From the Darwin Core Hour Team.
From the Darwin Core Hour Team.
Hole-y Plant Databases! Understanding and Preventing Biases in Botanical Big Data
American Horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus)
Photo courtesy of: Florida Fish and Wildlife, Photo by: Karen Parker
Contributed by: Teresa Iturriaga, Rhianna Baldree, Alex Kuhn, Andrew Miller
Mycologists long to collect
areas remote to most men
where fungi today may thrive
keeping plants, trees, and cycles alive.
Using specimens to create a pollinator community assessment of restored tallgrass prairie
-- Contributed by Heather Cray, Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo
Animal species need space – a place to forage, grow, and nest. This is especially true of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), whose caterpillars generally feed exclusively on one genus or species of host plant (think monarch butterflies and milkweed). For the 4,000 or so species of native bees in North America, required forage plants and nesting sites vary from common suburban offerings (e.g., patches of bare ground, maples, willows, clover), to specialized needs which are ecosystem-specific. Enter tallgrass prairie – a grassland ecosystem with high forb diversity that supports a dizzying array of invertebrate life. As our continent’s most endangered ecosystem, the 1-3% that remains is a mix of remnant and restored habitat, and restoration efforts-- both large and small, are ongoing. Read more here.
iDigBio staff members Bruce MacFadden, Libby Ellwood, and Molly Phillips attended the 2017 National Science Teachers Association National Meeting held on March 30-April 2 in the L.A. Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. The conference was massive – attended by thousands of K-college science teachers from around the country and world.
Publishing a new species? Add the unique identifiers!
Citation of voucher specimen data can be problematic. There are currently no formulated rules for how to cite a digital specimen in a publication, but data aggregators such iDigBio, GBIF, and VertNet offer suggestions. Pensoft is leading the way by providing efficient methods for publishing digital data (see their blog post here) - but it still rarely happens, or occurs in a non-systematic way. Recently, with my colleague Dr George Argent, a new species of Rhododendron from Mount Yule, Papua New Guinea was published in the February 2017 online volume of the Edinburgh Journal of Botany. The digital data for the isotype housed at the Bishop Museum is available through iDigBio and we wanted to cite this information in the published paper. As a test case, we added the Darwin Core occurrenceID and a link to the iDigBio record page. Read more here.
The Society of Herbarium Curators and iDigBio are pleased to announce a 6-week "Strategic Planning for Herbaria” short course.
Take this opportunity to introduce new purpose and excitement into your organization. Learn how to relate your collection’s compelling vision to stakeholders and communicate long-term objectives and strategies to administrators.
Contributed by: Donald H. Pfister, Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany and Curator, Farlow Library and Herbarium, Harvard University, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
The scientific view from behind the microphone
Imagine it. The sweaty palms, the nervous fidgeting. You're sitting in the waiting room of the radio station, the governors' office, or waiting to speak with the Chair of your Department. You begin question your preparation - What is the key message and main talking points? Is there an engaging and relevant story to highlight the science? Does it fit with the audience you will be engaging with? You begin cursing that you didn't have more practice!
-- Contributed by Vaughn Shirey, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
A large portion of my research in The Gelhaus Lab at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University relies heavily on digitized specimen data and metadata, specifically the who, when, and where of specimen collection. “Big data” research has risen in popularity since high-performance computing has made it easier for researchers to conduct analyses of groups of organisms overnight; however, additional considerations to the use of large datasets should be taken into account. My research focuses on the historical biases present in natural history collection data, including identifying collection bias and gaps in data due to human history. Read more here.
-- Contributed by Chris Evelyn, University of California - Santa Barbara, along with Deborah Paul and Shelley James, iDigBio
This month's Research Spotlight contribution resulted from a recent iDigBio workshop where participants learned the basics of OpenRefine. Finding a limitation to the size of the dataset that could be manipulated, Chris found the following solution to working with large datasets from iDigBio and other biodiversity data aggregators. OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine) is a powerful tool for helping with the cleaning of messy data - ideal for natural history collection managers, data managers, and researchers using biodiversity data alike. Read more here.
Dear iDigBio Enthusiasts,
The Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) annual meeting in 2016 had the theme of "Standards Supporting Innovation in Biodiversity and Conservation". Understanding the use of biodiversity standards, and having clear and concise documentation, is essential for the creation, aggregation and downstream use of biodiversity data, and it is exciting to see the diverse TDWG community helping to clarify and expand on the already existing data standards. Read more here.
Contributed by Libby Ellwood and Austin Mast (iDigBio-Florida State University).
iDigBio had a blast at ICE XXV International Congress of Entomology, held September 25-30, in Orlando, Florida.. The event brought together thousands of scientists from around the world under the theme “Entomology without Borders.” iDigBio staff participated in two symposia, the Insect Expo, and hosted the iDigBio booth in the ICE Exhibit Hall.
Contributed by: Teresa Iturriaga, Rhianna Baldree, Alex Kuhn, Andrew N. Miller
University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6970
We forget because remembering everything is impossible.
We also forget because remembering can be painful and raise too many questions that have no clear answers.
Such is the case regarding many ghost towns. They remind us of the transience of everything.
-- Contributed by Elizabeth R. Ellwood, Florida State University, with Henry L. Bart, Jr., Michael H. Doosey, Dean K. Jue, Justin G. Mann, Gil Nelson, Nelson Rios, Austin R. Mast
Citizen scientists participate in a host of activities that advance scientific research. These individuals are not trained scientists, but their contributions to research enable scientists to scale up their research across taxa and geographies. Read more here.
-- Contributed by Jillian Goodwin, iDigBio, interviewing Sam Droege, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Sam Droege heads the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab based at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Maryland, and is working with other researchers to assess the status of bees nationwide.
-- Contributed by Katie Peterson, PhD Student, Parent Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho
I am currently a third year PhD student at the University of Idaho in the Parent Lab. The Parent Lab studies the biodiversity and evolution of organisms that have recently colonized novel, “blank slate”, environments on islands....read more here.
For the third straight year, iDigBio hosted a full-day workshop on research methods using digitized herbarium specimen data at the annual Botany conference (Botany 2016, Savannah, GA), sponsored by the Botanical Society of America and its affiliated societies. After successful workshops on Georeferencing (
Specimens collected in Nicaragua by American mycologist Charles Leonard Smith in the late 19th century were thought to have been lost for over 100 years.Through records created on the MyCoPortal, Gregorio Delgado and Ondřej Koukol of EMLab P&K (Phoenix, AZ) and Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic), respectively, were able to