The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international organisation that focuses on making scientific data on biodiversity available via the Internet using web services. The data are provided by many institutions from around the world; GBIF's information architecture makes these data accessible and searchable through a single portal. Data available through the GBIF portal are primarily distribution data on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes for the world, and scientific names data.
Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth. Biodiversity is typically a measure of variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near the equator, which is the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity. Biodiversity is not distributed evenly on Earth, and is richest in the tropics. These tropical forest ecosystems cover less than 10 percent of earth's surface, and contain about 90 percent of the world's species. Marine biodiversity is usually highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest, and in the mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. There are latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Biodiversity generally tends to cluster in hotspots, and has been increasing through time, but will be likely to slow in the future.
The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing. Some publications no longer capitalize "internet".
The mission of the Global Biodiversity information Facility (GBIF) is to facilitate free and open access to biodiversity data worldwide to underpin sustainable development. Priorities, with an emphasis on promoting participation and working through partners, include mobilising biodiversity data, developing protocols and standards to ensure scientific integrity and interoperability, building an informatics architecture to allow the interlinking of diverse data types from disparate sources, promoting capacity building and catalysing development of analytical tools for improved decision-making.
Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be classified as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.
Informatics is a branch of information engineering. It involves the practice of information processing and the engineering of information systems, and as an academic field it is an applied form of information science. The field considers the interaction between humans and information alongside the construction of interfaces, organisations, technologies and systems. As such, the field of informatics has great breadth and encompasses many subspecialties, including disciplines of computer science, information systems, information technology and statistics. Since the advent of computers, individuals and organizations increasingly process information digitally. This has led to the study of informatics with computational, mathematical, biological, cognitive and social aspects, including study of the social impact of information technologies.
GBIF strives to form informatics linkages among digital data resources from across the spectrum of biological organisation, from genes to ecosystems, and to connect these to issues important to science, society and sustainability by using georeferencing and GIS tools. It works in partnership with other international organisations such as the Catalogue of Life partnership, Biodiversity Information Standards, the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL), the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), and GEOSS.
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the system through photosynthesis and is incorporated into plant tissue. By feeding on plants and on one-another, animals play an important role in the movement of matter and energy through the system. They also influence the quantity of plant and microbial biomass present. By breaking down dead organic matter, decomposers release carbon back to the atmosphere and facilitate nutrient cycling by converting nutrients stored in dead biomass back to a form that can be readily used by plants and other microbes.
A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries, analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations. GIS sometimes refers to geographic information science (GIScience), the science underlying geographic concepts, applications, and systems.
The Catalogue of Life is an online database that provides the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative index of known species of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms. It was created in 2001 as a partnership between the global Species 2000 and the American Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The Catalogue interface is available in twelve languages and is used by research scientists, citizen scientists, educators, and policy makers. The Catalogue is also used by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Barcode of Life Data System, Encyclopedia of Life, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The Catalogue currently compiles data from 168 peer-reviewed taxonomic databases, that are maintained by specialist institutions around the world. As of 2018, the Catalogue lists 1,744,204 of the world's 2.2m extant species known to taxonomists on the planet at present time.
From 2002-2014, GBIF awarded a prestigious global award in the area of biodiversity informatics, the Ebbe Nielsen Prize, valued at €30,000 annually. As at 2018, the GBIF Secretariat currently presents two annual prizes: the GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge and the Young Researchers Award.
Biodiversity Informatics is the application of informatics techniques to biodiversity information for improved management, presentation, discovery, exploration and analysis. It typically builds on a foundation of taxonomic, biogeographic, or ecological information stored in digital form, which, with the application of modern computer techniques, can yield new ways to view and analyse existing information, as well as predictive models for information that does not yet exist. Biodiversity informatics is a relatively young discipline but has hundreds of practitioners worldwide, including the numerous individuals involved with the design and construction of taxonomic databases. The term "Biodiversity Informatics" is generally used in the broad sense to apply to computerized handling of any biodiversity information; the somewhat broader term "bioinformatics" is often used synonymously with the computerized handling of data in the specialized area of molecular biology.
The Ebbe Nielsen Prize was an international science award made annually between 2002 and 2014 by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), to recognize a researcher who had made substantial contributions to the field of biodiversity informatics. The prize was established in memory of prominent entomologist and biodiversity informatics proponent Ebbe Nielsen, who died of a heart attack in the U.S.A. en route to the 2001 GBIF Governing Board meeting.
The Ebbe Nielsen Challenge is an international science competition conducted annually from 2015 onwards by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), with a set of cash prizes that recognize researcher(s)' submissions in creating software or approaches that successfully address a GBIF-issued challenge in the field of biodiversity informatics. It succeeds the Ebbe Nielsen Prize, which was awarded annually by GBIF between 2002 and 2014. The name of the challenge honours the memory of prominent entomologist and biodiversity informatics proponent Ebbe Nielsen, who died of a heart attack in the U.S.A. en route to the 2001 GBIF Governing Board meeting.
The Access to Biological Collections Data (ABCD) schema is a highly structured data exchange and access model for taxon occurrence data, i.e. primary biodiversity data.
