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Darwin Core: An Evolving Community-Developed Biodiversity Data Standard

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      Abstract

      Biodiversity data derive from myriad sources stored in various formats on many distinct hardware and software platforms. An essential step towards understanding global patterns of biodiversity is to provide a standardized view of these heterogeneous data sources to improve interoperability. Fundamental to this advance are definitions of common terms. This paper describes the evolution and development of Darwin Core, a data standard for publishing and integrating biodiversity information. We focus on the categories of terms that define the standard, differences between simple and relational Darwin Core, how the standard has been implemented, and the community processes that are essential for maintenance and growth of the standard. We present case-study extensions of the Darwin Core into new research communities, including metagenomics and genetic resources. We close by showing how Darwin Core records are integrated to create new knowledge products documenting species distributions and changes due to environmental perturbations.

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      Most cited references 46

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      A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems.

      Causal attribution of recent biological trends to climate change is complicated because non-climatic influences dominate local, short-term biological changes. Any underlying signal from climate change is likely to be revealed by analyses that seek systematic trends across diverse species and geographic regions; however, debates within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveal several definitions of a 'systematic trend'. Here, we explore these differences, apply diverse analyses to more than 1,700 species, and show that recent biological trends match climate change predictions. Global meta-analyses documented significant range shifts averaging 6.1 km per decade towards the poles (or metres per decade upward), and significant mean advancement of spring events by 2.3 days per decade. We define a diagnostic fingerprint of temporal and spatial 'sign-switching' responses uniquely predicted by twentieth century climate trends. Among appropriate long-term/large-scale/multi-species data sets, this diagnostic fingerprint was found for 279 species. This suite of analyses generates 'very high confidence' (as laid down by the IPCC) that climate change is already affecting living systems.
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        Ecological responses to recent climate change.

        There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels. Despite continued uncertainty as to community and ecosystem trajectories under global change, our review exposes a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems. Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already clearly visible.
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          Consequences of changing biodiversity.

          Human alteration of the global environment has triggered the sixth major extinction event in the history of life and caused widespread changes in the global distribution of organisms. These changes in biodiversity alter ecosystem processes and change the resilience of ecosystems to environmental change. This has profound consequences for services that humans derive from ecosystems. The large ecological and societal consequences of changing biodiversity should be minimized to preserve options for future solutions to global environmental problems.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America
            [2 ]University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America
            [3 ]California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, United States of America
            [4 ]Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Copenhagen, Denmark
            [5 ]Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental, Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil
            [6 ]University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States of America
            University of Vermont, United States of America
            Author notes

            Wrote the paper: JW DB R. Guralnick SB MD R. Giovanni TR DV.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            1932-6203
            2012
            6 January 2012
            : 7
            : 1
            3253084
            22238640
            PONE-D-11-18341
            10.1371/journal.pone.0029715
            (Editor)
            Wieczorek et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
            Counts
            Pages: 8
            Categories
            Research Article
            Biology
            Computational Biology
            Genomics
            Ecology
            Evolutionary Biology
            Genomics
            Paleontology
            Computer Science
            Information Technology
            Earth Sciences
            Paleontology

            Uncategorized

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