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

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>