Lillehammer, Norway – A public symposium in Norway this week will showcase the benefits to scientific research of more than a decade's investment in free, open access to large volumes of data on the occurrence of species over time and across the planet.
Eight researchers will present their work making use of data accessed through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), which organizes an annual science symposium alongside its governing board meeting, taking place this year in Lillehammer.
The symposium's title is GBIF at work – biodiversity data at the service of science and society, and a major focus is the use of data from observations and natural history collections to help predict the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. Several speakers will also highlight research based on data about biodiversity from the Arctic, projected to be especially vulnerable to the changing climate.
The chair of the GBIF Science Committee, Leonard Krishtalka of the University of Kansas, commented: "Collectively, the presentations demonstrate the remarkable scope and breadth of research that have incorporated and deployed data mobilized through GBIF.
"As important is how the research is helping to answer some of the critical environmental questions facing our generation: how will climate change affect biodiversity? How do we reconcile human managed systems with sustaining critical ecosystem functions?"
The symposium will open with a presentation from Nathan Swenson of Michigan State University, winner of the 2012 Ebbe Nielsen Prize, an award of €30,000 made annually to a scientist in a GBIF Participant country making novel use of biosystematics and biodiversity informatics.
Swenson will show how large, integrated online databases are helping to transform the way we understand the functions developed by world's plants, and how they may be affected by global change.
Other presentations at the symposium will include:
The GBIF Science Symposium takes place from 9am to 5pm on Wednesday 19 September at Lillehammer University College, Gudbrandsdalsvegen 350, N-2624, Lillehammer, Norway. Press and the public are welcome to attend, and admission is free.
The full symposium programme can be accessed at http://gb19.gbif.org/GB19/symposium.html The proceedings will be published at a later date.
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Notes to editors:
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) was established by governments in 2001 to encourage free and open access to biodiversity data, via the Internet. Through a global network of 57 countries and 47 organizations, GBIF promotes and facilitates the mobilization, access, discovery and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet.
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