Brazil is one of the world's most biodiverse countries with 49,993 plants and 119,640 animal species catalogued (Brazilian Flora 2020 and Taxonomic Catalog of the Brazilian Fauna). As a consequence, a greater rate of animal records would be expected in the Brazilian Biodiversity Information System (SiBBr) considering the larger number of animal species. However, the majority of data published are plants, representing 51 per cent among current species occurrence records in GBIF whereas animals only count for 47 per cent.
In Brazil, herbarium networks have traditionally been organized more effectively than zoological collections mostly because these collections are more complex in terms of taxonomic diversity, data management and curation. Nevertheless, in Brazil there is a strong community of taxonomists and the research on Neotropical zoology is recognized as one of the most prolific in the world. This fact is reflected directly in the diversity and quality of collections groups, including those considered rare.
In order to improve representation of animal occurrence records in GBIF, this project aims to strengthen Brazilian zoological collections, providing common guidelines and enhancing capacity in data management, thus increasing publishing of animal data and records available for data use.
This project is aligned with GBIF Work Program priorities 1b, 1d, 1e, 2b, 2c, 3a, and 4b.
In August 2021 the project started with a kick-off meeting with project partners to discuss its main objectives and by midterm reporting had accomplished practically all its agreed objectives, with some activities having had a greater impact than expected.
During the first six months of the project, a survey of Brazilian zoological collections was carried out to better understand these and diagnose their situation. For this activity a working group with representatives of scientific societies that work with zoological collections and taxonomy was organized to prepare the questionnaire.
In addition to this, the following four webinars have been held:
- Webinar 1: Introducao ao GBIF (in Portuguese only), September 2021. A webinar presenting the project, introduction to GBIF and activity of national nodes (Angola, Brazil and Portugal).
- Webinar 2: Introducao as funcionalidades do Specify 6 (in Portuguese only), October 2021. A Webinar presenting an Introduction to Specify features.
- Webinar 3: Uso do Specify 6 e requisitos de infraestrutura informática (in Portuguese only), November 2021. A Webinar presenting the Use of Specify 6 and IT infrastructure requirements.
- Webinar 4: Preparação e importacão de dados para o Specify 6 (in Portuguese only), December 2021. A webinar presenting the Preparation and import of data for Specify 6.
Webinar information and materials are published on the SiBBr project page, with all videos available on the SiBBr YouTube Channel, and through measuring attendance and participation at these webinars, it has been evaluated that these have reached more collections than expected. Since the start of the project more than 27 biological collections had been registered in the SiBBr Biological Collections Catalogue.