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RE: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network

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  • John S. Ascher
    Like Terry, I am concerned that the initial global and continental foundation for the proposed project does not cite ongoing, successful efforts by the
    Message 1 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
      Like Terry, I am concerned that the initial "global and continental
      foundation" for the proposed project does not cite ongoing, successful
      efforts by the global bee taxonomic community. These include compilation
      of relevant taxonomic data, including distributional records, and
      databasing and mapping of bee specimen records.

      I'm all in favor of this proposed effort, but if it is to transcend the
      limitations of previous efforts such as the ALARM project (highlighted in
      the NAS-NRC status report as a premiere example of pollinator monitoring)
      then it is imperative that the essential role of taxonomists and their
      institutions be made clear from the outset. For example, the expertise of
      taxonomists must be fully incorporated when designing sampling protocols.

      The 15-member NAS-NRC Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North
      America did not include a single bee taxonomist, and perhaps as a result
      their recommended monitoring program emphasizes ecologically-oriented
      monitoring at fixed sites and deemphasizes museum-based expeditions and
      other sampling protocols that more efficiently yield certain essential
      discoveries. Results best obtained from a systematic/taxonomic,
      museum-based approach rather than from an
      ecological/experimental/statistical approach include discovery of new
      species and and life stages, of biogeographically significant new
      distributional records, and of host-parasite and bee-plant relationships.

      We are still in a discovery phase in terms of bee species distributions
      and basic natural history, including floral associations, so we must find
      a way to efficiently obtain fill gaps in these data. While the ecological
      approach emphasizes unbiased samples, necessarily consisting for the most
      part of common and widespread species, much essential information can
      better be obtained by biasing samples in favor of specimens and
      observations of systematic/taxonomic interest. To do so we must make full
      use of existing taxonomic expertise, e.g. knowledge of areas of endemism,
      and support maintenance and enhancement of this. We simply cannot
      efficiently fill gaps in knowledge of our bee fauna solely through
      monitoring of fixed study sites with sampling regimes chosen primarily to
      obtain "statistically verifiable measures."

      Our sampling protocol must fully incorporate vouchered image records such
      as those found here:
      www.bugguide.net

      A final recommendation about sampling is that we devise statistically
      robust (if not verifiable) measures based on ALL available specimens and
      other reliable records (e.g., vouchered images), including those collected
      prior to or outside of the ecologist/statistician-approved, single-site
      sampling protocols emphasized in the NAS-NRC status report.

      To the "global and continental foundation" list please add relevant
      museums and associated bioinformatics efforts.

      To the list of those who should attend the meeting please add relevant
      bioinformatics specialists, especially those with unique computer
      programming expertise.

      Regarding potential partners and funding sources for the proposed meeting,
      note that there is extensive overlap between the sampling goals of the
      BEE-BOL project and of Sam's proposed project as BEE-BOL needs samples of
      all US species. Perhaps BEE-BOL or affiliated institutions can jointly
      organize and/or fund the meeting? Of course we should discuss this with
      Laurence Packer in particular.

      As for geographic coverage, I think it would be great to include Mexican
      colleagues such as Ricardo Ayala to the extent possible if for no other
      reason than that we must obtain much improved samples from northern Mexico
      in order to understand the distribution of "our" bees. Canadians are
      taking the lead on BEE-BOL so clearly have a great deal to offer Sam's
      proposed effort. Scientists from Ag-Canada also have extensive expertise
      in sampling bees so this agency may be another useful partner.

      As a final comment, I suggest that all of us interested in issues
      pertaining to bee sampling make a strenuous effort to read the European,
      Russian, Japanese, Brazilian, and other foreign literature as this is an
      extraordinarily rich resource too often neglected by American scientists.
      I also encourage everyone to take full advantage of online resources not
      sufficiently well known to North American workers such as this one:
      http://www.bwars.com/

      I welcome further discussion.

      John



      > You could add to the list of efforts John Ascher & company's checklist
      > of the bees of the world. Also, the absence of the DiscoverLife guides
      > seems an odd omission.
      >
      >
      >
      > terry
      >
      >
      >
      > Terry Griswold
      >
      > USDA-ARS Bee Biology & Systematics Laboratory
      >
      > Utah State University
      >
      > Logan, UT 84322-5310
      >
      > USA
      >
      > Phone: 435.797.2526
      >
      > Fax: 435.797.0461
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      >
      > From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
      > Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 7:55 AM
      > To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development
      > of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > All:
      >
      >
      >
      > I think the time is right to bring together scientists and
      > administrators to talk about creating, expanding, and implementing a
      > unified means of documenting the status of bees in North America. As a
      > start to that process I would like to enlist the ideas and ultimately
      > the support of members of this listserv.
      >
      >
      >
      > The global and continental foundation for such! an effort already
      > exists:
      >
      > (corrections and additions to this list welcomed)
      >
      > * 1999 Sa~o Paulo Declaration on Pollinators
      > * 2007 Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America
      > * Colony Collapse Disorder and the vulnerability of the current
      > North American honeybee pollination system
      > * Bee Barcode of Life Project
      > * Nort! h American Pollinator Protection Campaign
      > * The Xerxes Society Pollinator Conservation Program
      > * Individual efforts by all of the U.S. Federal Agencies with
      > major biological programs
      > * Numerous State and Provincial Efforts
      > * High interest among park, refuge, and other protected areas
      > managers and biologists
      > * High interest among orchardists and other agriculturalists
      > dependent upon bee pollination of crops
      > * Recent Farm Bill and honeybee legislation!
      >
      > (need to further document efforts in Mexico and Canada)
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Given the poor understanding of status, distributions, and even a
      > complete list of species I would like to propose that a meeting take
      > place in 2009 to design a statistically valid, interconnected system of
      > North American inventories and surveys of bees.
      >
      >
      >
      > Proposed Title (not surprisingly! ): Design of an Interconnected System
      > of North American Inventories and Surveys of Bees
      >
      >
      >
      > To start the conversation going regarding whether such a meeting is
      > needed and how it might look I have an initial series of questions for
      > the group to reflect upon and discuss.
      >
      >
      >
      > 1. Are there any competing processes for the programmatic inventory
      > and monitoring of bees currently planned in any of the countries? If
      > so, then can or how could they be integrated?
      > 2. What should the date of the meeting be?! I would like to
      > propose that it in September of 2009 (note: that's next September not
      > this September) as that will give the community enough time to pull
      > together and share analyses of survey techniques PRIOR to the meeting.
      > 3. Where should the location of the meeting be held? Ralph Grundel
      > has said that there is a nice new facility with meeting and sleeping
      > quarters at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana (U.S.A.) (near
      > Chicago). However, that is but one suggestion, others are welcome...but
      > costs are a big consideration at this point.
      > 4. What should the geographic coverage be of such an effort? Does
      > it make sense to work across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico or should such
      > effor ts simply inform each other?
      > 5. What should the meeting objectives be? I would propose the
      > following:
      >
      > a. Establishing a set of statistically verifiable measures
      > of the current status of bees in North America.
      > b. Establishment of appropriate taxonomic support.
      > c. Establishment of a set of Agency responsibilities in
      > each of the countries to implement these measures.
      > d. Establishment of a plan for funding these measures and
      > t! heir programs.
      >
      > 6. Who should attend this meeting? I would propose that attendees
      > consist largely of four groups: researchers who have performed relevant
      > research on survey methodologies, bee taxonomists, survey statisticians,
      > and administrators with responsibility for the taxonomy, conservation,
      > research, and conservation of bees.
      > 7. Who should pay for the meeting? At this point I have no pot of
      > money available for the meeting. I think such money could be found,
      > but, in general, my preference would be to keep costs and administration
      > minimal.
      > 8. Should there be published proceedings? I think it important to
      > produce a report, but would like to keep all publications of
      > methodologies and results within the existing scientific publication
      > world where they will be more accessible worldwide.
      >
      >
      >
      > I look forward to your thoughts, discussion, and ultimately your
      > participation on the topics above.
      >
      >
      >
      > Background: I would like to bring up some related background
      > information to put things in perspective.
      >
      >
      >
      > My job at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is to develop large
      > geographic monitoring programs for animals in the U.S. that are of high
      > conservation interest, have few existing sources of status information,
      > and for which development of surveys is feasible. Native bees fit that
      > description and my lab has been working on that group now for several
      > years. It's been a longer process than some of our past projects due to
      > the taxonomic impediments (i.e., not being able to determine the name of
      > the specimens we collected) and the practical problem of near complete
      > loss of general funding for such things. While it has taken longer than
      > normal, I want to thank the many people who have supported me
      > financially, with data, with field work, through conversations, and
      > while visiting their labs, as such I fe! el that there already been a
      > great and generous community effort on th is topic and hope to see it
      > continue as such.
      >
      >
      >
      > This brings up my last topic...compilation and anlayses of data. Our
      > lab has already started the process of putting together a series of
      > methodological papers on bee sampling. I know that a number of you are
      > sitting on papers and useful datasets that have pertinent information on
      > sampling methodologies that would be useful to have published prior to
      > any upcoming meetings on survey design. So, you can expect me to
      > periodically encourage you to publish your data or perhaps contribute
      > some of your old used up odds and ends research datasets in exchange for
      > co-authorship on one of our upcoming papers.
      >
      >
      >
      > Many thanks.
      >
      >
      >
      > sam
      >
      >
      >
      > Sam Droege Sam_Droege@...
      > w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      > USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      > BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD ! 20705
      > Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov <http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/>
      >
      >
      >
      > The murmuring of Bees, has ceased
      > But murmuring of some
      > Posterior, prophetic,
      > Has simultaneous come.
      > The lower metres of the Year
      > When Nature's laugh is done
      > The Revelations of the Book
      > Whose Genesis was June.
      > Appropriate Creatures to her change
      > The Typic Mother sends
      > As Accent fades to interval
      > With separating Friends
      > Till what we speculate, has been
      > And thoughts we will not show
      > More intimate with us become
      > Than Persons, that we know.
      >
      >
      >
      > -Emily Dickinson
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >


