Task groups to help make data more ‘fit for use’ in key research areas


GBIF has assembled a pair of panels of international experts to explore how best to improve the use and application of GBIF-mediated data in agrobiodiversity and distribution modelling.

Each task group will assess coverage and completeness of data—often referred to as ‘fitness for use’— and lend its expertise to recommend approaches that could improve research and applications in these thematic areas. Their work is part of a broader strategy to engage expert communities of interest to understand how biodiversity data are applied in particular use cases.

“The discovery and use of relevant data is critical for research fields such as distribution modelling, an approach increasingly used for informed decision-making” says Dmitry Schigel, programme officer for content analysis and use.

“The two task groups will help improve the fit of available data for agrobiodiversity and distribution modelling research communities,” he explains.

The task groups will consult with other experts, gather opinions and share insights on data publishing and use. The groups also expect to document best practices for agrobiodiversity or distribution modelling uses and provide recommendations to enhance GBIF.org to support user needs.

Task group on data fitness for use in agrobiodiversity

Chair: Elizabeth Arnaud, who works with Bioversity International, has a background in data management and has coordinated the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS), the CGIAR System-wide Information System on Genetic Resources (SINGER) and the development of the Bioversity geospatial database for collected crop samples.

Nora Castañeda from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) works on assessing conservation needs of forest and crop genetic resources globally.

Dag Endresen from the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo and Node Manager of GBIF Norway, was previously Knowledge Systems Engineer at the GBIF Secretariat. He has experience in predictive modelling of environmental factors influencing adaptive crop traits, spatial data analysis, and gene bank data modelling including a proposed mapping between the Multi-Crop Passport Descriptors (MCPD) and the Darwin Core standard.

Jean Cossi Ganglo, Professor of Forestry at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin, and Node Manager, GBIF Benin, leads a research team on forest dynamics, plant sociology and biodiversity informatics.

Ebrahim Jahanshiri works as CropBASE coordinator at Crops for the Future and is involved in developing online knowledge systems for underutilized crops and customized cloud-based data management and computational engines for scientific research especially in the area of crop performance simulation, crop-climate matching and genetic resources. 

Yves Vigouroux, population geneticist at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) works on several crops of Africa and America and leads a team of researchers working on human activities and dynamics of plant genetic diversity (Dynadiv).

Task group on data fitness for use on distribution modelling

Chair: Jorge Soberón Mainero is University Distinguished Professor and senior scientist at the University of Kansas (United States).

Robert P. Anderson is Professor of Biology, City College of New York, City University of New York (United States). He leads a research group studying the ecological and evolutionary consequences of spatial patterns of environmental suitability, and has been deeply involved in the development and application of methods for modelling species niches and distributions based on museum biodiversity data, with emphasis on tropical mammals.

Miguel Bastos Araújo is Research Professor of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) at the National Museum of Natural Sciences and Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen and University of Évora.

Antoine Guisan is Associate Professor in ecology, University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and specializes in modelling the distribution of species, communities and biodiversity at multiple scales, with a particular focus on global changes, biodiversity assessments and mountain landscapes.

Jorge Miguel Lobo is Research Professor at the Department of Biogeography and Global Change, National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid (Spain).  He is interested in the drawbacks and possibilities of biodiversity data compiled at larger scales, the conceptual and methodological questions related with the use of distributions models, and the patterns and processes behind the distribution of biodiversity. 

Enrique Martínez Meyer is a researcher at the Institute of Biology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. His academic interests are in the field of ecology of environmental change, studying the responses of biodiversity to natural and human-induced alterations across temporal, spatial and organizational scales.

Townsend Peterson is Professor at University of Kansas' Biodiversity Institute

Photo: Peruvian potatoes. By Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service. Public domain image.