C5.35 Predictive distribution modelling report & C5.38 Gap analysis in local inventories report

Taxonomists have to continue doing what they have done during the last three hundred years: to describe the variety of life organisms and their location. Although this colossal task is important by itself its relevance is higher now due to current need of reliable biodiversity data. In the attached report we review the available scientific information on the possibilities and usefulness of the compiled species distribution data for basic and applied purposes, two of the deliverables of EDIT Work Package 5.4 “Geographical platform components” (deliverables 5.35 -Predictive distribution modelling report- and 5.38 -Gap analysis in local inventories report-).
The main conclusions raised by this report are that (i) our current species distribution information is biased and insufficient for most taxonomic groups, and (ii) modelling methods can not provide reliable and useful distribution predictions if they are based in these biased of data. Therefore, we identify as a key priority for bioinformatics the development of tools to: i) examine the degree of completeness of distributional information, ii) discriminate well surveyed localities from those that do not have reliable inventories, and iii) identify sets of areas where to carry out additional surveys, in order to increase the level of coverage of the environmental and spatial variation of a given region. We encourage that these tools are made freely available and easy to use to universalize their application. A list of the available software is attached at the end of the report.
Our purpose is to use this report as a kick-off for a debate between the people interested in the utility of current taxonomic and distributional data. Such debate will be carried out in a forthcoming e-conference (EDIT deliverables 5.32 and 5.33), where the participation of taxonomists, conservationists and bioinformaticians are welcome. EDIT aims to provide resources for taxonomists and the development of these tools would be an opportunity to increase the correct use of the biological information, promoting also the participation of taxonomists in the use of their (our) own data. The e-conference is an opportunity to contrast opinions and identify key issues needed for the development of effective bioinformatic tools, such as the ones we suggest.
To download the report please click:Report EDIT WP 5.4 (Deliverables 5.35 and 5.38)