      --
      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
    • Jerry_Freilich@nps.gov
      I would like to speak on this subject from the point of view of the National Park Service and its recently growing interest in All Taxa Biotic Inventory
      Message 2 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
        I would like to speak on this subject from the point of view of the
        National Park Service and its recently growing interest in "All Taxa Biotic
        Inventory" (ATBI) following the Great Smoky Mountains model. NPS held a
        meeting in Ft. Collins in July to address the question of how they would
        encourage and coordinate ATBI efforts across the US. A group of 15-20
        national parks are already involved in such studies and many more are
        considering joining in. There are many problems associated with this kind
        of work, the most serious problem being the need for some reliable funding
        vehicle. Taxonomists have a wide range of views on the topic, ranging from
        aversion to enthusiasm. The Park Service has long maintained a desire to
        encourage the next generation of taxonomists. ATBI was long championed by
        Mike Soukup (essentially the NPS chief scientist who retired last year).
        And one part of Mike's passion for ATBI was his view that ATBI's would help
        taxonomy grow. Another problem with ATBI is that these are "Giant Science"
        projects on a scale with building a particle accelerator or something like
        that. There are so many taxa (copepods, rotifers, nematodes, slime molds,
        etc. etc.) that it makes any one group seem a small task. In the Smokies'
        model, taxonomists loosely organized themselves into TWG's or Taxonomic
        Working Groups. But any ATBI will necessarily involve hundreds of
        taxonomists and probably thousands of citizen scientists.

        Bees are ubiquitous (u -bee- quitous?), prominent, iconic, and relatively
        well-studied. They would be ideal candidates for the early stages of any
        ATBI. This would, in principle occupy the time of some dozens of
        Hymenopterists. I don't know how ATBI and a bee monitoring network could be
        combined, but it seems to me that some creative strategy might somehow
        align these two interests. I would be very interested to hear any comments
        from this group with ideas.

        Jerry
        __________________________
        Jerry Freilich, Ph.D.
        Research Coordinator, Olympic National Park
        Coordinator, North Coast & Cascades Research Learning Network
        Olympic National Park
        600 E. Park Ave.
        Port Angeles, WA 98362

        Phone: 360-565-3082
        Fax: 360-565-3070
        Cell: 360-477-3338
        Jerry_Freilich@...

        "This is the most beautiful place on earth,
        there are many such places..."
        Edward Abbey
        ___________________________



        "John S. Ascher"
        <ascher@...>
        Sent by: To
        beemonitoring@yah beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
        oogroups.com cc

        Subject
        08/15/2008 12:26 RE: [beemonitoring] Proposal to
        PM AST Hold a Meeting on The Development
        of a North American Bee Inventory
        and Monitoring Network
        Please respond to
        beemonitoring@yah
        oogroups.com














        Like Terry, I am concerned that the initial "global and continental
        foundation" for the proposed project does not cite ongoing, successful
        efforts by the global bee taxonomic community. These include compilation
        of relevant taxonomic data, including distributional records, and
        databasing and mapping of bee specimen records.

        I'm all in favor of this proposed effort, but if it is to transcend the
        limitations of previous efforts such as the ALARM project (highlighted in
        the NAS-NRC status report as a premiere example of pollinator monitoring)
        then it is imperative that the essential role of taxonomists and their
        institutions be made clear from the outset. For example, the expertise of
        taxonomists must be fully incorporated when designing sampling protocols.

        The 15-member NAS-NRC Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North
        America did not include a single bee taxonomist, and perhaps as a result
        their recommended monitoring program emphasizes ecologically-oriented
        monitoring at fixed sites and deemphasizes museum-based expeditions and
        other sampling protocols that more efficiently yield certain essential
        discoveries. Results best obtained from a systematic/taxonomic,
        museum-based approach rather than from an
        ecological/experimental/statistical approach include discovery of new
        species and and life stages, of biogeographically significant new
        distributional records, and of host-parasite and bee-plant relationships.

