Biodiversity Information Fund for Asia funds 12 new projects

Grants through BIFA programme support data mobilization and capacity development activities involving institutions from ten countries and areas in the region

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Emerald small carpenter bee (Ceratina smaragdula), Thailand. Photo 2021 Ian Dugdale via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Twelve projects involving institutions from 10 countries and areas in Asia have received funding in the latest round of funding from the Biodiversity Information Fund for Asia (BIFA) programme, thanks to support from the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (MOEJ).

An expert panel winnowed a competitive set of 36 initial concept notes down to its group of selected projects aimed at strengthening the capacity in Asian institutions to manage and mobilize biodiversity data. The selected projects reflect the emphasis that the December 2020 call placed on mobilizing DNA-derived data, data that fills fill taxonomic and geographic gaps in Asian biodiversity, and data relating to the hosts, reservoirs or vectors of zoonotic diseases.

Together, the grants for the 12 projects amount to €206,347, while the co-funding declared by the project team boosts this round's total programme investment to €376,057.

Most projects started in early September, and all teams will complete their work in February 2023. In November, team members from each project will participate in a virtual training workshop on data mobilization led by Secretariat staff, supported as always by a cadre of volunteer trainers and mentors. Attendees will learn key skills required to publish and use of data from the GBIF network and subsequently contribute to the regional community of practice by replicating the training within their institutions' own networks.

Project Country/area of project lead Funding from BIFA Co-funding
Sharing vertebrate occurrence data from camera traps in Asia Nepal €19,781 €14,763
Tending to the neglected diversity of beetles and Darwin wasps in Southwest China's "Lost World" China €19,602 €28,158
Seeing TIGER for the bees: digitizing apian specimens from Thailand's national parks Thailand €11,650 €11,650
Improving knowledge of Asian pteridophytes through DNA sampling of specimens in regional collections Taiwan €20,000 €3,084
Digitization and mobilization of specimen data from Indonesia's Herbarium Bogoriense Indonesia €19,171 €7,222
Filling data gaps with the natural history collections of the Western Ghats India €19,990 €47,339
DNA barcoding and taxonomic classification of black flies in Southeast Asia Malaysia €20,000 €10,000
Sharing eDNA data on sharks to advance conservation Indonesia €19,970 €7,742
Small animals, big data: Mobilizing citizen science for data on the spiders of Asia India €15,378 €9,139
Using microbial metabarcoding to monitor biodiversity and bioindicators in the Mekong River Thailand €17,984 €979
Mobilizing data on ecologically important insects in Malaysia and Singapore Singapore €19,450 €43,921
A bilingual open-source checklist and digitization of Taiwan’s bee fauna Taiwan €3,371 €3,697

The BIFA programme is funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (MOEJ) and managed by the GBIF Secretariat with the goal of filling data gaps and supporting biodiversity information capacity in Asia.