Harmonizing vocabularies for population studies


Marine Biodiversity Observation Networks (MBONs) will produce measurements of organism occurrences, abundance and density from various ongoing local collections, and from new technologies such as genome sequencing and imagery. From these will be produced complex derived measurements and multiple diversity indices for broad taxonomic groups (“microbes-to-megafauna”). Data must be interoperable with existing environmental measurements and also aligned with Darwin Core and GBIF.  Considerable work has gone into lists of biological terms, e.g., the Essential Biological Variables, the IOOS Biological Core Variables and as part of the GOOS Essential Ocean Variables. However, some aspects of these vocabularies are still at the conceptual level - i.e., they are somewhat ambiguous and without quantities assigned. Concrete descriptions of measurements for population data are needed in all communities studying populations and biodiversity, so additional work on these terms will have broad applicability. Alignment between Darwin Core terms (via OBIS) and some MBON datasets from GCOOS has already begun, which lends urgency to this work.

During this session, we will outline the steps necessary to operationalize important population variables so that they can be attached to measurements in MBON datasets. We anticipate tasks such as specifying definitions or constraints for established variables, and  aligning definitions among various vocabularies. A sample of current tools and capabilities will be briefly outlined, and input from participants’ priorities gathered so that a concrete scope of work can be developed to advance this work.

Background Material:

Recommendations for the Use of Knowledge Organisation Systems by GBIF http://www.gbif.org/resource/80656

Pereira, H. M. et al. 2013. Essential Biodiversity Variables. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1229931

GOOS Biology and Ecosystems Panel. http://goosocean.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=79&Ite...

A Framework for Ocean Observing. By the Task Team for an Integrated Framework for Sustained Ocean Observing, UNESCO 2012, IOC/INF-1284 rev., doi: 10.5270/OceanObs09-FOO

IOOS Core Variables http://www.iooc.us/activities/biological-integration-observation-task-team/

GCOOS sample datasets aligned with DC terms via the OBIS enrollment process (see attached doc): http://gcoos4.tamu.edu:8080/erddap/search/index.html?page=1&itemsPerPage...
GBIF-TDWG Vocabulary Management Task Group: http://community.gbif.org/pg/groups/21382/,   http://terms.tdwg.org/wiki/,  http://terms.tdwg.org/wiki/Audubon_Core 
IOOS Biological Data Terminology,  http://ioos.github.io/biological-data-services/biological-observations/  

The Ecosystem Ontology (ECSO) of measurements, http://bioportal.bioontology.org/ontologies/ECSO/
British Oceanographic Data Center, NERC Vocabulary Servier: https://www.bodc.ac.uk/resources/products/web_services/vocab/

O'Brien, M.; Benson, A.; Harmonizing vocabularies for population studies; Winter Meeting 2017. ESIP Commons , October 2016