Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MARINE BIOLOGY meets INFORMATION TECHNOLGY – and a new era in marine biology has begun

29.06.2006
Marine biologists and information technologists launch new inter-disciplinary research area called "ocean biodiversity informatics"
The publication of a special Theme Section of 9 papers in the prestigious international marine science journal Marine Ecology Progress Series marks the official recognition of a new inter-disciplinary area of research. Marine biologists are using the latest online information technologies to share, map, analyse and model data from many different sources to reveal global patterns in marine species. Papers in the special publication provide examples of how ocean biodiversity informatics benefits research on whales, seals, sea birds, sea turtles, fisheries, anemone fish and their host anemones, and deep-sea life.

Thinking big

‘Ocean Biodiversity Informatics’ (OBI) heralds a new era in biological research and management that is revolutionising the way we approach marine biodiversity research. OBI uses computer technologies to manage marine biodiversity information; capturing, storing, searching for, retrieving, visualising, mapping, modelling, analyses and publishing data allowing more users greater access to more data and information faster than ever before. The global nature of phenomena such as climate change, over-fishing, and other changes in ecosystems, would not have been recognised had it not been for informatics-aided analyses.

The thought alone of data mining and exploration on a global scale is enough to set the hearts of marine scientists fluttering across the world, as marine biology embraces the computer age. Access to global data through OBI will allow for worldwide gap analysis resulting in new perspectives on current research, the promotion of collaborations between research groups and real data sets for teaching purposes, to mention just a few of the potential benefits. “OBI is an initiative of the 21st century and will make conventional marine biodiversity research more dynamic and comprehensive, with a range of constantly evolving online tools” say Mark J. Costello and Edward Van Berghe in a paper to be published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Culture change

Data on marine species and their environment (be it regional or on a global scale) is the ‘fuel’ on which OBI operates and therefore compliments the traditional disciplines of taxonomy, ecology and biogeography. However, many scientists are ignoring pleas from international scientific organisations, including the International Council for Science, to make their data public. The irony is that most data collections are paid for, directly or indirectly, by public funds. Taxonomists have led the way with regard to public accessibility of data where the expected practice is to lodge type specimens in museums for the common good. It is suggested that there should be a protocol for scientists where ecological data would be made available in a similar way. OBI will make more data available to more people more quickly than ever before, including repatriation of data and information collected in Developing Countries.

According to Mark Costello of the University of Auckland (New Zealand), for OBI to succeed a change in biological science culture to one of open-access to primary data is essential. Also, a greater recognition of the value of such data publications by the scientific community, including publishers, funding agencies and employers is vital commented Edward Vanden Berghe of the Flanders Marine Institute (Belgium). This change in culture is currently underway.

Fit for purpose

One of the most challenging aspects of any informatics system is the quality assurance. This is particularly important when you consider all the possible uses to which data can be put, and the number of steps from the original point of data collection to the end use. However a data or information system is designed, its continuity and development depend on support from the scientific community. This community includes contributors, evaluators of funding applications, users and science policy makers.

The flagship OBI programme is the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (www.iobis.org), already publishing almost 10 million location records for 61,000 marine species from a global network of over 100 databases. OBIS is the data system for the Census of Marine Life, the largest ever global marine biology discovery programme (www.coml.org).

Mark Costello | alfa
Further information:
http://www.auckland.ac.nz
http://www.iobis.org
http://www.coml.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>