        We are still in a discovery phase in terms of bee species distributions
        and basic natural history, including floral associations, so we must find
        a way to efficiently obtain fill gaps in these data. While the ecological
        approach emphasizes unbiased samples, necessarily consisting for the most
        part of common and widespread species, much essential information can
        better be obtained by biasing samples in favor of specimens and
        observations of systematic/taxonomic interest. To do so we must make full
        use of existing taxonomic expertise, e.g. knowledge of areas of endemism,
        and support maintenance and enhancement of this. We simply cannot
        efficiently fill gaps in knowledge of our bee fauna solely through
        monitoring of fixed study sites with sampling regimes chosen primarily to
        obtain "statistically verifiable measures."

        Our sampling protocol must fully incorporate vouchered image records such
        as those found here:
        www.bugguide.net

        A final recommendation about sampling is that we devise statistically
        robust (if not verifiable) measures based on ALL available specimens and
        other reliable records (e.g., vouchered images), including those collected
        prior to or outside of the ecologist/statistician-approved, single-site
        sampling protocols emphasized in the NAS-NRC status report.

        To the "global and continental foundation" list please add relevant
        museums and associated bioinformatics efforts.

        To the list of those who should attend the meeting please add relevant
        bioinformatics specialists, especially those with unique computer
        programming expertise.

        Regarding potential partners and funding sources for the proposed meeting,
        note that there is extensive overlap between the sampling goals of the
        BEE-BOL project and of Sam's proposed project as BEE-BOL needs samples of
        all US species. Perhaps BEE-BOL or affiliated institutions can jointly
        organize and/or fund the meeting? Of course we should discuss this with
        Laurence Packer in particular.

        As for geographic coverage, I think it would be great to include Mexican
        colleagues such as Ricardo Ayala to the extent possible if for no other
        reason than that we must obtain much improved samples from northern Mexico
        in order to understand the distribution of "our" bees. Canadians are
        taking the lead on BEE-BOL so clearly have a great deal to offer Sam's
        proposed effort. Scientists from Ag-Canada also have extensive expertise
        in sampling bees so this agency may be another useful partner.

        As a final comment, I suggest that all of us interested in issues
        pertaining to bee sampling make a strenuous effort to read the European,
        Russian, Japanese, Brazilian, and other foreign literature as this is an
        extraordinarily rich resource too often neglected by American scientists.
        I also encourage everyone to take full advantage of online resources not
        sufficiently well known to North American workers such as this one:
        http://www.bwars.com/

        I welcome further discussion.

        John

        > You could add to the list of efforts John Ascher & company's checklist
        > of the bees of the world. Also, the absence of the DiscoverLife guides
        > seems an odd omission.
        >
        >
        >
        > terry
        >
        >
        >
        > Terry Griswold
        >
        > USDA-ARS Bee Biology & Systematics Laboratory
        >
        > Utah State University
        >
        > Logan, UT 84322-5310
        >
        > USA
        >
        > Phone: 435.797.2526
        >
        > Fax: 435.797.0461
        >
        >
        >
        > ________________________________
        >
        > From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
        > Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 7:55 AM
        > To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development
        > of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > All:
        >
        >
        >
        > I think the time is right to bring together scientists and
        > administrators to talk about creating, expanding, and implementing a
        > unified means of documenting the status of bees in North America. As a
        > start to that process I would like to enlist the ideas and ultimately
        > the support of members of this listserv.
        >
        >
        >
        > The global and continental foundation for such! an effort already
        > exists:
        >
        > (corrections and additions to this list welcomed)
        >
        > * 1999 Sa~o Paulo Declaration on Pollinators
        > * 2007 Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America
        > * Colony Collapse Disorder and the vulnerability of the current
        > North American honeybee pollination system
        > * Bee Barcode of Life Project
        > * Nort! h American Pollinator Protection Campaign
        > * The Xerxes Society Pollinator Conservation Program
        > * Individual efforts by all of the U.S. Federal Agencies with
        > major biological programs
        > * Numerous State and Provincial Efforts
        > * High interest among park, refuge, and other protected areas
        > managers and biologists
        > * High interest among orchardists and other agriculturalists
        > dependent upon bee pollination of crops
        > * Recent Farm Bill and honeybee legislation!
        >
        > (need to further document efforts in Mexico and Canada)
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Given the poor understanding of status, distributions, and even a
        > complete list of species I would like to propose that a meeting take
        > place in 2009 to design a statistically valid, interconnected system of
        > North American inventories and surveys of bees.
        >
        >
        >
        > Proposed Title (not surprisingly! ): Design of an Interconnected System
        > of North American Inventories and Surveys of Bees
        >
        >
        >
        > To start the conversation going regarding whether such a meeting is
        > needed and how it might look I have an initial series of questions for
        > the group to reflect upon and discuss.
        >
        >
        >
        > 1. Are there any competing processes for the programmatic inventory
        > and monitoring of bees currently planned in any of the countries? If
        > so, then can or how could they be integrated?
        > 2. What should the date of the meeting be?! I would like to
        > propose that it in September of 2009 (note: that's next September not
        > this September) as that will give the community enough time to pull
        > together and share analyses of survey techniques PRIOR to the meeting.
        > 3. Where should the location of the meeting be held? Ralph Grundel
        > has said that there is a nice new facility with meeting and sleeping
        > quarters at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana (U.S.A.) (near
        > Chicago). However, that is but one suggestion, others are welcome...but
        > costs are a big consideration at this point.
        > 4. What should the geographic coverage be of such an effort? Does
        > it make sense to work across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico or should such
        > effor ts simply inform each other?
        > 5. What should the meeting objectives be? I would propose the
        > following:
        >
        > a. Establishing a set of statistically verifiable measures
        > of the current status of bees in North America.
        > b. Establishment of appropriate taxonomic support.
        > c. Establishment of a set of Agency responsibilities in
        > each of the countries to implement these measures.
        > d. Establishment of a plan for funding these measures and
        > t! heir programs.
        >
        > 6. Who should attend this meeting? I would propose that attendees
        > consist largely of four groups: researchers who have performed relevant
        > research on survey methodologies, bee taxonomists, survey statisticians,
        > and administrators with responsibility for the taxonomy, conservation,
        > research, and conservation of bees.
        > 7. Who should pay for the meeting? At this point I have no pot of
        > money available for the meeting. I think such money could be found,
        > but, in general, my preference would be to keep costs and administration
        > minimal.
        > 8. Should there be published proceedings? I think it important to
        > produce a report, but would like to keep all publications of
        > methodologies and results within the existing scientific publication
        > world where they will be more accessible worldwide.
        >
        >
        >
        > I look forward to your thoughts, discussion, and ultimately your
        > participation on the topics above.
        >
        >
        >
        > Background: I would like to bring up some related background
        > information to put things in perspective.
        >
        >
        >
        > My job at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is to develop large
        > geographic monitoring programs for animals in the U.S. that are of high
        > conservation interest, have few existing sources of status information,
        > and for which development of surveys is feasible. Native bees fit that
        > description and my lab has been working on that group now for several
        > years. It's been a longer process than some of our past projects due to
        > the taxonomic impediments (i.e., not being able to determine the name of
        > the specimens we collected) and the practical problem of near complete
        > loss of general funding for such things. While it has taken longer than
        > normal, I want to thank the many people who have supported me
        > financially, with data, with field work, through conversations, and
        > while visiting their labs, as such I fe! el that there already been a
        > great and generous community effort on th is topic and hope to see it
        > continue as such.
        >
        >
        >
        > This brings up my last topic...compilation and anlayses of data. Our
        > lab has already started the process of putting together a series of
        > methodological papers on bee sampling. I know that a number of you are
        > sitting on papers and useful datasets that have pertinent information on
        > sampling methodologies that would be useful to have published prior to
        > any upcoming meetings on survey design. So, you can expect me to
        > periodically encourage you to publish your data or perhaps contribute
        > some of your old used up odds and ends research datasets in exchange for
        > co-authorship on one of our upcoming papers.
        >
        >
        >
        > Many thanks.
        >
        >
        >
        > sam
        >
        >
        >
        > Sam Droege Sam_Droege@...
        > w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
        > USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
        > BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD ! 20705
        > Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov <http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/>
        >
        >
        >
        > The murmuring of Bees, has ceased
        > But murmuring of some
        > Posterior, prophetic,
        > Has simultaneous come.
        > The lower metres of the Year
        > When Nature's laugh is done
        > The Revelations of the Book
        > Whose Genesis was June.
        > Appropriate Creatures to her change
        > The Typic Mother sends
        > As Accent fades to interval
        > With separating Friends
        > Till what we speculate, has been
        > And thoughts we will not show
        > More intimate with us become
        > Than Persons, that we know.
        >
        >
        >
        > -Emily Dickinson
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

