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The big questions for biodiversity informatics

A. Townsend Peterson, Sandra Knapp, Robert P. Guralnick, Jorge Soberón, Mark T. Holder
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Journal Article
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Science is a sequence of generating new ideas, detailed explorations, incorporation of the results into a toolbox for understanding data, and turning them into useful knowledge. One recent development has been large-scale, computer-aided management of biodiversity information. This emerging field of biodiversity informatics has been growing quickly, but without overarching scientific questions to guide its development; the result has been developments that have no connection to genuine insight and forward progress. We outline what biodiversity informatics should be, a link between diverse dimensions of organismal biology – genomics, phylogenetics, taxonomy, distributional biology, ecology, interactions, and conservation status – and describe the science progress that would result. These steps will enable a transition from ‘gee-whiz’ to fundamental science infrastructure.

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