Jim Woolley - Name Registration: One Less Impediment to Taxonomy


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Revolutionising taxonomy through an open-access web-register for animal names and descriptions

ESA Program Symposium: December, 2005

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Jim Woolley - Name Registration: One Less Impediment to Taxonomy

  1. 1. Name Registration: One Less Impediment toTaxonomyJim WoolleyTexas A&M UniversityRevolutionising taxonomy through an open-access web-register foranimal names and descriptionsESA Program SymposiumDecember, 2005
  2. 2. • Collecting• Preparation ofspecimens• Study of specimens• Revisions, monographs• Access to literature• New TechnologiesA Renaissance in Systematics
  3. 3. • Digital technologies have changed all the rules• Taxonomic collections, literature, expertise, digital libraries,virtual monographs should become a distributed, virtualresearch tool and education resource.New Technologies for Taxonomists
  4. 4. • Web-based - Web provides a single, global point of access• Distributed - eg > 350 web sites for Lepidoptera• Authoritative - need Electronic Catalog of Life• Accessible to multiple audiences• Relevant to societal concerns - natural resourcemanagement, invasive species, agriculture, medicine etc.• Taxonomic publications should not be end points, but“version control” devicesThe New Taxonomy(thanks to Malcolm Scoble, Natural History Museum)
  5. 5. • Lack of funding• Funding for taxonomy is insufficient• Most funding for systematics is devoted to constructingmolecular phylogenies, not taxonomy• Not enough taxonomists• Taxonomy is too difficult to learn and to practice•Requires years to accumulate literature, specimens etc.• Critical resources are scattered and available to only a fewworkers•Literature•Museum specimens• There are few centralized sources of informationImpediments to The New Taxonomy
  6. 6. • Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (PBI)• Global assaults on taxonomy ofmajor groups• RevSys - Revisionary Syntheses inSystematics• Species-level treatments• Develop new methodologies forrevisionary work• PEET - Partnerships for Enhancedexpertise in Taxonomy• Long-term monographic research• Major training componentNSF has recognized the funding issues
  7. 7. ZOOBANK• ZOOBANK will go a long way towardsproviding centralized sources ofinformation• We may quibble about the details and planfor implementation• But this is really essential for progress
  8. 8. “The Atkins Report”• Daniel Atkins,University ofMichigan• 8 other authorsfrom academiaand industry
  9. 9. Atkins Report• “The Panel’s overarching finding is that anew age has dawned in scientific andengineering research,• pushed by continuing progress incomputing, information, andcommunication technology,• and pulled by expanding complexity, scopeand scale of today’s challenges”
  10. 10. Atkins Report• The capacity of this technology has crossedthresholds that now make possible acomprehensive “cyberinfrastructure”• on which to build new types of scientificand engineering knowledge environmentsand organizations,• and to pursue research in new ways andwith increased efficiency
  11. 11. Atkins Report• use cyberinfrastructure to build more ubiquitous, comprehensivedigital environments• interactive and functionally complete for research communitiesin terms of people, data, information, tools, and instruments• operate at unprecedented levels of computational, storage, anddata transfer capacity
  12. 12. Cyberinfrastructure will include• grids of computational centers, some withcomputing power second to none• comprehensive libraries of digital objects includingprograms and literature• multidisciplinary, well-curated, federatedcollections of scientific data• thousands of on-line instruments and sensor arrays,• convenient software toolkits for resource, discovery,modeling and interactive visualization• ability to collaborate with physically distributedteams of people using all of these capabilities
  13. 13. Atkins Report• many contemporary projects requireeffective federations• distributed resources (data and facilities)• distributed, multidisciplinary expertise• (harvest of legacy data)
  14. 14. Virtual Science Communities• National Ecological Observatory Network(NEON)• National Virtual Observatory (NVO)• Space Physics and Aeronomy ResearchCollaboratory (SPARC)• Grid Physics Network (GriPhyN)• Biomedical Informatics Research Network(BIRN)• National Science Digital Library (NDSL)
  15. 15. • Workshop to Produce Decadal Vision for Taxonomy andNatural History Collections, Gainesville, November 2003• Development of a National Systematics Infrastructure: AVirtual Instrument for the 21stCentury, New York BotanicalGarden, December 2003• Workshop to Establish a Comprehensive Database for PlantSystematics, Gainesville, December 2003• Biological Image Database Workshop, Tallahassee, Florida,September 2004Recent Workshops Sponsored by NSF
  17. 17. Each collection or taxonomic research facility is potentially anode of a NATIONAL CYBERLABORATORY•Each node will contributeits own particular strengthsto the network•(e.g., taxonomic orgeographic uniqueness,unique instrumentation)•The resources of each nodewill be available to allnodes•(e.g., specimens, images,literature, DNA data)
