Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

International research team determines knowledge gaps on species occurences

07.09.2015

Global exchange of biological data is crucial for study and protection of nature

Tiger, harpy eagle, giant salamander: Emerging economies from Brazil to China are home to some of the most fascinating and threatened animals on earth. But despite these biological treasures, very few biological records are accessible for those countries.


Gaps in information on species distribution: Warmer colors indicate areas of the world where most species are represented with data. Grey areas have no data.

Photo: University of Göttingen

This was shown by the most comprehensive survey of global species distribution data to date, just published in the journal Nature Communications by an international research team from the University of Göttingen in Germany and the US-American University of Florida and Yale University.

The scientists investigated millions of occurrence records of all known species of mammals, birds and amphibians, most of which come from natural history museums that make information on the locations of their animal collections available. The researchers calculated how well those data represent species in different parts of the world.

“Until now it was thought that the largest data gaps were in tropical developing countries, which are rich in biodiversity but often lack the resources to study it,” the first author of the study, Dr. Carsten Meyer from the University of Göttingen, explains. “Accordingly, we were surprised to find the largest knowledge gaps in relatively wealthy emerging economies.“

The team investigated the reasons for regional differences in the state of knowledge. The decisive factors were the spatial proximity to research institutions, the willingness of countries to share data internationally, and the availability of research funds.

“If we wanted to improve global knowledge effectively, it would be particularly helpful to improve the scientific cooperation between industrialized and emerging economies,” Dr. Meyer says. “The latter countries often hold tremendous amounts of data, but do not yet make them available internationally.”

“Free and easy access to exact data on the occurrences of plants and animals is crucial for answering central questions in ecology and evolution“, the co-leading author of the study, Professor Holger Kreft from the University of Göttingen, explains.

“For instance, such data can be used to estimate how species worldwide will react to future climate change. Such data also build the scientific foundations for important decisions in environmental policy, for instance, where to establish protected areas or whether to list certain species as endangered.”

The scientists hope that the new findings will contribute to a better international coordination of efforts to collect and provide biodiversity data. Funding and expertise for such activities exists primarily in industrialized nations, which are often comparatively species-poor and already well-studied.

“Some of these resources may be better applied in countries that lack the necessary expertise and modern technologies. This could be done via direct partnerships between research institutions of industrialized and developing countries,“ Dr. Meyer says.

According to the study, even amateur naturalists can make important contributions to research on species distribution, and thus directly assist their protection. Smartphone apps like eBird, iNaturalist or Map of Life allow nature lovers to share their observation of animals online with scientists across the world.

Original publication: Carsten Meyer et al. Global priorities for an effective information basis of biodiversity distributions. Nature Communications 2015. Doi: 10.1038/NCOMMS9221.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Holger Kreft
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Free Floater Research Group „Biodiversity, Macroecology and Conservation Biogeography“
Büsgenweg 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone +49 551 39-10727
Email: hkreft@uni-goettingen.de

Dr. Carsten Meyer
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Free Floater Research Group „Biodiversity, Macroecology and Conservation Biogeography“
Büsgenweg 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone +49 551 39-10727
Email: cmeyer2@uni-goettingen.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/biodiversity

Thomas Richter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle
21.06.2018 | University of Chicago

nachricht The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon
21.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>