Earth Lab EDS Seminar
Open to Public
Earth Lab's Environmental Data Science weekly seminar series
Title: Species Occurrence Data and The Biodiversity Collections Network
Speaker: Barbara Thiers, New York Botanical Garden Herbarium
Abstract: Biodiversity collections (including preserved natural history specimens, fossils, and living collections) provide a record of life on earth over the past five centuries. During the last 10-20 years, biodiversity collections worldwide have been digitizing their specimens, resulting in more than one billion digital species occurrence records, almost all of which are shared freely online. The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) is a team of representatives from a variety of collection types and supporting organizations that promotes the use of physical collections and their digital derivatives. BCoN's Extended Specimen Network initiative proposes that the next major objective for biodiversity collections is to link their data to other environmental data to broaden the range of uses for species occurrence data. To create such a network involves the development of partnerships with a wider range segment of the environmental data community. The National Science Foundation has recently funded BCoN to initiate conversations that could lead to the development of such partnerships through a project called, "Building of an Integrated, Open, Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, & Reusable (BIOFAIR) Data Network."
Bio: Dr. Barbara Thiers is the Director Emerita of the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium, where for approximately 40 years she sought to increase access to the 8 million botanical specimens housed there through digitization. She has been a member of the Biodiversity Collections Network Advisory Committee since 2015. She is also a member of the external advisor committee for iDigBio, the national collections digitization hub, and was an author of the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Mathematics recent report on Biological Collections. She is a board member of the Natural Science Collections Alliance, and Past President of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. She retired and moved to the Denver area in 2021 and since then has served as an Instructor at CU Boulder, and is a Research Adjunct at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where she is working on a re-survey of Colorado bryophytes.