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Evolution of natural history information in the 21st century – developing an integrated framework for biological and geographical data

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Abstract:

Abstract

Threats to marine and estuarine species operate over many spatial scales, from nutrient enrichment at the watershed/estuarine scale to invasive species and climate change at regional and global scales. To help address research questions across these scales, we provide here a standardized framework for a biogeographical information system containing queriable biological data that allows extraction of information on multiple species, across a variety of spatial scales based on species distributions, natural history attributes and habitat requirements. As scientists shift from research on localized impacts on individual species to regional and global scale threats, macroecological approaches of studying multiple species over broad geographical areas are becoming increasingly important. The standardized framework described here for capturing and integrating biological and geographical data is a critical first step towards addressing these macroecological questions and we urge organizations capturing biogeoinformatics data to consider adopting this framework.

Keywords: Biogeography; biogeoinformatics; biological information systems; chitons; classification schemas; ecoinformatics; hierarchical schemas; macroecology; marine ecosystems; natural history

Document Type: Guest Editorial

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02515.x

Affiliations: U.S. EPA, ORD, NHEERL, Western Ecology Division, 2111 NE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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