        --
        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
      • barbara.abraham@hamptonu.edu
        All, I am a novice at bees, but my future research plans include studying native pollinators of native plants. The proposed meeting seems like a great way to
        Message 3 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008

          All,

           

          I am a novice at bees, but my future research plans include studying native pollinators of native plants.  The proposed meeting seems like a great way to consolidate and review all of the information and misinformation that is out there on CCD and the status of pollinators in general for non-experts like me.  Not being familiar with the location of those who would want to attend, I can only selfishly suggest that the meeting NOT be held on the West Coast, but rather either on the East Coast (preferably) or Midwest.

           

          Barb

           

          Barbara J. Abraham, Ph.D.

          Associate Professor

          Department of Biological Sciences

          Hampton University

          Hampton, VA   23668

          757-727-5283

          barbara.abraham@...

           


          From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
          Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 9:55 AM
          To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network

           

           

          All:

           

          I think the time is right to bring together scientists and administrators to talk about creating, expanding, and implementing a unified means of documenting the status of bees in North America .  As a start to that process I would like to enlist the ideas and ultimately the support of members of this listserv.

           

          The global and continental foundation for such an effort already exists:

          (corrections and additions to this list welcomed)

          • 1999 Sa˜o Paulo Declaration on Pollinators
          • 2007 Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America
          • Colony Collapse Disorder and the vulnerability of the current North American honeybee pollination system
          • Bee Barcode of Life Project
          • North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
          • The Xerxes Society Pollinator Conservation Program
          • Individual efforts by all of the U.S. Federal Agencies with major biological programs
          • Numerous State and Provincial Efforts
          • High interest among park, refuge, and other protected areas managers and biologists
          • High interest among orchardists and other agriculturalists dependent upon bee pollination of crops
          • Recent Farm Bill and honeybee legislation

          (need to further document efforts in Mexico and Canada )

           

           

          Given the poor understanding of status, distributions, and even a complete list of species I would like to propose that a meeting take place in 2009 to design a statistically valid, interconnected system of North American inventories and surveys of bees.

           

          Proposed Title (not surprisingly) :  Design of an Interconnected System of North American Inventories and Surveys of Bees

           

          To start the conversation going regarding whether such a meeting is needed and how it might look I have an initial series of questions for the group to reflect upon and discuss.

           

          1. Are there any competing processes for the programmatic inventory and monitoring of bees currently planned in any of the countries?  If so, then can or how could they be integrated?
          2. What should the date of the meeting be?  I would like to propose that it in September of 2009 (note: that’s next September not this September) as that will give the community enough time to pull together and share analyses of survey techniques PRIOR to the meeting.
          3. Where should the location of the meeting be held?  Ralph Grundel has said that there is a nice new facility with meeting and sleeping quarters at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana (U.S.A.) (near Chicago ).  However, that is but one suggestion, others are welcome…but costs are a big consideration at this point.
          4. What should the geographic coverage be of such an effort?  Does it make sense to work across the U.S. , Canada , and Mexico or should such efforts simply inform each other?
          5. What should the meeting objectives be?  I would propose the following:
            1. Establishing a set of statistically verifiable measures of the current status of bees in North America .
            2. Establishment of appropriate taxonomic support.
            3. Establishment of a set of Agency responsibilities in each of the countries to implement these measures.
            4. Establishment of a plan for funding these measures and their programs.
          1. Who should attend this meeting?  I would propose that attendees consist largely of four groups:  researchers who have performed relevant research on survey methodologies, bee taxonomists, survey statisticians, and administrators with responsibility for the taxonomy, conservation, research, and conservation of bees.
          2. Who should pay for the meeting?  At this point I have no pot of money available for the meeting.  I think such money could be found, but, in general, my preference would be to keep costs and administration minimal.
          3. Should there be published proceedings?  I think it important to produce a report, but would like to keep all publications of methodologies and results within the existing scientific publication world where they will be more accessible worldwide. 

           

          I look forward to your thoughts, discussion, and ultimately your participation on the topics above.

           

          Background:  I would like to bring up some related background information to put things in perspective.


          (Message over 64 KB, truncated)

        • Thompson, Chris
          John Asher s comments on NAS-NRC are totally out-of-line and represent a personal resentment that he was not selected for the panel. Two museum-based
          Message 4 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008

            John Asher’s comments on NAS-NRC are totally out-of-line and represent a personal resentment that he was not selected for the panel.

             

            Two museum-based taxonomists were included. So, to imply that a dipterist and a lepidopterist some how resulted in the “deemphasizes museum-based expeditions ...” is simply not true.

             

            We pushed for and got recommendation to support basic taxonomic research on pollinators. What came out of Congress in the new Farm Bill is not exactly what we recommended but that is another issue.

             

            However, for good defensible scientific monitoring, to document CHANGE,  etc., you must have “monitoring of fixed study sites with sampling regimes chosen primarily to obtain "statistically verifiable measures." And that does include and require basic taxonomy.

             

            Yes, John is right about there being much to be discovered and the traditional museum taxonomists and their collecting techniques are ALSO needed. Things are changing, for example, the Smithsonian has finally re-filled its Curator of Bees, in the Hymenoptera Unit, with Dr. Seán G. Brady, who starts on August 18th.

             

            So, slowly ...

             

            F. Christian Thompson

            Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA

            c/o Smithsonian Institution MRC-0169

            PO Box 37012

            Washington, D. C. 20013-7012

            (202) 382-1800 voice

            (202) 786-9422 fax

            www.diptera.org Diptera Website


            From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John S. Ascher
            Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 12:27 PM
            To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network

             



            Like Terry, I am concerned that the initial "global and continental
            foundation" for the proposed project does not cite ongoing, successful
            efforts by the global bee taxonomic community. These include compilation
            of relevant taxonomic data, including distributional records, and
            databasing and mapping of bee specimen records.

