Big Data in Biodiversity Science: A Framework for Engagement

Paper by Tendai Musvuugwa, Muxe Gladmond Dlomu and Adekunle Adebowale: “Despite best efforts, the loss of biodiversity has continued at a pace that constitutes a major threat to the efficient functioning of ecosystems. Curbing the loss of biodiversity and assessing its local and global trends requires a vast amount of datasets from a variety of sources. Although the means for generating, aggregating and analyzing big datasets to inform policies are now within the reach of the scientific community, the data-driven nature of a complex multidisciplinary field such as biodiversity science necessitates an overarching framework for engagement. In this review, we propose such a schematic based on the life cycle of data to interrogate the science. The framework considers data generation and collection, storage and curation, access and analysis and, finally, communication as distinct yet interdependent themes for engaging biodiversity science for the purpose of making evidenced-based decisions. We summarize historical developments in each theme, including the challenges and prospects, and offer some recommendations based on best practices….(More)”.