Invasive alien species

Overview

Research relating to the threat of invasive alien species is among the most common areas in which use of GBIF-mediated data is applied. In 2012, for example, nearly one in five of all use cases identified fell into this category. Typically, researchers use data recording the occurrence of a species either in its native range or in areas where it has invaded, or both, to build models to predict its potential spread, thus helping policy makers to assess invasion risks and to design appropriate prevention, control and eradication measures.


Types of use

Recent studies have used GBIF-mediated data in research to:

  • Assess past, current and potential future spread of invasive species based on different climate scenarios and other parameters;
  • Assess the drivers behind the spread of invasive species, including the effect of human influence; 
  • Assess the impacts and risks of invasive alien species on extinctions of native species, food security, ecosystems and human health

Peer-reviewed publications using GBIF-mediated data to assist research on invasive alien species

Most recent 3 publications in this category:

see more...

 

Partnerships and collaborations

In 2012, GBIF joined the official launch of the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership (GIASIP), involving several partners in collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to provide the information needs to tackle this major threat to biodiversity. An online gateway, in pilot phase, brings together a wide range of information including species lists, research articles and shared experiences in dealing with the issue. GBIF is actively involved in the development of a central registry of invasive species with a particular focus on standardization an interoperability challenges. From October 2013, GBIF Secretariat assumed the role of primary focal point and coordinator of this partnership, under an agreement with the CBD.

 

Climate change

Overview

The relationship between climate and biodiversity lies at the heart of much of the science informed by data accessed through GBIF. Studies in this category overlap with most of the other science relevance areas, and range from investigations into the influence of ancient climate shifts on species distributions, to projections of the impacts of future climate change on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides to people and their livelihoods. Researchers commonly combine climate data and scenarios with species occurrence data discovered through GBIF, generating models to support predictions and adaptation strategies.


Types of use

Recent studies have used GBIF-mediated data in research to:

  • Predict the ability of tropical forest species to survive climate change through migration to more suitable locations;
  • Undertake global modelling of thousands of species to estimate the likely impact of climate change on species distributions according to different scenarios;
  • Investigate the influence of climate change on invasive alien species, agriculture, human health and other factors linking biodiversity with livelihoods.

Peer-reviewed publications using GBIF-mediated data to assist research on impacts of climate change on biodiversity

Most recent 3 publications in this category:

see more...

Partnerships and collaborations

GBIF has been a partner in the Wallace Initiative, aimed at assessing climate change impacts on species distributions, mapping potential wildlife corridors and assisting protected area design. GBIF also holds observer status at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Conservation


Overview

Conservation biologists rely on species locality records to create range maps, prepare threat assessments, and predict future shifts in distribution and potential ranges. Free, online availability of aggregated occurrence through networks such as GBIF greatly reduces the cost of conservation research, which previously relied on personal observations by researchers or museum specimen records and tags. GBIF also gives local and regional conservation managers, often with limited resources, free access to species data for their area.


Types of use

Recent studies have used GBIF-mediated data to:

  • Forecast the future effectiveness of existing protected areas in Brazil to conserve key forest species under projected climate change
  • Examine the role of rare species in protecting critical functions of ecosystems
  • Estimate the correct spacing of marine protected areas based on fish dispersal distances

Peer-reviewed publications using GBIF-mediated data to assist research on conservation, including threatened species and protected areas

Most recent 3 publications in this category:

see more...

Partnerships and collaborations

GBIF has collaborated with IUCN to publish and index the Red List of Threatened Species as a taxonomic checklist, enabling relevant information to appear on the species pages of this portal. Occurrence data published through GBIF also appears on the map interface included on the Red List website. GBIF is a partner in the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas, a project coordinated by the European Union's Joint Research Centre supporting the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network. (GEO BON). DOPA aims to provide park managers, decision makers and researchers with the means to assess, monitor and possibly forecast the state of protected areas and the pressures upon them, at global scale.

