GEO BON Secretariat

July 2, 2017

Data sharing is becoming common practice in some scientific fields, as exemplified by massive data repositories such as GenBank and a trend to open access publishing of scientific research. GBIF and DataOne are examples of such initiatives relevant for ecology and conservation biology, yet while both are widely accepted and successful, there remain many open issues and the need for further joint action. Indeed, the difficulties to access open data and the limitations in data integration and interoperability caused by the use of heterogeneous data, with different data standards, are impairing our ability to efficiently and globally monitor the status and trends of biodiversity.

Nonetheless, recent years have also seen the emergence of large scale biodiversity databases (e.g. BioTime, PREDICTS, BIEN, TRY) designed precisely to address research questions that could not be addressed before in such a comprehensive way. In addition, new data standards are emerging (e.g. Darwin Event Core, Humboldt Core) that can provide a harmonized framework for the integration of biodiversity data over time and support the mobilization of new types of data into GBIF. This is particularly the case for structured data of the Species Population class, one of the six classes of Essential Biodiversity Variables as proposed by GEO BON. These structured data usually consist of probability of presence (Species Distribution EBV) or density of individuals (Population Abundance EBV) for a group of taxa at a given spatial location, often repeatedly sampled over time. These datasets include distribution atlas, plant plots, population counts, site inventories, among others.

iDiv, GBIF, and GEO BON co-hosted a Symposium on the mobilization of structured biodiversity data in Leipzig, Germany, from June 28th to 30th. The meeting was attended by more than 60 participants from all over the world, from data holders, to biodiversity scientists, data scientist, journal editors, and legal experts.

Our main objectives were threefold: discussing strategies towards open access for species distribution and population abundance structured data; discussing tools, approaches and potential limitations to achieve this goal; and addressing strategies to systematically mobilize existing and future data into open data portals. One major output of the Symposium will be the preparation of a roadmap for biodiversity data mobilization.


The first session of the Symposium was public and can be accessed following this link:

Public session: The big picture and why a data mobilization effort is needed

Ward Appeltans (IOC-UNESCO Marine Biodiversity focal point)Marine sampling event data – importance for ocean monitoring, management and governance

Mark Costello – Measuring biodiversity: variability of species’ presence and abundance

Adriana de Palma – PREDICTS: Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems

Maria Dornelas – Building bioTIME

Dmitry Schigel GBIF enabled science and why sampling event data?

Melodie McGeoch & Walter JetzFrom data to policy and application using Species Population EBV

Daniel Kisslingthe GLOBIS-B project

Kyle BraakHow-to publish sampling-event data through GBIF

Daphnis De PooterThe OBIS approach to event Core, measurement and sampling fact standardization and output tools

Robert Guralnick Humboldt Core:  Conceptual frameworks for inventories and key terms for reporting inventory process

Quentin Groom Publishing sampling event data experience

A roadmap for the mobilization of structured biodiversity data

News from: News from the GEO BON Secretariat