            I'm all in favor of this proposed effort, but if it is to transcend the
            limitations of previous efforts such as the ALARM project (highlighted in
            the NAS-NRC status report as a premiere example of pollinator monitoring)
            then it is imperative that the essential role of taxonomists and their
            institutions be made clear from the outset. For example, the expertise of
            taxonomists must be fully incorporated when designing sampling protocols.

            The 15-member NAS-NRC Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North
            America did not include a single bee taxonomist, and perhaps as a result
            their recommended monitoring program emphasizes ecologically- oriented
            monitoring at fixed sites and deemphasizes museum-based expeditions and
            other sampling protocols that more efficiently yield certain essential
            discoveries. Results best obtained from a systematic/taxonomi c,
            museum-based approach rather than from an
            ecological/experime ntal/statistical approach include discovery of new
            species and and life stages, of biogeographically significant new
            distributional records, and of host-parasite and bee-plant relationships.

            We are still in a discovery phase in terms of bee species distributions
            and basic natural history, including floral associations, so we must find
            a way to efficiently obtain fill gaps in these data. While the ecological
            approach emphasizes unbiased samples, necessarily consisting for the most
            part of common and widespread species, much essential information can
            better be obtained by biasing samples in favor of specimens and
            observations of systematic/taxonomi c interest. To do so we must make full
            use of existing taxonomic expertise, e.g. knowledge of areas of endemism,
            and support maintenance and enhancement of this. We simply cannot
            efficiently fill gaps in knowledge of our bee fauna solely through
            monitoring of fixed study sites with sampling regimes chosen primarily to
            obtain "statistically verifiable measures."


          • John S. Ascher
            Taxonomists have a wide range of views on the topic, ranging from aversion to enthusiasm. I hold both views simultaneously and suspect that many colleagues
            Message 5 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
              "Taxonomists have a wide range of views on the topic, ranging from
              aversion to enthusiasm."

              I hold both views simultaneously and suspect that many colleagues share
              these mixed feelings.

              "The Park Service has long maintained a desire to
              encourage the next generation of taxonomists."

              This may be so, but there are serious institutional hurdles impeding
              taxonomic sampling in parks, such as lack of a streamlined mechanism for
              scientists, and especially responsible amateurs, to obtain collecting
              permits within parks (much less across all adjacent government lands). A
              serious problem here is that permitting regulations tend to reflect
              conservation issues pertaining to vertebrates many of which are not
              particularly relevant to invertebrates such as bees. Another is that
              permits are typically granted within the context of ecological surveys at
              sampling sites. In general, there seems to be relatively little support
              for or understanding of the needs of taxonomic-oriented collecting
              expeditions.

              Assuming that permits will remain a problem, I suggest that the easiest
              means to achieve continuous sampling in National Parks may be through
              non-destructive sampling methods. To this end I think the NPS should
              consider further supporting enhancement of relevant image databases such
              as BugGuide and Discover Life (greatly enhanced image database tools are
              in development).

              "ATBI was long championed by
              Mike Soukup (essentially the NPS chief scientist who retired last year).
              And one part of Mike's passion for ATBI was his view that ATBI's would help
              taxonomy grow."

              This can only happen if taxonomists are reliably and substantially funded
              for their work on ATBI projects and their institutions and peers value
              such work. At present work on revisions, phylogenies (especially
              molecular), etc. are far more highly valued by the taxonomic community
              itself.

              "I don't know how ATBI and a bee monitoring network could be
              combined"

              An ATBI can sample the few to several hundred bee species that occur at
              that ATBI site. The network can sample the remaining 3000+ US bee species
              that only occur elsewhere.

              A serious problem to consider is that national parks were not selected
              based on modern concepts of biodiversity and therefore encompass only some
              of the essential endemic areas for bees. Optimal ATBI sites vary
              considerably depending on the taxon of interest, e.g., extraordinarily
              rich sites for bees are often have few interesting birds, and vice versa.
              This is one of many reasons why a taxon-based approach to biodiversity
              sampling may be preferable.

              Finally, note that extensive bee surveys have already been done in several
              National Parks by USDA-ARS and others. In addition to proposing new ATBIs
              we must ensure that existing NPS bee data are made available without delay
              in a way that meets the needs of the community. To this end I think we
              need to further explore collaborative mapping tools that will facilitate
              analyses of all NPS bee data together with all other relevant data
              including historical records in collections (many from NPS).

              John


              --
              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
            • Matthew Sarver
              All - Clearly, we each have different opinions on this topic, biased by our own interests and specializations. Such is the challenge of collaborative work in
              Message 6 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                All - 
                 
                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 threefold:
                 
                (1) A desire for some level of standardization in methods of inventorying bees for the specific purpose of monitoring long-term population and distributional trends (Sam's original point, and the goal of his work, if I understand it correctly)
                 
                (2) A way to incorporate and make available the massive amount of non-standardized data already available in museums, and that will continue to be generated by taxonomists and ecological field workers.  This data, as John points out, is of tremendous importance in natural history, taxonomy, and biogeography, and can add to the standardized data in (1), and may supersede it in many cases of rare or infrequently collected species.
                 
                (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 origins
                 
                As a bit of an outsider (I often find myself walking a tightrope between academia, government, non-profits, etc) perhaps I can offer a start.
                 
                It seems to me that the standardization of protocols is only useful if that 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 include all of the records from non-standardized methodology, including museum specimens, expert-identified photographs, etc. 
                 
                While the georeferenced specimen mapping tools in the Discover Life guides are a good start, I would argue that an expanded version of that database, with a much fuller feature set and search functions, and including more fields, would be highly desirable.  This North American Bee Database (or whatever it might be called) could become the standard location for storage 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 collection methods used, etc.  This would hopefully not be as hard as it might seem.  Most bee specimens could be assigned to one of the following collection methods: malaise, net/hand, bowl, vane trap, photograph only, or unknown method (for museum specimens).  Another field could ask for the specific protocol used.  Still more linked fields would hold floral association, habitat data, etc
                 
                In this way, all relevant data could be compiled in a centralized clearing house.  Researchers interested in monitoring trends could simply filter the database and view only specimens from standardized methods, while those 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 attention from at least a few people building and managing the database, in addition to much time from taxonomists (who, as John points out, are already overextended).
                (2) Academic intellectual property - Regrettably, this is a major issue when dealing with such an endeavor, but that is the nature of our field, and 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 contexts (e.g. state species list queries), but not in full detail until any relevant publications were completed.
                (3) Data accuracy - a database such as this would require much effort from competent individuals to ensure the accuracty of determinations, etc.  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 information age.  We should all strive to overcome our own self-interests 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 
              • Dan Kjar
                Just my 2 cents... Saying ATBI immediately dooms the project to failure and results in the difficult groups being sidelined due to productivity verses dollars
                Message 7 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                  Just my 2 cents...

                  Saying ATBI immediately dooms the project to failure and results in
                  the difficult groups being sidelined due to productivity verses
                  dollars spent.

                  I doubt that an A'DIPTERA'BI of any reasonably sized area would even
                  be possible. How about an A'ACARI'BI. You bring North American forest
                  litter mites to a specialist and see how long they let you stay in
                  their office.

