An important part of BIEN's mission of promoting global-scale research on plant distribution and function is to develop tools for merging and standardizing data. A principal goal of BIEN is to model geographic distributions and estimate range sizes for the majority of New World plant species, using specimen collections, ecological inventories and regional checklists as inputs. This challenge has lead to the development of ground breaking informatics solutions including:
- The Taxonomic Name Resolution Service – Standardize your plant names here. The TNRS is a critical tool for integration of any botanical data. Click here for the TNRS publication. Nature featured the TNRS in a News & Views story. New sources are being added to the TNRS so stay tuned for more updates.
- Native Species Resolver – This specimen record of Cattleya skinneri in Peru, is it native or introduced? Ask the NSR! Currently, the NSR can be accessed via a web service and in batch mode (shell access to server required). A public web interface is coming soon.
- Plant-O-Matic – Plants for the people! A free mobile phone app for iPhone, Plant-O-Matic uses the GPS of the users phone to generate a personalized species list of all plant species that are found nearby. The app accesses the ~ 100,000 plant ranges in the New World to allow the user to explore the taxonomic, functional diversity around them. It provides links to images and additional information regarding each species.
- Veg-X, A new vegetation data exchange standard for botanical data, click here and here to learn more.
- Novel tools, approaches, and computational algorithms to geographic validation, and range modeling using high-performance parallel computing. These data products are already forming the basis of several manuscripts submitted or in preparation and will ultimately be made publicly available.
- BIEN3.0 database schema – a flexible and comprehensive database to house, access, and discover botanical data. BIEN 3 is a completely new database for botany rebuilt from the ground up. The BIEN 3 schema (click here) is based in part on VegBank, with modifications to support herbarium specimens, a broader diversity of inventory data, and plant traits. Data is transferred to VegBIEN from specimen databases using the existing Darwin Core (DwC) exchange schema; plot data is transferred using VegCSV, a new plain text schema developed in the BIEN database supbgroup and based on the VegX vegetation exchange schema. Individual data sources—or the entire database—can be loaded and re-loaded rapidly, allowing ongoing updates as existing data sources are modified or grow, or new sources are acquired.
- R BIEN – Tools for Accessing the Botanical Ecology and Information Network Database – new release! R package to access BIEN data and data products including geographic ranges, phylogenies, traits, species lists, and plots. Query data based on either geography, phylogeny, or taxonomy.