Workshop Theme

This workshop will explore the use of data in biodiversity and biodiversity informatics.

Biodiversity can be defined as: “the totality and variability of species, genes and the ecosystems they occupy. Biodiversity is usually used to refer biological diversity at three levels such as (1) genetics, (2) species and (3) ecology” (Source). Furthermore: “Biodiversity research is a branch of ecology that identifies and predicts patterns of organism distribution and abundance, and explains the causes of these patterns.” (Source)

Biodiversity informatics is a rather new field, which can be defined as the creation, improvement, analysis, and interpretation of information regarding biodiversity. (Source)

…Advances in ‘Big Data’ biodiversity informatics and e-research infrastructure, which allow integration of various taxon-level data types (genome, morphology, distribution and species interactions) within a phylogenetic and environmental framework. By overcoming the data scaling problem in ecology, this integrative framework will provide richer information and fast learning to enable a deeper understanding of biodiversity evolution and dynamics in a rapidly changing world. (Source)

With so many stakeholders requiring access to biodiversity data the question of data collection, open data, data ownership, data availability, and data stewardship becomes pertinent. This workshop will discuss aspects of data governance as it pertains to applied projects.

Data stewardship is the management and oversight of an organization's data assets to help provide business users with high-quality data that is easily accessible in a consistent manner. (Source)

Innovative examples of the use of biodiversity data and design will be showcased demonstrating how stakeholders in society (e.g. private companies, citizens, government agencies, NGOs) can use data toward decision-making for sustainability of the species.

A g(local) approach to data collection will be debated, barriers to openness, challenges, privacy and security aspects and issues of data vintage and metadata availability. Citizen-science based approaches (e.g. www.questagame.com) will be compared and contrasted to scientific approaches of biodiversity data collection. The use of this data in quantitative and qualitative modelling will also be considered. Access to datasets owned by NASA and those by Google and other major government agencies and private corporations will deliberated in light of best practices in biodiversity data management.

How to train the next generation of non-computing professionals in biodiversity data science will be another major area of interest for workshop participants, all of whom come from varied disciplinary backgrounds.