The first Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) Forum was held from 3-4 June 2015 at the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, Pretoria. Approximately 100 participants from 29 different South African institutions including universities, museums, science councils and other research organisations attended the forum. The two-day programme included presentations and parallel working group sessions. Click on the links to download the Forum programme and the Participant list.
The objectives of this inaugural FBIP Forum was to:
- Provide guidance for funding proposals;
- Discuss some of the challenges and potential solutions in terms of the collection, compilation and co-ordination of foundational biodiversity information; and
- Facilitate networking and collaboration that will enhance the products from the FBIP and increase their impact.
Ms Carmel Mbizvo, Head of Research and Policy Advice at the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), opened the forum and welcomed the participants. Dr Yonah Seleti, Chief Director of Science Missions at the Department of Science & Technology (DST), outlined the biodiversity priorities for the DST and Dr Andrew Kaniki, Executive Director Knowledge Fields Development at the National Research Foundation (NRF), provided inputs and feedback from the NRF perspective. The FBIP Manager, Prof Michelle Hamer (SANBI) presented an overview of the FBIP programme, outlined the key elements for successful proposals and discussed the requirements for small grants and large integrated projects. Finally she summarised the FBIP data types, requirements and templates (species occurrence data, species information pages, taxonomy data, sequence / barcoding data). Her presentation can be downloaded here.
The rest of the day consisted of contextual and informative presentations on current funded projects, research and data management and grant holder presentations.
On the second day, the following working groups met concurrently to discuss several topics and answer questions of importance to each group’s field of study: DNA barcoding, foundational biodiversity information for microbes, and species occurrence & pages.
DNA barcoding group
Facilitators: Michelle van der Bank (University of Johannesburg) and Monica Mwale (National Zoological Gardens of South Africa).
The group discussions centred on questions such as: What qualifies as DNA barcoding; how do we ensure that data meet requirements for barcoding; What are the priority focus taxa / areas for barcoding; What are the co-ordination requirements for SA-IBOL; Should we consider other approaches for using DNA for species identification?
Foundational biodiversity information for Microbes group
Facilitators: Karin Jacobs (Stellenbosch University), Riana Jacobs-Venter (Agricultural Research Council) and Rosemary Dorrington (Rhodes University).
This group deliberated questions such as: What data are generated through surveys and studies on microbe diversity; Who uses these data and how do they use them; How can we increase use of microbe data; How do we manage and disseminate the data for use?
Species occurrence & species pages group
- Species occurrence (animals): Willem Coetzer (South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity)
- Species occurrence (plants): Domatilla Raimondo (SANBI)
- Species pages group (e-fauna): Tsungai Zengeya (SANBI)
- Species pages group (e-flora): Marianne le Roux (SANBI)
The species occurrence and species pages group merged for part of the session to discuss the integration of species attribute data into data management systems such as Brahms and Specify. Thereafter the species occurrence working group focused on the following topics: fields/data required, templates and software and identified needs in terms of training, support, integration of data sets, potential formation of user groups. The working group for species pages reflected on initiatives such as EOL, e-flora, and others; the alignment in data to be covered; integration or linking of different projects and data sets, avenues for dissemination.
The PowerPoint presentations of the working groups’ synopses are available for download. Additional comments from the participants during the joint discussions were added. Click on the links below to access the presentations.