Environmental Data for Biodiversity Analyses
Presentation given at the International Biogeographical Society meeting in Miami, Florida, USA in 2013.
Biodiversity informatics tools and resources for biogeography and global change
An unprecedented amount of biodiversity-related data is emerging with the potential to provide biogeographers with information about the present and past distribution of organisms and environments within which they lived and their physiological and genetic adaptations to changing conditions. This data comes from disparate sources; natural history collections and associated morphological, physiological and genomic data, climate layers, sensor networks, etc. The importance of informatics tools that can manage this data, provide geographical representations of distribution, and integrate multiple layers of temporal and spatial data, is apparent, though much remains to be done.
This workshop tackles both conceptual and practical issues in dealing with the massive quantities of biogeographic data that are coming to light through digitization efforts, or being produced through studies of historic or extant specimens, and the tools and resources being developed to deal with the problem. We will present an overview of emerging data and knowledge repositories, their contents, limitations, and how they might be integrated and analyzed to enhance biodiversity research. The workshop will investigate multiple domains relevant to biogeographers, discuss issues of spatial uncertainty and taxonomic biases, how to improve the data and assess their fitness for use, and demonstrate how to enhance long-term research programs and the ability to leverage funding by contributing data to these resources. Pragmatic examples of the use of these resources in focused exercises will take concepts and make them more concrete while providing useful code and examples for future use.
Presentations will be given by each of the 4 organizers (Guralnick, Jetz, Bloom, Gillespie), as well as additional presenters, in a format that will combine lecture and workshop style settings. This topic is particularly timely because of the wealth of data that is becoming available, and the potential it offers for biogeographers. The workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the diversity of data types, and the limitations of access, integration, and interpretation.