Material:

Collection/Data base

Recommended Uses:

The Threatened Species site would be an excellent site to investigate the issues of endangered and threatened species at any level of education. They can be easily investigated by biome, habitat, area of the world, and type of threat. The statistics provided can be used to give students a better appreciation of the magnitude of threatened species on Earth. A series of good study lessons could be developed to educate students about threatened species.

Technical Requirements:

Basic site requires only current internet browser with the ability to view text and pictures.

Identify Major Learning Goals:

None specifically listed. The Red List is not a teaching oriented web site. The content could easily be adapted to meet educational goals at many levels. Users will learn about the distribution, make-up, and dynamics of threatened species throughout the world. Information can be used to comprehend the ever-increasing danger of diminishing species diversity and get people involved in preservation of vulnerable species.

Target Student Population:

K through college. Content is appropriate for the general public as well.

Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:

The site is designed to be accessible to a wide range of users; some background in biology and/or statistics may help users better understand the information. Use of web browser will be required.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.7 stars

  • A comprehensive source of information on threatened species world wide.
  • Each species listed has information on taxonomy, assessment of status, distribution, and detailed documentation on range, habitat, threats, and conservation measures.
  • Pictures are superb quality and add much to the content of the data provided.
  • Appropriate labels are provided for all aspects of the site.
  • Material is up-to-date and updated frequently.
  • Each entry has links to other sources of information about the organism.
  • The IUCN uses a standardized, rigorous process to identify organisms that need to be on the list.


  • Not all organisms on list are in photo gallery.
  • It might help to provide graphical representations of some of the data presented.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars

  • The material can be approached from a number of different perspectives—threats, conservation measures, habitats, etc.
  • Good organization of the site makes it easy for students to find information.
  • Numerous approaches to presenting data make it easy for students to understand information.
  • Assignments could easily be built around the information presented; they will be needed if students are expected to meet specific objectives through this site.

  • The site is designed for use by professionals who know about what species they are seeking information; it is not easily “browsed” by the casual user.
  • Use of the site by younger students will require considerable guidance.
  • Educators would benefit from a link that provides suggestions about how the data can be used in lesson plans or homework assignments.
  • The pictures help engage users in the material, but some video clips and/or animations might make the information more exciting.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.7 stars

  • Information in each entry is standardized and well organized.
  • An excellent search function that can be tailored in the ”Expert Search” mode; can search by country, biome, threat type to name a few.
  • No defective links were found.
  • The links are very fast and easy to use.

  • The site is so extensive that lists by country or habitat are not feasible; organization is only through the search function. This may not be intuitive to all users.

Other Issues and Comments:

This is the premier international site for information on threatened species. It has rigorous standards for adding species to the list and standardized procedures and terms to ensure uniformity. The entries are well organized and uniform across species. The search function is excellent. This is a great site to help give the general public and students a better appreciation for the sheer numbers and impact of diminishing species diversity. It is a much-needed resource for the Internet and the authors are to be commended for putting together the site.