The biodiversity science lab of the future

What should be the focus of biodiversity informatics and how can e-infrastructures align with the needs of future biodiversity research?

Data resources used via GBIF : Opinion piece
Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sp.)

Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sp.) by Macroscopic Solutions. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Using the Atlas of Living Australia as a case study, this paper breaks down the needs of a future biodiversity e-infrastructure in terms of data, tools and overall framework. In addition to species occurrences as mediated by GBIF, the authors suggest that an e-infrastructure should integrate a range of equally important data, such as genetic sequences, morphological attributes, behaviour, habitat information and species interactions. To deal with complexities and ambiguity of taxonomic naming, the authors suggest a framework that allows differing views of taxa and operational nomenclature for species that are recognized but not formally named. Visualization of phylogenies will allow for better understanding of evolutionary responses to environmental changes, and incorporating a wealth of spatial biotic and abiotic factors is key to this. The infrastructure should provide tools for discovery, access, (gap) analysis and annotation while allowing users the ability to adapt such tools to their own needs.

Citations

La Salle J, Williams KJ and Moritz C (2016) Biodiversity analysis in the digital era. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The Royal Society 371(1702): 20150337. Available at doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0337.

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