Nigeria's coastal ecosystems offer a complex mix of fresh- and saltwater habitats, earning its rich environments a classification as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. To address gaps associated with data from these environments, this project will publishing datasets documenting plant, animal and fungal collections from the past 40 years.
The project expects to establish agreements on data sharing and exchange with the Nigerian biodiversity clearing house set up between relevant biodiversity-related organizations and stakeholders. These collaborative partnerships will enable mobilization of about 20,000 plant herbarium specimens, 5,000 animal recordes as well as 6,000 fungal specimens from coastal ecosystems in Nigeria. This data will inform policymakers and aid the concerted efforts to protect coastal biodiversity.
Throughout the project, the group will prioritize individualized workflows for each work plan, including capacity, collections, and risk assessments, timelines and goals. Large-scale primary biodiversity data resources will be mobilized, specimens will be fully digitized and enhanced with georeferencing and data cleaning according to international data standards.
Data will be published via a central biodiversity portal linked to both GBIF.org and (for marine species) AfrOBIS. Students participating in digitization at partner institutions will develop skills and interest in biodiversity informatics and carry these forward into careers as scientists and decision-makers. Overall, this project will improve insights for sociocultural valuations and national and international biodiversity information management policies.