Workshop Proposal : Canadensys New Research Initiatives

We have been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Québec Centre for Biodiversity Science to host a 2-day workshop February 19 and 20, 2015.


Workshop Proposal:
Canadensys New Research Initiatives

Could species occurrence or specimen data generated in the past
or by other studies and biodiversity inventories
take your research to new heights?

Canadensys, a nationally- and internationally-recognized resource of primary species occurrence data, is looking to develop new approaches to research related directly or indirectly to biodiversity, in collaboration with a broad cross-section of Canadian scientists. This workshop will provide an opportunity to explore these new approaches and define their needs for data and tools in preparation for the Canada Foundation for Innovation 2015 cyber-infrastructure initiative.

Researchers, collectors, curators, information technologists, students, and volunteers already participating in Canadensys are building an integrated inventory of Canadian biodiversity in partnership with key national and international partners. Canadensys received its initial funding in 2008 as part of a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to digitize specimen data from university-based collections of plants, insects, and fungi and to develop a research infrastructure to publish these data openly. More than 2M specimen records have been digitized and dynamically aggregated and their associated data made freely available under Public Domain waivers. We have started to expand Canadensys by assisting with the digitization of both legacy and new research data (repository for species new to science, authoritative names lists, and observational data). The information technologists in our Network develop innovative ways for the research community to access biodiversity data through rich visualizations, useful data transformation and analytical tools, and flexible algorithms.

Innovative research needs an innovative infrastructure

Canadensys is now embarking on a new era of open data management and we are looking for researchers interested in joining us or in using the data for innovative research. The following are just a few examples of research that could be supported and enhanced by Canadensys, perhaps you can think of others: computational morphometrics (requiring high-resolution 2D images or 3D models of specimens); predicting the vagility of invasive species (phylogeographic data); analysis of perturbations in trophic networks (new database systems). You may be engaged in similar research that makes use of primary biodiversity data or could benefit from using these data. If so, your participation in the upcoming Canadensys new research initiatives workshop could be the key to opening new avenues of research that will greatly benefit you as well as Canada’s environment and society.

Primary objectives of the workshop

  1. Identify directions for innovative research and develop ideas for collaborative projects that use data and tools already available on Canadensys or that would require additional primary occurrence data, new data infrastructures, or new research tools.
  2. Define and prioritize the new data and tools needed.
  3. Prepare for the Canada Foundation for Innovation 2015 cyber-infrastructure initiative and explore other funding opportunities.

This workshop is critical for the Canadensys cyber-infrastructure proposal, so time is of the essence. Please indicate as soon as possible in the comments section if you would be interested in participating (target date in early November). More details about the workshop will be posted on this page as plans progress.