396Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Standardized Sampling Methodologies and a Common Database
- Aug 15, 2008This sounds good Sam. I have a few minor additions as follows:
" 1. Standardized vs. Opportunistic samples or surveys"
I'm not sure that these can be broken down so simply. My sense is that a
wide array of sampling techniques are appropriate depending on the
questions of interest and the circumstances. Much "Opportunistic" or
taxonomically-focused sampling can be standardized to some degree, but
using methods appropriate to descriptive and historical science (e.g.,
historical biogeography) and therefore quite different from those applied
to experimental studies such as those designed by statistically savvy bee
"3. Everyone does their own thing and keeps data in whatever
database/spreadsheet they like and periodically contributes a text file
with column headers to a central repository. Each database is owned by the
contributor and is maintained (and included or excluded) by that group.
Another body provides a service for extraction or
display of these datasets...Discoverlife is a good example of this."
A useful model, already implemented at Discoverlife, is for small
contributors and those lacking computer resources to periodically send
static data (e.g., from a spreadsheet) whereas larger and/or more
computer savvy contributors can set up dynamic, continuously updating
links (e.g. to a relational database) between their servers and the
Many groups have already been developing useful standards for sharing
pollinator data and we can usefully consult these and suggest that people
adopt them. If people nonetheless persist in doing their own thing for
whatever reason much of their data may still be rendered useful to all if
a clever computer scientist can extract these.
It is extremely important to note that there are already multiple linked
central repositories in place. All data sent to one central repository can
and should be shared dynamically with other collaborating repositories.
Local repositories can enhance centralized (global) data by providing
additional more particular services (e.g., customizable dynamic local maps
and potentially analyses based on these) and by sending corrections
discovered locally back to the general repositories.
As a specific example, note that bee specimen records sent to GBIF can
also be sent to other centralized data sources. This map of Bombus
includes 135,000+ GBIF records and many others, all error-checked by the
This example shows how the community can and should take advantage of
multiple central repositories, as these have different strengths and can
usefully link to each other to collectively display and error-check data.
When planning this or any other project we should try to take full
advantage of existing tools. Of these, web-based collaborative tools are
already very powerful and are being improved every day.
Images in particular can have a very wide array of uses once copyright
issues can be addressed.
In summary I suggest that we as a community assemble globally relevant
data, which can of course easily be repackaged for local use, and
establish dynamic links among central repositories (plural) and between
these and local repositories.
P.S. On the subject of sampling oligolectic bees, these are not
efficiently sampled using single-site/ecological protocols designed to
obtain an unbiased cross-section of the community from an unbiased sample
of floral resources. However these can be found very effectively using
taxonomically-oriented methods, such as targeted collecting at sites were
the particular taxa of interest have been recorded historically or at
biogeographically similar sites. In this case sampling bias in favor of
the oligolectic species of interest is a very good thing.
> OK, I can see Matt's original message if I look on the listserv's website...it was somehow corrupted by my email browser originally...
>their places and there is no reason not to develope systems for both.
> For future reference all these messages are archived at:
> I believe that anyone can see these.
> So, this will be another important set of topics at any meeting.
> 1. Standardized vs. Opportunistic samples or surveys
> 2. Databasing and datasharing.
> In regards to topic one...Both general approaches are very useful, in
>geographic scales) that is systematic, standardized, and repeatable that
> A survey or set of surveys can be established (likely at several
will provide the most statistically rigorous means of looking at change
and another complementary system can be established that
> compiles unstandarized studies, data collections, museum information,general collecting etc.
>bottlenecks in collaborative projects. I have seen a number of ways for
> In regards to topic number 2. Sharing data and databasing are often big
the NOT to work in the past, but only 3 that seem to work well.
>data (relatively unrealistic in this case). North American
> 1. One agency or group pays for, collects, analyzes, databases ALL the
> Waterfowl Surveys or the Breeding Bird Survey are good examples of these.FrogwatchUSA are good examples.
> 2. One group maintains a data entry web site in which everyone
> shares and produces reports and dataset of equal value to the
> stakeholders. The North American Amphibian Monitoring program and
>with column headers to a central repository. Each database is owned by
> 3. Everyone does their own thing and keeps data in whatever
> database/spreadsheet they like and periodically contributes a text file
the contributor and is maintained (and included or excluded) by that
group. Another body provides a service for extraction or display of
these datasets...Discoverlife is a good example of this.