                  Waiting for the park service to fix it's insane permitting rules is
                  also a waste of time. I would rather see people hunting for bugs in
                  their backyard, in wildlife preserves, or even in the ditch along the
                  road than have to worry about who maintains ownership of a 10yr old
                  dead bee on a pin or whether organizing a voucher photo shoot in a
                  national park constitutes 'scientific research' and therefore requires
                  a permit.

                  I believe the projects like Losey's Lost Ladybug and Discoverlife's
                  Goldenrod challenge are really great steps toward a truly nationwide
                  effort. Let people send in photos. If they are unidentifiable
                  nothing is lost, at least they got outside and stopped watching fox
                  news for 20 minutes. So what if you can't identify microhymenoptera
                  from an 8 year old's photograph. We just have to admit to ourselves
                  that some groups will not work and others will.

                  If you want to monitor global climate change using controlled ATBI
                  experiments write the grant and see what the NSF says. I am more
                  interested in realtime mapping of organisms all over the us. Not some
                  selected area in an LTER.

                  Dan

                  --
                  Dr. Daniel Kjar
                  Assistant Professor of Biology
                  Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
                  Elmira College
                  1 Park Place
                  Elmira, NY 14901
                  607-735-1826
                  http://faculty.elmira.edu/dkjar
                • John S. Ascher
                  I feel compelled to respond to the following comment by F. Christian ... My comments may or may not have been totally out-of-line but your particular and
                  Message 8 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                    I feel compelled to respond to the following comment by F. Christian
                    Thompson, Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA:

                    > John Asher's comments on NAS-NRC are totally out-of-line and represent a
                    > personal resentment that he was not selected for the panel.

                    My comments may or may not have been "totally out-of-line" but your
                    particular and highly personal accusation is patently untrue. At the time
                    the committee was selected I had just finished graduate school, had few
                    publications, and for many other reasons obviously did not have the
                    relevant experience, credentials, or gravitas to even be considered for
                    selection to such a prestigious committee of well-known scientists. My
                    senior colleagues in the field of bee taxonomy didn't make the cut so why
                    so how could I ever have expected to do so?

                    Next time you slander me in a public forum please at least include the "c"
                    in my last name.

                    > Two museum-based taxonomists were included. So, to imply that a dipterist
                    > and a lepidopterist some how resulted in the "deemphasizes museum-based
                    > expeditions ..." is simply not true.

                    Bees are the most important pollinator group and sampling of these entails
                    unique challenges. The taxonomic impediment to bee research is one of the
                    biggest problems we must overcome to document status of pollinators in the
                    US. It is my "totally out-of-line" view that bee taxonomists should be
                    directly involved as full partners when planning any solution.

                    The report itself provides prima fascie evidence of the degree to which
                    concerns particular to bee taxonomy have or have not received due
                    consideration.

                    > We pushed for and got recommendation to support basic taxonomic research
                    > on pollinators.

                    I never said or implied otherwise! We are all grateful for this.

                    > However, for good defensible scientific monitoring, to document CHANGE,
                    > etc., you must have "monitoring of fixed study sites with sampling regimes
                    > chosen primarily to obtain "statistically verifiable measures." And that
                    > does include and require basic taxonomy.

                    The overemphasis on CHANGE is itself perhaps the most obvious problem with
                    the NAS-NRC status report. First we need to establish a sufficient
                    baseline and the report does not adequately specify how best to do so. To
                    develop such a baseline it is highly inefficient to concentrate sampling
                    only at fixed study sites and it is also highly inefficient to marginalize
                    or even exclude data not collected under preferred sampling protocols.

                    I take it for granted that any scientist, including taxonomists, would
                    seek to generate data useful for statistical analyses. However, sampling
                    protocols need not be ecologically-focused nor done at fixed study sights
                    in order to yield data amenable to robust statistical analyses. I do
                    concede that it is difficult to verify CHANGE from data gathered in
                    disparate ways from disparate sites, but must note that it is difficult to
                    VERIFY change from ANY bee data set, even if good defensibly scientific
                    sampling methods are employed.

                    Many people regard museum-based expeditions as scientifically dubious or
                    even indefensible and if that is your position than our views are in
                    serious conflict.

                    Taxonomically-focused sampling can be good, defensible science even if
                    certain museum-based scientists themselves fail to acknowledge this.

                    > Yes, John is right about there being much to be discovered and the
                    > traditional museum taxonomists and their collecting techniques are ALSO
                    > needed.

                    We all recognize that all partners and their viewpoints should be
                    respected. The essential questions are to what degree and when ("slowly
                    ..." I suppose?).

                    It is damning with faint praise to acknowlwedge that the collecting
                    techniques of museum taxonomists are needed but to also imply that these
                    are not sufficiently good, defensible, or scientific to have been endorsed
                    prominently in the NAS-NRC report.

                    John

                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > So, slowly ...
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > F. Christian Thompson
                    >
                    > Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
                    >
                    > c/o Smithsonian Institution MRC-0169
                    >
                    > PO Box 37012
                    >
                    > Washington, D. C. 20013-7012
                    >
                    > (202) 382-1800 voice
                    >
                    > (202) 786-9422 fax
                    >
                    > www.diptera.org Diptera Website
                    >
                    > ________________________________
                    >
                    > From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com]
                    > On Behalf Of John S. Ascher
                    > Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 12:27 PM
                    > To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development
                    > of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Like Terry, I am concerned that the initial "global and continental
                    > foundation" for the proposed project does not cite ongoing, successful
                    > efforts by the global bee taxonomic community. These include compilation
                    > of relevant taxonomic data, including distributional records, and
                    > databasing and mapping of bee specimen records.
                    >
                    > I'm all in favor of this proposed effort, but if it is to transcend the
                    > limitations of previous efforts such as the ALARM project (highlighted in
                    > the NAS-NRC status report as a premiere example of pollinator monitoring)
                    > then it is imperative that the essential role of taxonomists and their
                    > institutions be made clear from the outset. For example, the expertise of
                    > taxonomists must be fully incorporated when designing sampling protocols.
                    >
                    > The 15-member NAS-NRC Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North
                    > America did not include a single bee taxonomist, and perhaps as a result
                    > their recommended monitoring program emphasizes ecologically-oriented
                    > monitoring at fixed sites and deemphasizes museum-based expeditions and
                    > other sampling protocols that more efficiently yield certain essential
                    > discoveries. Results best obtained from a systematic/taxonomic,
                    > museum-based approach rather than from an
                    > ecological/experimental/statistical approach include discovery of new
                    > species and and life stages, of biogeographically significant new
                    > distributional records, and of host-parasite and bee-plant relationships.
                    >
                    > We are still in a discovery phase in terms of bee species distributions
                    > and basic natural history, including floral associations, so we must find
                    > a way to efficiently obtain fill gaps in these data. While the ecological
                    > approach emphasizes unbiased samples, necessarily consisting for the most
                    > part of common and widespread species, much essential information can
                    > better be obtained by biasing samples in favor of specimens and
                    > observations of systematic/taxonomic interest. To do so we must make full
                    > use of existing taxonomic expertise, e.g. knowledge of areas of endemism,
                    > and support maintenance and enhancement of this. We simply cannot
                    > efficiently fill gaps in knowledge of our bee fauna solely through
                    > monitoring of fixed study sites with sampling regimes chosen primarily to
                    > obtain "statistically verifiable measures."
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >


                    --
                    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
                  • Sam Droege
                    Barb: This is a point that needs some discussion at some point. In my mind the purpose of the meeting would be to put science(reseachers) and
                    Message 9 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                      Barb:
                       
                      This is a point that needs some discussion at some point.  In my mind the purpose of the meeting would be to put science(reseachers) and money(administrators) together to hopefully birth a sustainable as well as scientifically defensible program.  That is my narrow view of things.
                       