  18. 18. Implementation of LINNE will• Modernize the national infrastructure for taxonomicresearch– high resolution 2D and 3D surface and internal scanning using computertomography– Remote-controlled, digital microscopy– Comprehensive digital libraries• Modernize collection facilities• Provide comprehensive access to taxonomic andcollections information, worldwide• Provide new tools for education and outreach
  19. 19. Virtual Research Platform• Remove the ‘taxonomicimpediment’• See across historical andgeological time,continents and seas,species and clades,ontogenetic paths &ecosystems.
  20. 20. The Big Questions• What are earth’s species, and howdo they vary?• How are species distributed ingeographical and ecologicalspace?• What is the history of life onEarth, and how are speciesinterrelated?• How has biological diversitychanged through space and time?• What is the history of charactertransformations?• What factors lead to speciation,dispersal and extinction?
  21. 21. Is the vision impossibly grand?• Virtually all of thenecessary technologyis is already in place orwill be in the next fewyears• Many national andinternational activitiesare already underway
  22. 22. Key Activities Related toCollections and Bioinformatics•SEEK•NESCent•CIPRES•Species Analyst•MaNIS•HerpNET•FishNetII•ORNIS•ENHSIN•BioCASE•BioCISE•MaPSTEDI•DiGIR•Specify•BioGeoMancer•Species2000•ITIS•TDWG•OBIS•uBIO•IPNI•DRSC•IndexHerbariorum•PBI•ERIN•CONABIO•CBIN•CHM•WDC•IABIN•PBIF•CBOL•MorphBank•MorphoBank•Digimorph•and ???•Zoobank•NBII•GBIF•Synthesys•EBNI•CHRONOS•NEON•NSCA
  23. 23. • Linking databases, informatics products and analyticaltools for data sharing among governmental agencies,NGO’s, academic institutions and industry
  24. 24. • At intersection of science, policy and applications• 47 member countries• Access - move data not people• Diversity - access to all types of data• Taxonomic Standards - need Electronic Catalog ofLife• Data Quality - data cleaning tools• Interoperability - global identifiers for specimens,collections, etc.• Working Together - campaign approach to settingpriorities
  25. 25. • GBIF can provide critical components ofcyber-framework for LINNE• In exchange, LINNE will provide data toGBIF
  26. 26. • 20 European Natural History Museums andBotanic Gardens• FPVI European-funded Integrated InfrastructureInitiative Grant• Create integrated European infrastructure forresearchers in the natural sciences
  27. 27. • Started 2004 - five year project• 20 institutions• 11 national Taxonomic Facilities• Part 1 - Access - enables European researchers to accessearth and life science collections, facilities andtaxonomic expertise
  28. 28. • Part 2 - Networking Activities• Complementarity - bring together information oncollections and expertise• Standards - long term preservation of collections• Databases - coordinate development of collectiondatabases• New Collections - e.g. tissue samples• New Methodologies - e.g. computerized tomography
  29. 29. • European contribution to GBIF• Network for digitization and sharing of biodiversity data• Enhance communication and cooperation among GBIF nodes,biodiversity institutes and related initiatives• 69 Partners• 26 Countries• Including all major natural history collections and systematicsinstitutesEuropean Network forBiodiversity Information
  30. 30. • CHRONOS• Earth Science Community• Dynamic, interactive and time-calibrated network ofdatabases and visualization and analyticalmethodologies for sedimentary geology andpaleobiology
  31. 31. • NEON - National Ecological Observatory Network– LINNE will provide critical baseline information for ecologicalresearch– NEON will provide resources for acquiring data and voucherspecimens and improving collections infrastructure at selectedlocations
  32. 32. • Provides ideal communications forum andnetwork to collections nationwide• Provides presence in Washington D.C.• Provides mechanism for tactical response ifcollections are threatened
  33. 33. The Foundations are Already in Place• The challenge is not to invent all of the necessarycomponents de novo• But rather, to identify what is already there• Identify and implement the newcyberinfrastructure• And integrate these components into anoperational system• To do this will require that we establish a commonvision and research agenda• And that we work as a community, worldwide toachieve it
  34. 34. This will require a change in our scientificculture• Integrated, “big-science” approach• Need to identify common goals and work together• Other communities have done this, but there weresome tough transitions• For example, particle physicists had terribleproblems with career recognition and rewards withthe switch to a big science paradigm
  35. 35. Challenges• It will cost billions of dollars• It will require Congressional action• It will require state action• It will require a unified user community• It will take many years• It will not be easy
  36. 36. LINNE Steering Committee• Hank Bart, Jr., Tulane University• Reed Beaman, Yale University• Lynn Bohs, University of Utah• Brandi Coyner, Oklahoma State University (student)• Linda Deck, Idaho State Museum• Vicki Funk, Smithsonian Institution• Diana Lipscomb, George Washington University• Mike Mares, University of Oklahoma (co-chair)• Larry Page, Florida Museum of Natural History• Alan Prather, Michigan State University• Jan and Dennis Stevenson, New York Botanical Garden• Quentin Wheeler, Natural History Museum• Jim Woolley, Texas A&M University (co-chair)
  38. 38. Thank you