Submitted by Kathryn Sullivan, TPT Project Manager
The first workshop for the Terrestrial Parasite Tracker TCN was held February 24-25, 2020 at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL. The purpose of this workshop was to share best practices and standardize data capture for the network. Workshop participants included 37 from data providing institutions in the TCN, nine representatives from the bioinformatics and broader impacts teams, seven stakeholders interested in collaborating with TPT, and three representatives from iDigBio. Seven of these participants were students and/or technicians. Additionally five individuals joined the workshop remotely to present and discuss in various sessions.
On the first day (2/24), project leads Jen Zaspel and Kat Sullivan from the Milwaukee Public Museum introduced new participants, provided an overview of the workshop, and highlighted activity from the first quarter report. The first session focused on taxonomy and incorporating authority files into TaxonWorks for the network, including a demonstration from Matt Yoder. Attendees then heard from all the stakeholders in attendance who introduced themselves, their institutions, and provided areas for collaboration with TPT. After lunch at the Field we spent the afternoon hearing from the bioinformatics team about transcribing biotic interactions. Attendees then split into small groups and were given a set of seven sample specimens with label data. Each person categorized the interaction data into a translation table and shared within the group. For more on this group activity see blog post from GloBI developer Jorrit Poelen.
The main focus of the second day (2/25) was to demonstrate workflows and train the network on best practices of data capture. The day started with a presentation by Mark Smith of Macroscopic Solutions highlighting the Macropod system. Then Emily Graslie of the Brain Scoop Youtube channel spoke to the group about her show, and she later met with MPM and FMNH collaborators about filming an episode for Parasite Tracker. During the late morning session, four concurrent stations were set up to demonstrate Macropod high resolution imaging and high throughput scanning. Additionally the Research Advisory Board met to establish goals and future meetings. After lunch, participants split into small group sessions based on data platform. EMu, Specify, Arctos, TaxonWorks, and Notes from Nature were all represented, and modifications for mapping association data in these platforms were discussed. Neil Cobb provided an overview of functionality for SCAN, the primary aggregator for TPT data, while Katja Seltmann showed updates to the Symbiota backbone. The last session of the day included a presentation from Andre Poremski of Fieldguide about machine learning, followed by project manager Kat Sullivan providing an overview of reporting templates and project tracking. Jen Zaspel and Julie Allen presented a wrap up slide with main takeaways and highlights of the two day workshop to close out, which is available along with most other presentations on the workshop wiki page.
Several working groups were created at the workshop to tackle research priorities, georeferencing, and data platform modifications. Check-ins with data providers on digitization progress and the working groups are scheduled in four to six weeks. The next TPT workshop is tentatively scheduled for October 2020 in addition to smaller group meetings at the next ADBC Summit.