New Guinea Binatang Research Center (BRC) is an independent, non-profit registered in Papua New Guinea devoted to (i) biological research focusing on the ecology of rainforests and distribution of biodiversity in PNG (ii) training Papua New Guineans in biological research and conservation, (iii) grassroot conservation and environmental education.
BRC was founded in 2001 and have since amassed a store of observational data on plants, insects (primarily Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera), birds, amphibians and mammals, supported by DNA barcodes and reference collection material.
BRC proposes creating a sustainable framework for sharing our existing and future data collections with the GBIF network. Further, BRC will work with PNG Forest Research Institute (FRI), exchanging knowledge on GBIF protocols and database building, and together mobilising FRI’s EntomID-PNG contributions.
The project will involve i) training a dedicated GBIF officer at BRC responsible for coordinating data sharing, quality control and networking, ii) training BRC research staff in GBIF protocols and iii) promoting GBIF and data mobilisation nationally at in-person and online workshops, with a view to a) increase BRC and FRI's capacity to share data, b) bring synchronicity to data collection and publication protocols of BRC, FRI and GBIF, c) significantly increase observational records from PNG in GBIF, with many linked to barcode data, d) to establish and maintain a stream of biodiversity data from BRC to GBIF, and e) increase GBIF-related collaboration and awareness among key national institutions, policy makers and the next generation of indigenous scientists.
The success of the project will primarily be measured by 1) the number of new records added to GBIF, 2) the number of trained staff, their new skills measured by pre- and post-project questionnaires, 3) number of people reached during promotional + workshop activities and 4) number of partners interested in national GBIF collaboration.
To date the project has focussed on preparing New Guinea Binatang Research Centre's GBIF Officer, Mr Phillip for his role as primary data handler. Mr Philip is steadily achieving greater competency in his role but still requires assistance with technical issues. It is estimated that the GBIF Officer will be ready for totally independent work in the coming months as progress over the last two months has been significant.
The BRC GBIF Officer has been tasked to review photography and to make some improvements and this activity is scheduled to occur concurrently with the preparation and submission of each dataset as relevant. The estimated start date for this activity is July 2022.
To date the project has mobilised the Madang Sap Suckers dataset. This dataset was used as a primary training dataset for the GBIF Officer training exercises.
The review of DNA barcodes: work towards this goal is ongoing and progressing. To date the project focus was on Lepidoptera barcodes within the Barcode of Life Data (BOLD) system and there has been a collaboration with external colleagues in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC to verify data integrity and quality.
The student training course is scheduled to take place in June 2022 and it will be exclusively for Papua New Guinean students.