Biodiversity Community

Biodiversity represents the full spectrum of organisms on Earth, at population, community, and ecosystem levels. The loss and decline of biological diversity are recognised by scientists and the public as a critical challenge for humankind to address. Addressing this global crisis requires knowledge of the diversity of life on Earth, how that diversity functions and interacts, and how it responds to changing environmental pressures. This is why research that transforms our understanding of the variety of life on Earth, at phenotypic or genetic levels, is so important.

Current biodiversity data infrastructures and resources are a testament to the long-standing recognition by multiple stakeholders of their importance. However, their heterogeneity poses many challenges. These challenges are both technical, in terms of data analysis and data integration, and at the level of the scientific community, which faces a complex landscape of tools and data that can be difficult to navigate. Building connections across the many infrastructures and services active in biodiversity research is key to overcoming these challenges. These endeavours support the broader ELIXIR framework of striving to bring data science solutions to the priority area of Biodiversity, Food Security, and Pathogens. 

For more information, have a look at the Biodiversity Focus Group page, as well as the published Biodiversity Community white paper

Goals of the Community

To enhance ELIXIR’s network of networks in helping to deliver connected data for biodiversity research

  • To expose and augment relevant ELIXIR services and infrastructures contributing to efforts to catalogue, protect, and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • To support ELIXIR Nodes in expanding their activities related to biodiversity data and research and relevant for the new programme priority areas. 
  • To communicate ELIXIR activities and services relevant to the biodiversity domain to broader audiences including scientists, policy makers, and the general public.

To support the development of standards and promote best practices in biodiversity research

  • Support and promote the development and use of global standards, formats, guidelines, and ontologies across the domain.
  • Support the development of best practices in Research Data Management for biodiversity research, with a focus on molecular data but not excluding other areas.
  • Collect, expose, and maintain, a dedicated RDMkit domain for biodiversity collating relevant documentation and tools that support good practices in research data management.

To promote tools and workflows that facilitate reliable and reproducible biodiversity data analyses

  • Identify, curate, and promote high-quality biodiversity-related analysis tools and services to the wider community of users.
  • Connect developers with data-generation initiatives and data users to fuel synergies that deliver tools and workflows serving their needs.
  • Maintain curated catalogues of FAIR biodiversity-focused tools and workflows in Bio.tools and WorkflowHub.

To enhance biodiversity database/infrastructure usability and interoperability

  • Identify and act on opportunities to develop technical solutions that improve connectivity amongst heterogenous biodiversity data infrastructures and resources.
  • Foster collaborative exchanges between users and providers of biodiversity-related databases/infrastructures to improve usability and functionality.
  • Promote usage of persistent identifiers across the domain, including taxonomies as the backbone of biodiversity knowledge.

To foster knowledge transfer in biodiversity data management and analysis

  • Support community-driven skills sharing focused on understanding how to benefit from the use of available standards and best practices.
  • Connect developers of tools/workflows/databases with user communities through training that responds to changing technologies and associated services. 
  • Expose collections of training materials, for example through TeSS, the Galaxy Training Network, and RDMkit.

 

Leadership

Josephine Burgin
Josephine Burgin
(EMBL-EBI)
Toni Gabaldon
Toni Gabaldon
(BSC)
Robert Waterhouse
Robert Waterhouse
(SIB)
Physilia Chua
Physilia Chua
(Senior Science Officer, ELIXIR Hub)

Find out more

  • Contact: biodiversity-coleads [at] elixir-europe.org or biodiversity [at] elixir-europe.org.