Agreement targets improved data exchange on Arctic species

A new partnership between GBIF and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group (CAFF) aims to improve the quality and scope of Arctic biodiversity information available to science and society.

Musk ox (Ovibos moschatus). By Tim Bowman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, public domain image (CC0)

A new partnership between GBIF and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group (CAFF) aims to improve the quality and scope of Arctic biodiversity information available to science and society.

The partnership will focus on promoting efficient exchange of data between CAFF’s Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS) and GBIF.org.

CAFF, the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council, provides information and data for informed decision making on Arctic biodiversity issues, for example through its Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme. The ABDS serves as a focal point for data brought together under CAFF’s programmes, including dynamic information on status and trends in species populations, and factors driving change in the region.

Through its network of data publishers and national nodes, GBIF currently provides access to approximately three million species occurrence records in the Arctic, encompassing almost 20,000 species. These data come from over 1000 datasets published by institutions in 30 countries.

The main objective of the Resolution/Memorandum of Cooperation signed by CAFF and GBIF secretariats is to ensure that, to the extent possible, all data and metadata mobilized by each institution are accessible, using appropriate standards, to the users and stakeholders of both.

Specifically, the agreement includes steps to identify data each network can contribute to the other and to set up the technical mechanisms to enable this exchange while avoiding duplication.

The practical work for data exchange under the agreement has already started: with technical support from GBIF’s informatics team, CAFF has set up an installation of the GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) through which it has published two Arctic datasets, one bringing together data from the Circumpolar Seabird Monitoring Plan, and the other showing distribution and abundance of musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) from various reports in recent decades.

Future activities will include establishing visualizations and links on the ABDS platform showing species occurrences within the CAFF boundary filtered from the data published through the GBIF network.

Through the current agreement, CAFF agrees to become a GBIF affiliate organization.

Commenting on the new partnership, GBIF’s Executive Secretary Donald Hobern said: “This is an excellent example of how collaboration can add real value to the information brought together by complementary networks focussed on biodiversity. As the exchange of data develops, users both of GBIF.org and of CAFF’s Arctic Biodiversity Data Service should observe improvements in the information relating to Arctic biodiversity, adding to the return on investment both from Arctic Council member states and GBIF’s Participant countries.”

CAFFs Chair Reidar Hindrum affirmed: “This is indeed a great example of how we are working to ensure that we make the most effective use of resources, avoid duplication of efforts and ensure the widest accessibility and availability of Arctic biodiversity data.”

For further information, please contact:

Courtney Price

Communications Officer

Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)

courtney@caff.is

Sampreethi Aipanjiguly

Communications Officer

GBIF Secretariat

saipanjiguly@gbif.org

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