Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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BiGAEOn: an ontology for Biogeographic areas
Visotheary Ung, Pier Luigi Buttigieg

Building: CTEC
Room: Auditorium
Date: 2016-12-06 02:30 PM – 02:45 PM
Last modified: 2016-11-30


In the current context of Biodiversity loss and climate change, it is more than ever necessary to adapt and develop our scientific practices to face these present-day global issues. Scientists, particularly biologists, have to define new protocols to optimize the tremendous amount of new data being generated and to analyse them.

Monitoring Biodiversity is a complex problem because of its multiple facets and cross-domains links. The creation and use of ontologies to conceptualize those different aspects of Biodiversity is an efficient means for key stakeholders and policies makers to promote consistency and reliability of systems.

For this purpose, the Environment Ontology (ENVO; http://www.environmentontology.org) is a community ontology for the concise and controlled description of environments. It is interoperating with other domain ontologies closely linked to the representation of biodiversity in order to better interface with efforts such as Darwin Core and initiatives to promote the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of the ENVO consortium, BiGAEOn is an ontology for biogeographic areas specifically. Biogeographic areas are the basic units used in Comparative Biogeography to produce classifications of biogeographic areas, here, bioregionalisation. BiGAEOn model describe and harmonize biogeographic entities (e.g. areas of endemism, endemic areas…) as well as their relationships. Hence, it provides a rigorous and simple framework that improves biogeographic analyses and interoperability between systems.

In particular, BiGAEOn integrates formal descriptions of WWF ecoregions (http://www.worldwildlife.org). In this presentation, we will illustrate how our ontology fits current debates with a case study on Australia, since it’s the actual scene of the bioregionalisation revival.