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Enke N.,Free University of Berlin | Thessen A.,Center for Library and Informatics | Bach K.,University of Marburg | Bendix J.,University of Marburg | And 2 more authors.
Ecological Informatics | Year: 2012

Data sharing has become an important issue in modern biodiversity research to address large scale questions. Despite the steadily growing scientific demand, data are not easily accessed. Why is this the case? This study explores the reasons for the reluctance to share data on the one hand and the motivations for sharing on the other by summarising results from > 60 interviews and > 700 survey participants within the biodiversity science community. As result, there is a clear commitment to share biodiversity data, but also a reluctance to actually do so due to a mixture of social and technical impediments, such as loss of control over data and lack of professional reward for sharing. This exploratory study summarises the formal and technical requirements for data sharing and reuse, stated by voluntarily participating scientists worldwide. To ensure sustainable data use, user friendly data infrastructure have to be expanded or newly designed, data management plans for all scientific investigations have to be promoted, training for the users has to be provided and motivational aspects at all stages of data submission and re-use have to be considered. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source


Goddard A.,Center for Library and Informatics
BMC bioinformatics | Year: 2011

Today, an unprecedented volume of primary biodiversity data are being generated worldwide, yet significant amounts of these data have been and will continue to be lost after the conclusion of the projects tasked with collecting them. To get the most value out of these data it is imperative to seek a solution whereby these data are rescued, archived and made available to the biodiversity community. To this end, the biodiversity informatics community requires investment in processes and infrastructure to mitigate data loss and provide solutions for long-term hosting and sharing of biodiversity data. We review the current state of biodiversity data hosting and investigate the technological and sociological barriers to proper data management. We further explore the rescuing and re-hosting of legacy data, the state of existing toolsets and propose a future direction for the development of new discovery tools. We also explore the role of data standards and licensing in the context of data hosting and preservation. We provide five recommendations for the biodiversity community that will foster better data preservation and access: (1) encourage the community's use of data standards, (2) promote the public domain licensing of data, (3) establish a community of those involved in data hosting and archival, (4) establish hosting centers for biodiversity data, and (5) develop tools for data discovery. The community's adoption of standards and development of tools to enable data discovery is essential to sustainable data preservation. Furthermore, the increased adoption of open content licensing, the establishment of data hosting infrastructure and the creation of a data hosting and archiving community are all necessary steps towards the community ensuring that data archival policies become standardized. Source


Thessen A.E.,Center for Library and Informatics | Patterson D.J.,Center for Library and Informatics | Murray S.A.,University of New South Wales | Murray S.A.,Sydney Institute of Marine Science
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Taxonomists have been tasked with cataloguing and quantifying the Earth's biodiversity. Their progress is measured in code-compliant species descriptions that include text, images, type material and molecular sequences. It is from this material that other researchers are to identify individuals of the same species in future observations. It has been estimated that 13% to 22% (depending on taxonomic group) of described species have only ever been observed once. Species that have only been observed at the time and place of their original description are referred to as oncers. Oncers are important to our current understanding of biodiversity. They may be validly described species that are members of a rare biosphere, or they may indicate endemism, or that these species are limited to very constrained niches. Alternatively, they may reflect that taxonomic practices are too poor to allow the organism to be re-identified or that the descriptions are unknown to other researchers. If the latter are true, our current tally of species will not be an accurate indication of what we know. In order to investigate this phenomenon and its potential causes, we examined the microbial eukaryote genus Gymnodinium. This genus contains 268 extant species, 103 (38%) of which have not been observed since their original description. We report traits of the original descriptions and interpret them in respect to the status of the species. We conclude that the majority of oncers were poorly described and their identity is ambiguous. As a result, we argue that the genus Gymnodinium contains only 234 identifiable species. Species that have been observed multiple times tend to have longer descriptions, written in English. The styles of individual authors have a major effect, with a few authors describing a disproportionate number of oncers. The information about the taxonomy of Gymnodinium that is available via the internet is incomplete, and reliance on it will not give access to all necessary knowledge. Six new names are presented - Gymnodinium campbelli for the homonymous name Gymnodinium translucens Campbell 1973, Gymnodinium antarcticum for the homonymous name Gymnodinium frigidum Balech 1965, Gymnodinium manchuriensis for the homonymous name Gymnodinium autumnale Skvortzov 1968, Gymnodinium christenum for the homonymous name Gymnodinium irregulare Christen 1959, Gymnodinium conkufferi for the homonymous name Gymnodinium irregulare Conrad & Kufferath 1954 and Gymnodinium chinensis for the homonymous name Gymnodinium frigidum Skvortzov 1968. © 2012 Thessen et al. Source