The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) is an online repository of information about Australian plants, animals, and fungi. Development started in 2006. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is an organisation significantly involved in the development of the ALA. The Atlas of Living Australia is the Australian node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The ALA is being use to help assess suitability of revegetation projects by determining species vulnerability to climatic and atmospheric change.
The Australasian Virtual Herbarium (AVH) is an online resource that allows access to plant specimen data held by various Australian and New Zealand herbaria. It is part of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), and was formed by the amalgamation of Australia's Virtual Herbarium and NZ Virtual Herbarium. As of 12 August 2014, more than five million specimens of the 8 million and upwards specimens available from participating institutions have been databased.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is an American partnership of federal agencies designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species. ITIS was originally formed in 1996 as an interagency group within the US federal government, involving several US federal agencies, and has now become an international body, with Canadian and Mexican government agencies participating. The database draws from a large community of taxonomic experts. Primary content staff are housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and IT services are provided by a US Geological Survey facility in Denver. The primary focus of ITIS is North American species, but many biological groups exist worldwide and ITIS collaborates with other agencies to increase its global coverage.
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO) was established by resolution 2.31 adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO. It first met in Paris at Unesco Headquarters from 19 to 27 October 1961. Initially, 40 States became members of the Commission. The IOC assists governments to address their individual and collective ocean and coastal management needs, through the sharing of knowledge, information and technology as well as through the co-ordination of programs and building capacity in ocean and coastal research, observations and services.
The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) is a politically independent not-for-profit advisory body, aiming to preserve wildlife through the promotion of sustainable use of wildlife resources. The acronym CIC comes from the organisation’s original French name Conseil International de la Chasse.
Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) is a non-profit scientific and educational association that works to develop open standards for the exchange of biodiversity data, facilitating biodiversity informatics. It is affiliated with the International Union of Biological Sciences. It is best known for the Darwin Core standard for exchanging biodiversity, which has been used by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to collect millions of biological observations from museums and other organizations from around the world.
The Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) is a network dedicated to the adoption and promotion of ecoinformatics standards and protocols in all the countries of the Americas, thus facilitating the sound use of biological information for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. It is primarily an inter-governmental initiative but has a strong participation of a wide range of non-governmental partners.
The National Biodiversity Network (UK) (NBN) is a collaborative venture set up in 2000 in the United Kingdom committed to making biodiversity information available through various media, including on the internet via the NBN Atlas—the data search website of the NBN.
The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) was a program coordinated by the United States Geological Survey's Biological Informatics Office within the USGS Biological Resources Discipline. Its purpose was to facilitate access to data and information on the biological resources of the United States, utilizing government agencies, academic institutions, non-government organizations, and private industry. It was terminated 15 January 2012.
The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is a high-level intergovernmental policy forum. The forum includes all United Nations Member States and Permanent Observers, the UNFF Secretariat, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, Regional Organizations and Processes and Major Groups.
Darwin Core is an extension of Dublin Core for biodiversity informatics. It is meant to provide a stable standard reference for sharing information on biological diversity. The terms described in this standard are a part of a larger set of vocabularies and technical specifications under development and maintained by Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG).
Plazi is a Swiss-based international non-profit association supporting and promoting the development of persistent and openly accessible digital bio-taxonomic literature. Plazi is maintaining a digital taxonomic literature repository to enable archiving of taxonomic treatments, enhances submitted taxonomic treatments by creating version in the XML formats TaxonX and Taxpub, and educates about the importance of maintaining open access to scientific discourse and data. It is a contributor to the evolving e-taxonomy in the field of Biodiversity Informatics.
The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the largest assembly of data on the world's terrestrial and marine protected areas, containing more than 200,000 protected areas as of October 2017, with records covering 245 countries and territories throughout the world. The WDPA is a joint venture between the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Commission on Protected Areas.
Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) is a biodiversity informatics data standard that makes use of the Darwin Core terms to produce a single, self-contained dataset for species occurrence, checklist, sampling event or material sample data. Essentially it is a set of text (CSV) files with a simple descriptor (meta.xml) to inform others how your files are organized. The format is defined in the Darwin Core Text Guidelines. It is the preferred format for publishing data to the GBIF network.
Richard Lawrence Pyle, Ph.D. is a scuba diver and ichthyologist working on Hawaii.
The Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera (IRMNG) is a taxonomic database containing the scientific names of the genus, species, and higher ranks of many plants, animals and other kingdoms, both living and extinct, within a standardized taxonomic hierarchy, with associated machine-readable information on habitat and extant/fossil status for the majority of entries. The database aspires to provide complete coverage of both accepted and unaccepted genus names across all kingdoms, with a subset only of species names included as a lower priority. In its March 2019 release, IRMNG contained 490,095 genus names, of which 236,514 were listed as "accepted", 120,194 "unaccepted", 7,391 of "other" status i.e. interim unpublished, nomen dubium, nomen nudum, taxon inquirendum or temporary name, and 125,996 as "uncertain". The data originate from a range of print, online and database sources, and are reorganised into a common data structure to support a variety of online queries, generation of individual taxon pages, and bulk data supply to other biodiversity informatics projects. IRMNG content can be queried and displayed freely via the web, and download files of the data down to the taxonomic rank of genus as at specific dates are available in the Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) format. The data include homonyms, including both available and selected unavailable names.
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