27 Aug 12

Andrew R Deans and his colleagues have recently published two papers which resulted from their October 2010 Integrating ontologies with biodiversity research: an example from Hymenoptera and the EOL synthesis meeting: Time to change how we describe biodiversity and A hymenopterists’ guide to the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology: utility, clarification, and future directions.

They have carried many of the ideas that emerged from their synthesis meeting into the Phenotype RCN, which meets twice a year, and will be hosting two smaller meetings (Fall 2012, Spring 2013) styled after their BioSynC meeting.

Finally, they have also submitted several grants from the meeting:
--NSF DBI -1147108 - "ABI Development: Leveraging Semantic Phenotypes to Transform Taxonomy" (declined, to be resubmitted September 2012)
--NSF DEB -1146404 - "ARTS: Semantic, extensible, and broadly useful revision of Ceraphronoidea (Hymenoptera), a possible link between sawflies and apocritan wasps" (declined, resubmitted August 2012 as NSF DEB-7274173 - "ARTS: Species descriptions on the Semantic Web - revising Ceraphronoidea (Hymenoptera), a possible link between sawflies and apocritan wasps").

24 Aug 12

Walter Jetz and his colleagues were awarded an NSF DBI grant, Map of Life: An infrastructure for integrating global species distribution knowledge, that was facilitated from their first Species Distributions synthesis meeting in May 2009. This work continued during their second Species Distributions synthesis meeting,
Integrating and refining the global knowledge base of species distributions – data, tools, applications, in July 2010, and resulted in a recent TREE paper summarized below.

Integrating biodiversity distribution knowledge: toward a global map of life
Walter Jetz, Jana M. McPherson, Robert P. Guralnick

Global knowledge about the spatial distribution of species is orders of magnitude coarser in resolution than other geographically-structured environmental datasets such as topography or land cover. Yet such knowledge is crucial in deciphering ecological and evolutionary processes and in managing global change. In this review, we propose a conceptual and cyber-infrastructure framework for refining species distributional knowledge that is novel in its ability to mobilize and integrate diverse types of data such that their collective strengths overcome individual weaknesses. The ultimate aim is a public, online, quality-vetted ‘Map of Life’ that for every species integrates and visualizes available distributional knowledge, while also facilitating user feedback and dynamic biodiversity analyses. First milestones toward such an infrastructure have now been implemented.

24 Aug 12

Jeremy Miller and his colleagues have prepared a manuscript from work accomplished during the 2011 From Taxonomic Literature to Cybertaxonomic Content synthesis meeting. The manuscript is currently going through a pre-submission inquiry with PLoS Computational Biology.

24 Aug 12

Ben Collen and his colleagues have published a report called ‘Spineless: status and trends of the world’s invertebrates’, download here. This report will be launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea this September. The 2009 Freshwater species conservation: Assessing the status of North American crayfish and the 2011 Assessing the Status of Cone Snails synthesis meetings supported many of the crayfish and cone snail assessments which will feature in part of the report.

22 Aug 12

Chacha Sikes has used her experience from the Evolutionary Tree Visualization synthesis meeting held in May, 2009 to develop and create several new hackathon projects.

Sikes founded a hackathon format for design, Iconathon.org, which is now run by the Noun Project. Sikes also advises on hackathons for cities and humanitarian events, and is planning one of the first environmental hackathons in the spring for the Bay Area. She is also part of a group that is creating a machine readable open list of fresh & perishable foods, open-food.org -- interactive interface prototype can be found here, and had a very successful presentation at SXSW about open food data.

She credits her shift from her science museum work to working more deeply with open source and governments & food data from her time in the Evolutionary Tree Visualization synthesis meeting.

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