Biodiversity Informatics

the application of informatics techniques to biodiversity information for improved management, presentation, discovery, exploration and analysis. It typically builds on a foundation of taxonomic, biogeographic, or ecologicalinformation stored in digital form, which, with the application of modern co

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Biodiversity Informatics is the application of informatics techniques to biodiversity information for improved management, presentation, discovery, exploration and analysis. It typically builds on a foundation of taxonomic, biogeographic, or ecologicalinformation stored in digital form, which, with the application of modern computer techniques, can yield new ways to view and analyse existing information, as well as predictive models for information that does not yet exist (see niche modelling). Biodiversity informatics is a relatively young discipline (the term was coined in or around 1992) but has hundreds of practitioners worldwide, including the numerous individuals involved with the design and construction of taxonomic databases. The term "Biodiversity Informatics" is generally used in the broad sense to apply to computerized handling of any biodiversity information; the somewhat broader term "bioinformatics" is often used synonymously with the computerized handling of data in the specialized area of molecular biology.Biodiversity informatics (different but linked to bioinformatics) is the application of information technology methods to the problems of organizing, accessing, visualizing and analyzing primary biodiversity data. Primary biodiversity data is composed of names, observations and records of specimens, and genetic and morphological data associated to a specimen. Biodiversity informatics may also have to cope with managing information from unnamed taxa such as that produced by environmental sampling and sequencing of mixed-field samples. The term biodiversity informatics is also used to cover the computational problems specific to the names of biological entities, such as the development of algorithms to cope with variant representations of identifiers such as species names and authorities, and the multiple classification schemes within which these entities may reside according to the preferences of different workers in the field, as well as the syntax and semantics by which the content in taxonomic databases can be made machine queryable and interoperable for biodiversity informatics purposes...Biodiversity Informatics can be considered to have commenced with the construction of the first computerized taxonomic databases in the early 1970s, and progressed through subsequent developing of distributed search tools towards the late 1990s including the Species Analyst from Kansas University, the North American Biodiversity Information Network NABIN, CONABIO in Mexico, and others,[1] the establishment of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility in 2001, and the parallel development of a variety of niche modelling and other tools to operate on digitized biodiversity data from the mid-1980s onwards (e.g. see [2]). In September 2000, the U.S. journal Science devoted a special issue to "Bioinformatics for Biodiversity",[3] the journal "Biodiversity Informatics" commenced publication in 2004, and several international conferences through the 2000s have brought together Biodiversity Informatics practitioners, including the London e-Biosphere conference in June 2009. A supplement to the journal BMC Bioinformatics(Volume 10 Suppl 14[4]) published in November 2009 also deals with Biodiversity Informatics.
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