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BITC / Biodiversity Diagnoses - Intro to Biodiversity Diagnoses Course

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This is our National Biodiversity Diagnoses Course. This is a very short introduction to what this particular course is about. I'm not going to go into much detail. This is just to give us an idea of why we're all here. Biodiversity informatics has not achieved much in the way of synthesis. And, without synthesis, it's difficult to say what we know versus what we don't know. Ideally, we would be able to summarize the state of knowledge of biodiversity. We would be able to understand biodiversity patterns across regions of interest for taxa of interest. The birds of Kenya. The plants of Uganda. If we're able to do that, we'll be able to detect hotspots and prioritize areas that should be protected. We should also be able to identify gaps in our knowledge, and be able to identify sites that we don't know well enough. They may be important. They may be unimportant. They may have unique species. They may have unknown species. So, this is what we mean when we talk about a biodiversity information diagnosis. Okay? It's essentially a state of knowledge. I showed you this slide a little bit ago. These biodiversity information diagnoses cover this area. Okay? They're bridging between where species are and what species are present. This is a messy slide. But, the idea is that a good biodiversity information diagnosis links those two aspects of the question. What we're trying to do in this course, is provide basic concepts and interesting ideas in this very general field of summarizing elements of biodiversity across regions. We want to work with each of the trainee groups to develop We want to develop each of those analyses into a publishable paper. At all points, we want to discuss and debate interesting ideas. And, we want to capture everything digitally so that more than just the 20 of us present here may benefit from this. Okay? To give you one example of this... During the South Africa course on building biodiversity information institutions, there was a conversation between Jean Ganglo, Alex, and Moses. Me and a couple other people were there as well. And, that idea was a very good idea. It was very interesting. So, at the Ghana course, six of us sat down for a few days. And we discussed that idea more and more. We wrote a proposal. Now, you're going to start hearing about the West African Plants Initiative. It's just been funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. That idea was born two courses ago. So, it's worth it. It's worth taking ideas that result from having 20 smart people sitting around a table and exploring them. That's why we do things like work exactly where we live and eat. That way we have during the breaks or in the evenings to be able to discuss and develop some of these ideas. Here's what we want to do during this course. I know this is a little small. Day 1. Introductions. After this we'll do introductions around the room. Then, we'll talk about the plans for publication. We'll talk about data cleaning during the second half of the morning. And, this afternoon, we'll go through each of the data sets and introduce the projects to group as a whole. Day 2, we'll talk about data analysis. We'll go over measuring completeness of inventories, how to manage differential sampling effort, and establishing baseline points for detection of future change. Things like that. In the afternoon, we'll do the simplest of the analyses: assessing the spatial gaps. Identifying the big holes in the map between areas of solid knowledge of floras or faunas. Day 3 we'll cover environmental gaps. That's a little more difficult. Because those spatial gaps you identified may be gaps within the same environments. So, we can ask: of the not sampled (or poorly sampled) areas, which are different geographically? Sorry - environmentally. For example, you might sample 95% of Uganda. But, you might not get to the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains which are a completely different environment. By day 4, we've assessed the gaps. Now, within what we do know, what are the patterns of species richness and endemism? So, what do we know biologically (not in terms of sampling)? Day 5, we'll begin discussing manuscript preparation. Okay? There is already a publishing course available via the BITC webpage. But, we'll go over a somewhat abbreviated version of it. I think it might be useful. We'll talk a lot about effective figures. My personal opinion is that that's where a lot of scientists fail. Right? We're good scientists, but we're bad artists. And, we're bad graphic designers. We're fortunate to have Arturo here, because he's very good with this. Day 6 will be fairly free-form. We'll discuss the final details of analysis. Visualization and writing. We'll talk more about the special issue of <i>Biodiversity Informatics</i>. We will set some due dates and deadlines. Then, we want your feedback about what we're doing right and wrong. The very general plan: Eat your breakfast and be down here by 0830. This will let us get started on time. It's easy today. But, by Thursday and Friday you'll be pretty tired. We will be, too. So, get here a little bit early. 0900-1100: Lectures 1100-1130: Break 1130-1300: Lectures 1300-1400: Lunch 1400-1530: Lectures (or work) I should've fixed that. 1530-1600: Break 1600-1700: Lectures (or work) In the afternoon, we'll typically do more hands-on work. This will be the time to get into each of your datasets to achieve the goals of that day. [participant] It's 10 hours. [laughter] [Town] Is that saying that my lecture sounds like it's 10-hours long? Here are your instructors for the week. We're fortunate that Arturo agreed to join us from Pamplona, Spain. Then, we have two doctoral students from the University of Kansas. Both with the misfortune of working with me. Lindsay, tends to focus on the geography of diseases, but does much more than that. Kate is working on the geography of pelagic birds of the southern oceans but also does more than that. And, if you get to know her, you'll find that the working with birds is all a facade and that she really is into herpetology. I don't know why this is not working. Whenever you have trouble, or whenever you need anything, just come to Kate or I and we'll fix it. And, most importantly, those are my granddaughters, Danerys and Khaleesi. Those are the new pictures. If you see the screen on my computer, that's from a year ago. She's 3 and she's about to turn 2. In fact, this course was planned for mid-January because her birthday is 4 February. So, I have to be back by then.

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Duration: 10 minutes and 53 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: townpeterson on Jul 26, 2016

This talk was presented in the course on National Biodiversity Diagnoses, an advanced course focused on developing summaries of state of knowledge of particular taxa for countries and regions. The workshop was held in Entebbe, Uganda, during 12-17 January 2015. Workshop organized by the Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum, with funding from the JRS Biodiversity Foundation.

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