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      The history and impact of digitization and digital data mobilization on biodiversity research

      1 , 2

      Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

      The Royal Society

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          Abstract

          The first two decades of the twenty-first century have seen a rapid rise in the mobilization of digital biodiversity data. This has thrust natural history museums into the forefront of biodiversity research, underscoring their central role in the modern scientific enterprise. The advent of mobilization initiatives such as the United States National Science Foundation's Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC), Australia's Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), Mexico's National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), Brazil's Centro de Referência em Informação (CRIA) and China's National Specimen Information Infrastructure (NSII) has led to a rapid rise in data aggregators and an exponential increase in digital data for scientific research and arguably provide the best evidence of where species live. The international Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) now serves about 131 million museum specimen records, and Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio) in the USA has amassed more than 115 million. These resources expose collections to a wider audience of researchers, provide the best biodiversity data in the modern era outside of nature itself and ensure the primacy of specimen-based research. Here, we provide a brief history of worldwide data mobilization, their impact on biodiversity research, challenges for ensuring data quality, their contribution to scientific publications and evidence of the rising profiles of natural history collections.This article is part of the theme issue 'Biological collections for understanding biodiversity in the Anthropocene'.

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          Most cited references 55

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          Using Deep Learning for Image-Based Plant Disease Detection

          Crop diseases are a major threat to food security, but their rapid identification remains difficult in many parts of the world due to the lack of the necessary infrastructure. The combination of increasing global smartphone penetration and recent advances in computer vision made possible by deep learning has paved the way for smartphone-assisted disease diagnosis. Using a public dataset of 54,306 images of diseased and healthy plant leaves collected under controlled conditions, we train a deep convolutional neural network to identify 14 crop species and 26 diseases (or absence thereof). The trained model achieves an accuracy of 99.35% on a held-out test set, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach. Overall, the approach of training deep learning models on increasingly large and publicly available image datasets presents a clear path toward smartphone-assisted crop disease diagnosis on a massive global scale.
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            Old Plants, New Tricks: Phenological Research Using Herbarium Specimens.

            The timing of phenological events, such as leaf-out and flowering, strongly influence plant success and their study is vital to understanding how plants will respond to climate change. Phenological research, however, is often limited by the temporal, geographic, or phylogenetic scope of available data. Hundreds of millions of plant specimens in herbaria worldwide offer a potential solution to this problem, especially as digitization efforts drastically improve access to collections. Herbarium specimens represent snapshots of phenological events and have been reliably used to characterize phenological responses to climate. We review the current state of herbarium-based phenological research, identify potential biases and limitations in the collection, digitization, and interpretation of specimen data, and discuss future opportunities for phenological investigations using herbarium specimens.
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              New Brazilian Floristic List Highlights Conservation Challenges

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B
                The Royal Society
                0962-8436
                1471-2970
                January 07 2019
                January 07 2019
                : 374
                : 1763
                : 20170391
                Affiliations
                [1 ]iDigBio, Florida State University, 142 Collegiate Loop, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
                [2 ]Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
                Article
                10.1098/rstb.2017.0391
                6282090
                30455209
                © 2019

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