                      However, I can also see your point which is that there is hunger for more summarized information as well as a networking among workers on the topic. 
                       
                      So, while my selfish view would be that the number of people at the meeting be restricted to those with a direct role...there is no reason that there couldn't also be a preceeding meeting along the lines of which you spoke.  Having over-extended myself too many times, I am not ready to volunteer on that idea, but would love to work with a group that would like to focus on a larger public meeting.
                       
                      sam
                       

                      Bees are black, with Gilt Surcingles
                      Buccaneers of Buzz.
                      Ride abroad in ostentation
                      And subsist on fuzz.  

                      Fuzz ordained - not fuzz contingent -
                      Marrows of the hill.
                      Jugs - a Universe's fracture
                      Could not jar or spill.
                           - Dickinson  





                      -----beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com wrote: -----

                      To: <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>
                      From: <barbara.abraham@...>
                      Sent by: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: 08/15/2008 01:10PM
                      Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network

                      HTML

                      All,

                       

                      I am a novice at bees, but my future research plans include studying native pollinators of native plants.  The proposed meeting seems like a great way to consolidate and review all of the information and misinformation that is out there on CCD and the status of pollinators in general for non-experts like me.  Not being familiar with the location of those who would want to attend, I can only selfishly suggest that the meeting NOT be held on the West Coast, but rather either on the East Coast (preferably) or Midwest.

                       

                      Barb

                       

                      Barbara J. Abraham, Ph.D.

                      Associate Professor

                      Department of Biological Sciences

                      Hampton University

                      Hampton , VA   23668

                      757-727-5283

                      barbara.abraham@ hamptonu. edu

                       


                      From: beemonitoring@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:beemonitori ng@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
                      Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 9:55 AM
                      To: beemonitoring@ yahoogroups. com
                      Subject: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The Development of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network

                       

                       

                      All:

                       

                      I think the time is right to bring together scientists and administrators to talk about creating, expanding, and implementing a unified means of documenting the status of bees in North America .  As a start to that process I would like to enlist the ideas and ultimately the support of members of this listserv.

                       

                      The global and continental foundation for such an effort already exists:

                      (corrections and additions to this list welcomed)

                      • 1999 Sa˜o Paulo Declaration on Pollinators
                      • 2007 Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America
                      • Colony Collapse Disorder and the vulnerability of the current North American honeybee pollination system
                      • Bee Barcode of Life Project
                      • North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
                      • The Xerxes Society Pollinator Conservation Program
                      • Individual efforts by all of the U.S. Federal Agencies with major biological programs
                      • Numerous State and Provincial Efforts
                      • High interest among park, refuge, and other protected areas managers and biologists
                      • High interest among orchardists and other agriculturalists dependent upon bee pollination of crops
                      • Recent Farm Bill and honeybee legislation

                      (need to further document efforts in Mexico and Canada )

                       

                       

                      Given the poor understanding of status, distributions, and even a complete list of species I would like to propose that a meeting take place in 2009 to design a statistically valid, interconnected system of North American inventories and surveys of bees.

                       

                      Proposed Title (not surprisingly) :  Design of an Interconnected System of North American Inventories and Surveys of Bees

                       

                      To start the conversation going regarding whether such a meeting is needed and how it might look I have an initial series of questions for the group to reflect upon and discuss.

                       

                      1. Are there any competing processes for the programmatic inventory and monitoring of bees currently planned in any of the countries?  If so, then can or how could they be integrated?
                      2. What should the date of the meeting be?  I would like to propose that it in September of 2009 (note: that’s next September not this September) as that will give the community enough time to pull together and share analyses of survey techniques PRIOR to the meeting.
                      3. Where should the location of the meeting be held?  Ralph Grundel has said that there is a nice new facility with meeting and sleeping quarters at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana (U.S.A.) (near Chicago ).  However, that is but one suggestion, others are welcome…but costs are a big consideration at this point.
                      4. What should the geographic coverage be of such an effort?  Does it make sense to work across the U.S. , Canada , and Mexico or should such efforts simply inform each other?
                      5. What should the meeting objectives be?  I would propose the following:
                        1. Establishing a set of statistically verifiable measures of the current status of bees in North America .
                        2. Establishment of appropriate taxonomic support.
                        3. Establishment of a set of Agency responsibilities in each of the countries to implement these measures.
                        4. Establishment of a plan for funding these measures and their programs.
                      1. Who should attend this meeting?  I would propose that attendees consist largely of four groups:  researchers who have performed relevant research on survey methodologies, bee taxonomists, survey statisticians, and administrators with responsibility for the taxonomy, conservation, research, and conservation of bees.
                      2. Who should pay for the meeting?  At this point I have no pot of money available for the meeting.  I think such money could be found, but, in general, my preference would be to keep costs and administration minimal.
                      3. Should there be published proceedings?  I think it important to produce a report, but would like to keep all publications of methodologies and results within the existing scientific publication world where they will be more accessible worldwide. 

                       

                      I look forward to your thoughts, discussion, and ultimately your participation on the topics above.

                       

                      Background:  I would like to bring up some related background information to put things in perspective.

                       

                      My job at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is to develop large geographic monitoring programs for animals in the U.S. that are of high conservation interest, have few existing sources of status information, and for which development of surveys is feasible.  Native bees fit that description and my lab has been working on that group now for several years.  It’s been a longer process than some of our past projects due to the taxonomic impediments (i.e., not being able to determine the name of the specimens we collected) and the practical problem of near complete loss of general funding for such things.  While it has taken longer than normal, I want to thank the many people who have supported me financially, with data, with field work, through conversations, and while visiting their labs, as such I feel that there already been a great and generous community effort on this topic and hope to see it continue as such.

                       

                      This brings up my last topic…compilation and anlayses of data.  Our lab has already started the process of putting together a series of methodological papers on bee sampling.  I know that a number of you are sitting on papers and useful datasets that have pertinent information on sampling methodologies that would be useful to have published prior to any upcoming meetings on survey design.   So, you can expect me to periodically encourage you to publish your data or perhaps contribute some of your old used up odds and ends research datasets in exchange for co-authorship on one of our upcoming papers.   

                       

                      Many thanks.

                       

                      sam

                       

                      Sam Droege  Sam_Droege@USGS. GOV                      
                      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
                      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
                      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville , MD   20705
                      Http://www.pwrc. usgs.gov

                       

                      The murmuring of Bees, has ceased
                      But murmuring of some
                      Posterior, prophetic,
                      Has simultaneous come.
                      The lower metres of the Year
                      When Nature's laugh is done
                      The Revelations of the Book
                      Whose Genesis was June.
                      Appropriate Creatures to her change
                      The Typic Mother sends
                      As Accent fades to interval
                      With separating Friends
                      Till what we speculate, has been
                      And thoughts we will not show
                      More intimate with us become
                      Than Persons, that we know.

