A distinct new era for plant specimen use
Contributed by Mason Heberling, Assistant Curator of Botany, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Research uses of online biodiversity data
Contributed by Joan Damerow, Postdoctoral Researcher, Field Museum of Natural History
Developing a vocabulary and ontology for modeling insect natural history data
This article was contributed by Brian Stucky, Florida Museum of Natural History.
Figure1: A specimen of the cicada Hadoa duryi, available on the iDigBio portal.
Conservation Focus: New Insights for Conservation from Expansion of Physical‐Collection Digital Data
Libby Ellwood, Pam Soltis, and Mary Klein
Emerging frontiers in phenological research
Libby Ellwood, Katelin Pearson, and Gil Nelson
Spatial Phylogenetics of Florida Vascular Plants: The Effects of Calibration and Uncertainty on Diversity Estimates
Augustus Fendler Herbarium Specimens: A Locality Improvement Project
A component of the Southern Rocky Mountain Flora Database Project
Lance J. Gloss and Timothy J. S. Whitfeld
Brown U. Herbarium (BRU)
Dec 2017 - May 2018
Utilising publicly available species occurrence records to generate contemporary estimates of medically important snake species distributions
Contributed by: Joshua Longbottom, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Digital Coyote; an online archive of skulls
Contributed by: Osrica Mclean and Declan McCabe
How can you provide an authentic opportunity for undergraduate students to study geographical variation without hauling them to major metropolitan museums and arranging access to valuable specimens? This question started a slightly obsessive odyssey that began with a single coyote skull and now stands at 125 skulls….and counting.
From the Tropics to the Drawer and Back: Digitized New World Swallowtail Butterfly Specimens Inform Biodiversity Patterns
Contributed by: Hannah Owens from the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
New Insights from Old Herbarium Specimens
“Live in each season as it passes - breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit & resign yourself to the influence of each.” Thoreau, in his Journal. 1835
Prologue: Many of us in the ADBC world look for ways to expand the community of users of museum collections data and to increase the ways in which collections data are used. Recently, in Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TrEE), an opinion piece was published by Scott A. Morrison, et al. titled "Equipping the 22nd-Century Historical Ecologist." In this paper, Morrison, et al.
Contributed by Pam Soltis and Adania Flemming
iDigBio supported five students in its inaugural mini-REU site program during summer, 2017. This program, modeled on NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program, was developed to provide undergraduates with research opportunities using digitized natural history collection data.
Using convolutional neural networks to automate tropical pollen counts and identification
Contributed by: Derek Haselhorst, Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, University of Illinois
Collections Data Reveals Complex Plant/Pollinator Network, Inspires Research
Contributed by Dylan Ricke and Annika Rose-Person, Archbold Biological Station
Hole-y Plant Databases! Understanding and Preventing Biases in Botanical Big Data
Data Curation Profiles—An Information Science framework for data managers
-- Contributed by Wade Bishop and Kelly White, The University of Tennessee, School of Information Sciences
Data curation profiles (DCPs). DCPs give scientists, researchers, and data managers an enhanced and detailed understanding of the “data story” from the perspective of the data. A DCP “captures requirements for specific data generated by researchers articulated by the researchers themselves” (http://datacurationprofiles.org/purpose) and provides data managers a framework to acquire an in-depth understanding of the particular data curation needs of producers and their intended users. Read more about Wade & Kelly's work with the iDigBio community here.
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.
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.
Collecting trends: how wars and human history influence biological collections
-- 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.
Allocating more memory to OpenRefine - and other helpful information for handling large datasets
-- 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.
TDWG 2016: Highlights for biodiversity research
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.
Research Spotlight: December 2016
Downloaded data from iDigBio serve as a base for important biodiversity research. It is important to understand how to interpret the way data are represented in the Darwin Core Archives (DwC-A) that you retrieve from our download system either through the portal or the download API. For more information about our data processes and how to use our data, feel free to email email@example.com.
Mapping Life – Quality Assessment of Novice vs. Expert Georeferencers
-- 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.
Bees, bees and more bees - or are there? Monitoring the status of US bee populations using biological collections.
-- 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.
Using island biogeography to investigate a weird and scenic landscape in southern Idaho
-- 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.
Preserving historic bee specimens to protect future bee biodiversity
-- Contributed by Joan Meiners, PhD Student, Ernest Lab, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida
For my PhD research in Dr. Morgan Ernest's lab at the University of Florida, I am using large datasets of occurrence records of native bees and their habitat associations to try to understand native bee biodiversity and foraging patterns...read more here.