Food and farming

Overview

The links between biodiversity and agriculture, biofuels and fisheries form an increasingly important area of research, as society seeks the most sustainable solutions to meet the food security and energy needs of a growing population. The data published through GBIF helps scientists across a range of disciplines to develop research projects looking at questions such as distribution of wild relatives of food crops that may provide the genetic resources of the future; the impact of climate change on agricultural pests and areas of future suitability for different crops; and the opportunities and impacts associated with biofuel production.


Types of use

Recent studies have used GBIF-mediated data to:

  • Establish priorities for conservation of crop wild relatives (CWR) in Latin America and West Africa;
  • Assess future areas of suitability for cultivation of date palms according to future climate scenarios; and
  • Investigate areas of suitability for different biofuel crops and their potential impacts on spread of invasive weeds.

Peer-reviewed publications using GBIF-mediated data to assist research relating to agriculture, biofuels, aquaculture and wild fisheries

Most recent 3 publications in this category:

see more...

 Partnerships and collaborations

GBIF has close links with a number of organizations dealing with agricultural biodiversity. Bioversity International, for example, is an Associate Participant in GBIF and publishes several major datasets through this portal, including the European Genetic Resources Search Catalogue (EURISCO) and the System-wide Information Network for Genetic Resources (SINGER), each serving nearly one million records. GBIF Secretariat has also collaborated with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), based in Colombia, on projects to map the richness of crop wild relatives and how their distributions may be affected by climate change, helping to target conservation and priorities for ex situ collections. Research from CIAT on this issue is included in the 2013 GBIF Science Symposium, and is the focus of research of the 2009 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Prize winner Andy Jarvis, also based at CIAT.

Human health

Overview

Scientists and policy makers are increasingly interested in the connections between biodiversity and human health. While this area accounts for a relatively small proportion of the research articles citing use of GBIF-mediated data, it is an emerging field and includes modelling of vectors of human diseases based on climate change scenarios, as well as ethno-botanical research that uses plant distribution data to study the relationship between biodiversity and traditional medicines. Other areas of interest include using distribution data to analyse medicinal compounds in plants, and genetic characterization of human diseases and host organisms.


Types of use

Recent studies have used GBIF-mediated data to:

  • Predict the spread of monkeypox virus in Central Africa by modelling the occurrence of several mammal species believed to spread the disease;
  • Model the likely future spread of malaria-carrying mosquitos in the Neotropics;
  • Map priority areas for plant conservation in Australia based on the concentration of species of importance to Aboriginal communities for traditional medicine.

Peer-reviewed publications using GBIF-mediated data to assist research relating to human health and biodiversity, including disease vectors and medicines

Most recent 3 publications in this category:

see more...

Partnerships and collaborations

GBIF provided seed funding for the MosquitoMap project, a product of the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit based in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. This project is a clearing house for mosquito disease vector collection records and distribution models. GBIF's national node for Australia, the Atlas of Living Australia, has collaborated with the Customary Medicinal Knowledgebase (CMKb), based at Macquarie University, to integrate traditional knowledge with other information on Australian biodiversity.

Species distributions

Overview

A large proportion of research projects citing use of GBIF-mediated data deal in some way with the distribution of species. This area covers a wide range of scientific disciplines, helping to advance knowledge about past, present and potential future patterns of species distributions, and their connection with long-term global and regional trends such as climate shifts. By providing free, online access to large volumes of data covering multiple taxonomic groups over continental and planetary scales GBIF enables research not possible before, in areas such as macroecology, biogeography and evolutionary studies. Distribution data accessible through GBIF also support research into ecological interactions including those of pollinators and plants, and parasites and their hosts.


Types of use

Recent research using GBIF-mediated data has:

  • Tested hypotheses such as niche conservatism and the 'out of the tropics' model to explain present patterns of species richness 
  • Analysed the patterns of bee-plant relationships across South America and how they are influenced by climate
  • Predicted future distribution of parasites in North America by modelling the reponses of multiple hosts to climate change

 

Peer-reviewed publications using GBIF-mediated data to assist research relating to species distributions, including biogeography and ecology

Most recent 3 publications in this category:

see more...