The University of Arizona

SISTA Colloquium Details


Monday, March 28, 2011

12:00 – 12:50 p.m.

Gould-Simpson Building, Room 906

Light refreshments in 9th floor atrium area - 11:50 a.m.



Bryan Heidorn, Director and Professor
School of Information Resources and Library Science

University of Arizona

Title: Biodiversity Informatics: An Interdisciplinary Challenge

Abstract: In an age of climate change, land use and abuse, expanding populations we know little about the species that exist on earth, their distribution, behavior or role in ecosystem balances. Approximately

1.8 million species have been identified over the past 300 years. For most of these little is known beyond the assigned name, locate and date of collection. However, it is estimated that there are well over 20 million species yet to be identified.  Approximately 1 billion specimens exist in museums in the United States alone. If all species were collected with multiple exemplars we would expect many trillions of specimens. Biodiversity informatics is the application of information technology (IT) tools and approaches to biodiversity information, principally at the organismic level. It thus deals with information capture, storage provision, retrieval, and analysis, focused on individual organisms, populations, and species, and their interactions. It covers information generated by the fields of systematics, evolutionary biology, population biology, and ecology, as well as more applied fields such as conservation biology and ecological management. In this talk we will discuss some of the initiatives aimed at addressing the computational problems associated with the field.