> --- In email@example.com, "Matthew Sarver" <mjsarver@...>
>> All -distributional trends (Sam's original point, and the goal of his
>> Clearly, we each have different opinions on this topic, biased by
> our own
>> interests and specializations. Such is the challenge of
> collaborative work
>> in the age of academic globalization! The common ground, as I read
> it, is
>> (1) A desire for some level of standardization in methods of
>> bees for the specific purpose of monitoring long-term population and
> work, if Inon-standardized data already available in museums, and that will
>> understand it correctly)
>> (2) A way to incorporate and make available the massive amount of
> continueseems to me that the standardization of protocols is only useful
>> to be generated by taxonomists and ecological field workers. This
> data, as
>> John points out, is of tremendous importance in natural history,
>> and biogeography, and can add to the standardized data in (1), and
>> supersede it in many cases of rare or infrequently collected
>> (3) Following from the first two points, and as has been alluded to
> by John
>> and others, the need for a collaborative and
> accessible "clearinghouse" for
>> the resultant data from both standardized and non-standardized
>> As a bit of an outsider (I often find myself walking a tightrope
>> academia, government, non-profits, etc) perhaps I can offer a start. It
> if thatcollection methods used, etc. This would hopefully not be as hard
>> data ends up in a common database for analysis and sharing. If we
> are to
>> build a common database for bee records, it would be foolish not to
>> all of the records from non-standardized methodology, including
>> specimens, expert-identified photographs, etc.
>> While the georeferenced specimen mapping tools in the Discover Life
>> are a good start, I would argue that an expanded version of that
>> with a much fuller feature set and search functions, and including
>> fields, would be highly desirable. This North American Bee
> Database (or
>> whatever it might be called) could become the standard location for
>> of all bee specimen and photo records for the continent, and could
> be made
>> accessible on the web.
>> Issues of standardization could be dealt with by populating, for
> each import
>> of records, a selection of fields indicating the type of record, the
> as itassociation, habitat data, etc
>> might seem. Most bee specimens could be assigned to one of the
>> collection methods: malaise, net/hand, bowl, vane trap, photograph
> only, or
>> unknown method (for museum specimens). Another field could ask for
>> specific protocol used. Still more linked fields would hold floral
>> In this way, all relevant data could be compiled in a centralizedoverextended).
>> house. Researchers interested in monitoring trends could simply
> filter the
>> database and view only specimens from standardized methods, while
>> interested in floral associations or distributions could make use
> of the
>> complete data set.
>> Several challenges come to mind here:
>> (1) Funding / Personnel - such a project would require full time
>> from at least a few people building and managing the database, in
>> to much time from taxonomists (who, as John points out, are already
>> (2) Academic intellectual property - Regrettably, this is a majorinformation age. We should all strive to overcome our own self-
> issue when
>> dealing with such an endeavor, but that is the nature of our field,
>> everyone should get due credit for their contributions. Perhaps
> this could
>> be overcome by a lock that contributors could place on data of
> their own
>> specimens. This "lock" would allow the data to show up in certain
>> (e.g. state species list queries), but not in full detail until any
>> publications were completed.
>> (3) Data accuracy - a database such as this would require much
> effort from
>> competent individuals to ensure the accuracty of determinations,
>> Including det. codes and dates in the database would be a minimal
> step to
>> help ensure the validity of records.
>> (4) Accessibility. Difficult decisions would need to be made about
> use of
>> the contributed data. I am in the open data-sharing camp, but many
> are not,
>> and I understand the reasons for that. If full funding could be
> found to
>> support the efforts of staff and taxonomists, it would compel open
> access to
>> the compiled data.
>> I feel that this is the direction that we should be going in this
>> and work toward a true collaborative effort!
>> Sam, I apologize if I have hijacked your original intention, but it
> seems to
>> me that standardized methodologies are closely intertwined with
> this idea.
>> My two cents
>> Matt Sarver
John S. Ascher, Ph.D.
Bee Database Project Manager
Division of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West @ 79th St.
New York, NY 10024-5192
work phone: 212-496-3447
mobile phone: 917-407-0378
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