Global Biodiversity Informatics: setting the scene for a “new world” of ecological forecasting

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Vanderlei Perez Canhos
Sidnei de Souza
Renato De Giovanni
Dora Ann Lange Canhos

Abstract

Recent developments in information and communication technology are allowing new experiences in the integration, analysis and visualization of biodiversity information, and are leading to development of a new field of research, biodiversity informatics. Although this field has great potential in diverse realms, including basic biology, human economics, and public health, much of this potential remains to be explored. The success of several concerted international efforts depends largely on broad deployment of biodiversity informatics information and products. Several global and regional efforts are organizing and providing data for conservation and sustainable development research, including the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, the European Biodiversity Information Network, and the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network. Critical to development of this field is building a biodiversity information infrastructure, making primary biodiversity data freely and openly available over the Internet. In addition to specimen and taxonomic data, access to non-biological environmental data is critical to spatial analysis and modeling of biodiversity. Adoption of standards and protocols and development of tools for collection management, data-cleaning, georeferencing, and modeling tools, are allowing a quantum leap in the area. Open access to research data and open-source tools are leading to a new era of web services and computational frameworks for spatial biodiversity analysis, bringing new opportunities and dimensions to novel approaches in ecological analysis, predictive modeling, and synthesis and visualization of biodiversity information.

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Articles (peer-reviewed)