Second Annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference: Emerging Innovations for Biodiversity Data

Over 240 biodiversity and data scientists, including more than 30 students and representing at least 7 countries, assembled at University of California, Berkeley 5-7 June 2018 for the second annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference, this year subtitled Emerging Innovations for Biodiversity Data. The nearly 30% increase in attendance from the inaugural conference in 2017 underscores the growing wealth of openly available data for scientific research. The increase in attendance resulted in a large and diverse program that featured nine exceptionally well-received plenary sessions, 54 concurrent sessions, and two-dozen posters. Eleven discussion leaders took advantage of the newly introduced discussion session format, shaded gray in the agenda and embedded within the concurrents. The popularity of the discussion format means it will be continued next year. The 2018 conference also introduced an unconference event that allowed time for free discussion of conference activities. Themes for this year included: Addressing the fundmental questions of evolutionary biology and ecology; Meeting the research challenges of the Anthropocene; Biodiversity data archives for education and science outreach; New tools for data discovery and analysis; and Future, untested frontiers for natural history collections.


A Sunday pre-meeting workshop and North American GBIF Nodes meeting preceded the conference and five workshops, a guided and self-guided field trip, and collections tours at California Academy of Sciences followed on Wednesday. Abstracts for all sessions are available on the conference wiki.


For a participant’s view of the conference, see the blog by Ciera Martinez, evolutionary biologist and Fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science.

Carla Cicero giving tour of MVZ CollectionsiDigBio appreciated the opportunity to co-host the conference with our collaborators at UC Berkeley and especially recognizes the Berkeley planning team: Heather Constable, David Ackerly, Michelle Koo, Carol Spencer, Brent Mishler, Michael Nachman, Carl Boettiger, Carla Cicero, Peter Oboyski, and Pat Holroyd.

We are also pleased to make a save-the-date announcement for next year’s conference, to be hosted by the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT, 10-12 June 2019. Planning for next year is now underway. More details will be coming late summer and early autumn.