The Symbiota Support Hub, a service team and infrastructure resource supporting a globally distributed network of 45 theme-based research portals, has become the latest GBIF Associate Participant.
Symbiota is an open-source content management system for managing and mobilizing biodiversity data, currently supporting over 1,400 biodiversity collections that together publish more than 70 million occurrence records and 9 million related images. Data from 20 Symbiota portals is already accessible through GBIF.org. The portals currently contributing with the largest amount of data include the SEINet Regional Networks of North American Herbaria and the Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN). SCAN also hosts VectorBase, the largest single GBIF-mediated dataset of vectors of human disease.
The Symbiota Support Hub sustains a community of users and contributors that includes collections managers, taxonomists, ecologists, data entry personnel, programmers, informaticians, and students. This constituency has driven much of the overall software design philosophy and implementation, which aim to promote both the FAIR Guiding Principles and the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance.
"Joining GBIF marks an exciting step for the Symbiota Support Hub," said Katie D. Pearson, Data Manager and Head of Delegation to GBIF. "Doing so enables us to fully integrate the bottom-up digitization services provided by Symbiota-based portals with GBIF's mission to make comprehensive biodiversity information freely available."
"We look forward to building on what is already an excellent working relationship with the Symbiota Support Hub after their formal entry into GBIF," said Joe Miller, GBIF Executive Secretary. "Their commitment to lowering the technical threshold for collections digitization around the world is already supporting programmes such as the Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) and the Biodiversity Information Fund for Asia (BIFA), and closer collaboration will further extend our collective impact."
The Symbiota Support Hub, which has responsibility for maintaining and developing the central code repository and supporting the network of portals, is housed at the Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center at Arizona State University (also home to the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) biorepository. The Hub receives funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the ASU Global Futures Laboratory and joined iDigBio as a newly integrated domain of services in autumn 2021.