Emerging Innovations for Biodiversity Data

Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference


June 4, 2018 to June 6, 2018
8:00am to 5:00pm
UC Berkeley


The Berkeley Natural History Museums, the Berkeley Initiative for Global Change Biology, and iDigBio are pleased to announce the Second Annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference, to be held in Berkeley, CA, 4-6 June 2018.

The rapid mobilization of digitized biodiversity data, led largely in the United States by the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program, has resulted in a substantial increase in available data for research and related activities. The 2018 conference will again encompass the uses of digitized data across all biodiversity disciplines, with special emphasis on digitized specimen data and the potential for “big data” analytics in organismal biology. This year's conference will focus on five major themes, and provide attendees with an important opportunity to explore digital data tools, techniques, discoveries, and outcomes across the biodiversity sciences. 

  1. Addressing the fundamental questions of evolutionary biology and ecology,
  2. Meeting the research challenges of the Anthropocene,
  3. Biodiversity data archives for education and science outreach,
  4. New tools for data discovery and analysis,
  5. Future, untested frontiers for natural history collections.

Full details will be posted on the iDigBio website. For further information or to ensure that you are on the email list, please contact Gil Nelson at iDigBio (gnelson@bio.fsu.edu).  The conference planning team includes BIDS Senior Fellows David Ackerly, Carl Boettiger and Brent Mishler




David Ackerly

Dean, College of Natural Resources (CNR)

David is the Dean of the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and a faculty member in integrative biology with research interests in climate change impacts on biodiversity, integration of phylogenetics and ecology, and conservation biology in relation to 21st century climate change. For the past 10 years or so, he has been increasingly involved in data-intensive projects, for example integrating large datasets of phylogenetics and trait data, and handling large ensembles of future climate layers for modeling biodiversity impacts. He has also participated in the development of free-standing software (the phylocom package) and a publicly shared R library (picante). The R language is his principal tool for all data analysis, graphics, etc., and is the foundation for work in his lab.  He is also principal investigator and director of Data Sciences for the 21st Century (DS421): Environment and Society, a 5-year NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program launched in September 2015. The program trains students at the intersection of data science and social & natural sciences to tackle challenges and solutions in response to rapid environmental change. 

Carl Boettiger

Assistant Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

I’m an ecologist working on problems in ecological forecasting and decision theory. The rapid expansion in both computational power and available ecological and environmental data enables and requires new mathematical and statistical approaches to these questions as well as new tools for handling heterogeneous, incomplete, and rapidly evolving datasets. Ecology has much to learn about what is and isn’t useful from advances in informatics, computer science, and statistics for the challenges we face.  My research blends theoretical investigation with the creation of software tools to use and test these concepts in ecological questions.  

I am a co-founder of the rOpenSci project and a science adviser to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). More information can be found on my website, including my an open lab notebook.

Brent D. Mishler

Director, University and Jepson Herbaria

Brent Mishler is director of the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley as well as professor in the Department of Integrative Biology. His general research interests can be grouped into two main areas: (1) empirical studies of ecology, phylogeny, systematics, and development of mosses and (2) the theoretical basis of systematic and evolutionary biology. His data science interests fall into two main areas also: (1) phyloinformatics, including comparative genomics; database mining for phylogenetic analysis; and the visualization of phylogenetic trees and (2) biodiversity informatics, especially the digitization and databasing of biological collections; integration of collection data with phylogenetic, taxonomic, and ecological data; and the production of electronic floras.  

For example, he was one of the co-PIs of the Moorea Biocode Project, a massive inventory of multicellular life on the island of Moorea in the Society Islands of the South Pacific, a project that involved integrating collection data with DNA sequence data. He is also involved in developing electronic resources for taxonomic and distributional information for California plants—in particular the Consortium of California Herbaria, which integrates specimen data from 31 institutions and allows many options for mapping plant distributions in relation to other geographical data. The Jepson Herbarium also maintains the standard flora for the state—the Jepson eFlora—which treats all native and naturalized plants in the state, more than 7,500 terminal taxa (i.e., species, subspecies, and varieties) with contributions of more than 300 authors. His current research interests include developing methods for studying biodiversity and endemism using large-scale phylogenies and collection data.