Biodiversity informatics at RBGE is currently focussed on two main areas:
- Development and support of the PADME taxonomic database system.
- Development of data dissemination through electronic means.
Biodiversity Informatics is an enabling discipline intended to support the work of natural scientists. It is the study of data and process management required to effectively perform biodiversity research. Within the RBGE this primarily takes the form of modelling taxonomic processes and creating data bases and applications based upon those models that both streamline and enhance such research and make this data available in easily accessible and customisable ways to other areas of the biosciences such as conservation, ecology and sustainable use and development.
The RBGE has a long history of interest in this field and has been developing taxonomic data bases since the early 1990s. Current research is intended to develop systems that allow the RBGE Major Floras team and the wider Science department to control and manage the production of a floristic project right through from project inception to final publication.
We are seeking to maximise the ability of taxonomists to develop an increasingly wide range of end products targeted at and tailored to a variety of distinct end user groups using a range of publication media. For example, all access to RBGE data via this web site is mediated by RBGE-developed biodiversity informatics software. Examples include the on-line Umbellifer, Zingiberaceae and Sapotaceae Resource Centres and the Flora of Nepal, and the printed Ethnoflora of the Soqotra Archipelago and the Begonia Checklist.
Current design goals emphasise the need to maximise the level of sharing of common data across projects both globally through contribution and access to projects such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and internally through common access to shared data such as specimen catalogues. Nevertheless, we will retain the ability of individual projects to develop their own world view so as not to hinder scientific progress. We are also active participants in EU funded biodiversity informatics initiatived such as EDIT, Synthesys/BioCase and the Biodiversity Collections Index.
Dr Martin Pullan - RBGE Biodiversity Informatics Specialist (Padme) Developer
Dr Roger Hyam - PESI - Project Officer
Lisa Banfield - EDIT Cyberplatform for Taxonomy Software Tester