Trainer V.L.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Bates S.S.,Gulf | Lundholm N.,Copenhagen University | Thessen A.E.,Center for Library and Informatics | And 3 more authors.
Harmful Algae | Year: 2012

Over the last decade, our understanding of the environmental controls on Pseudo-nitzschia blooms and domoic acid (DA) production has matured. Pseudo-nitzschia have been found along most of the world's coastlines, while the impacts of its toxin, DA, are most persistent and detrimental in upwelling systems. However, Pseudo-nitzschia and DA have recently been detected in the open ocean's high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll regions, in addition to fjords, gulfs and bays, showing their presence in diverse environments. The toxin has been measured in zooplankton, shellfish, crustaceans, echinoderms, worms, marine mammals and birds, as well as in sediments, demonstrating its stable transfer through the marine food web and abiotically to the benthos. The linkage of DA production to nitrogenous nutrient physiology, trace metal acquisition, and even salinity, suggests that the control of toxin production is complex and likely influenced by a suite of environmental factors that may be unique to a particular region. Advances in our knowledge of Pseudo-nitzschia sexual reproduction, also in field populations, illustrate its importance in bloom dynamics and toxicity. The combination of careful taxonomy and powerful new molecular methods now allow for the complete characterization of Pseudo-nitzschia populations and how they respond to environmental changes. Here we summarize research that represents our increased knowledge over the last decade of Pseudo-nitzschia and its production of DA, including changes in worldwide range, phylogeny, physiology, ecology, monitoring and public health impacts. © 2011. Source


Boyle B.,University of Arizona | Boyle B.,Thomas W Keating Bioresearch Building | Hopkins N.,Thomas W Keating Bioresearch Building | Hopkins N.,BIO5 Institute | And 21 more authors.
BMC Bioinformatics | Year: 2013

Background: The digitization of biodiversity data is leading to the widespread application of taxon names that are superfluous, ambiguous or incorrect, resulting in mismatched records and inflated species numbers. The ultimate consequences of misspelled names and bad taxonomy are erroneous scientific conclusions and faulty policy decisions. The lack of tools for correcting this 'names problem' has become a fundamental obstacle to integrating disparate data sources and advancing the progress of biodiversity science.Results: The TNRS, or Taxonomic Name Resolution Service, is an online application for automated and user-supervised standardization of plant scientific names. The TNRS builds upon and extends existing open-source applications for name parsing and fuzzy matching. Names are standardized against multiple reference taxonomies, including the Missouri Botanical Garden's Tropicos database. Capable of processing thousands of names in a single operation, the TNRS parses and corrects misspelled names and authorities, standardizes variant spellings, and converts nomenclatural synonyms to accepted names. Family names can be included to increase match accuracy and resolve many types of homonyms. Partial matching of higher taxa combined with extraction of annotations, accession numbers and morphospecies allows the TNRS to standardize taxonomy across a broad range of active and legacy datasets.Conclusions: We show how the TNRS can resolve many forms of taxonomic semantic heterogeneity, correct spelling errors and eliminate spurious names. As a result, the TNRS can aid the integration of disparate biological datasets. Although the TNRS was developed to aid in standardizing plant names, its underlying algorithms and design can be extended to all organisms and nomenclatural codes. The TNRS is accessible via a web interface at http://tnrs.iplantcollaborative.org/ and as a RESTful web service and application programming interface. Source code is available at https://github.com/iPlantCollaborativeOpenSource/TNRS/. © 2013 Boyle et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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