                       

                           - Emily Dickinson

                       

                      The information contained in this message is intended only for the recipient, and may otherwise be privileged and confidential. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, please be aware that any dissemination or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify us by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. This footnote also confirms that this email has been scanned for all viruses by the Hampton University Center for Information Technology Enterprise Systems service.



                    • Michael Wilson
                      Just trying to understand, To determine change in the health of oligolectic species, wouldn t one need to follow plant communities that often move dynamically
                      Message 10 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                        Just trying to understand,
                        To determine change in the health of oligolectic species, wouldn't
                        one need to follow plant communities that often move
                        dynamically across the landscape? How would this
                        be done with static locations?
                        Thanks,
                        Michael Wilson


                        --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Thompson, Chris"
                        <chris.thompson@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > John Asher's comments on NAS-NRC are totally out-of-line and
                        represent a personal resentment that he was not selected for the panel.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Two museum-based taxonomists were included. So, to imply that a
                        dipterist and a lepidopterist some how resulted in the "deemphasizes
                        museum-based expeditions ..." is simply not true.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > We pushed for and got recommendation to support basic taxonomic
                        research on pollinators. What came out of Congress in the new Farm
                        Bill is not exactly what we recommended but that is another issue.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > However, for good defensible scientific monitoring, to document
                        CHANGE, etc., you must have "monitoring of fixed study sites with
                        sampling regimes chosen primarily to obtain "statistically verifiable
                        measures." And that does include and require basic taxonomy.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yes, John is right about there being much to be discovered and the
                        traditional museum taxonomists and their collecting techniques are
                        ALSO needed. Things are changing, for example, the Smithsonian has
                        finally re-filled its Curator of Bees, in the Hymenoptera Unit, with
                        Dr. Seán G. Brady, who starts on August 18th.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > So, slowly ...
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > F. Christian Thompson
                        >
                        > Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
                        >
                        > c/o Smithsonian Institution MRC-0169
                        >
                        > PO Box 37012
                        >
                        > Washington, D. C. 20013-7012
                        >
                        > (202) 382-1800 voice
                        >
                        > (202) 786-9422 fax
                        >
                        > www.diptera.org Diptera Website
                        >
                        > ________________________________
                        >
                        > From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                        [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John S. Ascher
                        > Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 12:27 PM
                        > To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Proposal to Hold a Meeting on The
                        Development of a North American Bee Inventory and Monitoring Network
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Like Terry, I am concerned that the initial "global and continental
                        > foundation" for the proposed project does not cite ongoing, successful
                        > efforts by the global bee taxonomic community. These include compilation
                        > of relevant taxonomic data, including distributional records, and
                        > databasing and mapping of bee specimen records.
                        >
                        > I'm all in favor of this proposed effort, but if it is to transcend the
                        > limitations of previous efforts such as the ALARM project
                        (highlighted in
                        > the NAS-NRC status report as a premiere example of pollinator
                        monitoring)
                        > then it is imperative that the essential role of taxonomists and their
                        > institutions be made clear from the outset. For example, the
                        expertise of
                        > taxonomists must be fully incorporated when designing sampling
                        protocols.
                        >
                        > The 15-member NAS-NRC Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North
                        > America did not include a single bee taxonomist, and perhaps as a result
                        > their recommended monitoring program emphasizes ecologically-oriented
                        > monitoring at fixed sites and deemphasizes museum-based expeditions and
                        > other sampling protocols that more efficiently yield certain essential
                        > discoveries. Results best obtained from a systematic/taxonomic,
                        > museum-based approach rather than from an
                        > ecological/experimental/statistical approach include discovery of new
                        > species and and life stages, of biogeographically significant new
                        > distributional records, and of host-parasite and bee-plant
                        relationships.
                        >
                        > We are still in a discovery phase in terms of bee species distributions
                        > and basic natural history, including floral associations, so we must
                        find
                        > a way to efficiently obtain fill gaps in these data. While the
                        ecological
                        > approach emphasizes unbiased samples, necessarily consisting for the
                        most
                        > part of common and widespread species, much essential information can
                        > better be obtained by biasing samples in favor of specimens and
                        > observations of systematic/taxonomic interest. To do so we must make
                        full
                        > use of existing taxonomic expertise, e.g. knowledge of areas of
                        endemism,
                        > and support maintenance and enhancement of this. We simply cannot
                        > efficiently fill gaps in knowledge of our bee fauna solely through
                        > monitoring of fixed study sites with sampling regimes chosen
                        primarily to
                        > obtain "statistically verifiable measures."
                        >
                      • Sam Droege
                        OK, I can see Matt s original message if I look on the listserv s web site...it was somehow corrupted by my email browser originally... For future reference
                        Message 11 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                          OK, I can see Matt's original message if I look on the listserv's web
                          site...it was somehow corrupted by my email browser originally...

                          For future reference all these messages are archived at:

                          http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/beemonitoring/

                          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
                          their places and there is no reason not to develope systems for both.

                          A survey or set of surveys can be established (likely at several
                          geographic scales) that is systematic, standardized, and repeatable
                          that 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.

                          In regards to topic number 2. Sharing data and databasing are often
                          big bottlenecks in collaborative projects. I have seen a number of
                          ways for the NOT to work in the past, but only 3 that seem to work
                          well.

                          1. One agency or group pays for, collects, analyzes, databases ALL
                          the data (relatively unrealistic in this case). North American
                          Waterfowl Surveys or the Breeding Bird Survey are good examples of
                          these.

                          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
                          FrogwatchUSA are good examples.

                          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.

                          sam






                          --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Matthew Sarver" <mjsarver@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > All -
                          >
                          > 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
                          > threefold:
                          >
                          > (1) A desire for some level of standardization in methods of
                          inventorying
                          > bees for the specific purpose of monitoring long-term population and
                          > distributional trends (Sam's original point, and the goal of his
                          work, if I
                          > understand it correctly)
                          >
                          > (2) A way to incorporate and make available the massive amount of
                          > non-standardized data already available in museums, and that will
                          continue
                          > to be generated by taxonomists and ecological field workers. This
                          data, as
                          > John points out, is of tremendous importance in natural history,
                          taxonomy,
                          > and biogeography, and can add to the standardized data in (1), and
                          may
                          > supersede it in many cases of rare or infrequently collected
                          species.
                          >
                          > (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
                          origins.
                          >
                          > As a bit of an outsider (I often find myself walking a tightrope
                          between
                          > academia, government, non-profits, etc) perhaps I can offer a start.
                          >
                          > It seems to me that the standardization of protocols is only useful
                          if that
                          > 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
                          include
                          > all of the records from non-standardized methodology, including
                          museum
                          > specimens, expert-identified photographs, etc.
                          >
                          > While the georeferenced specimen mapping tools in the Discover Life
                          guides
                          > are a good start, I would argue that an expanded version of that
                          database,
                          > with a much fuller feature set and search functions, and including
                          more
                          > fields, would be highly desirable. This North American Bee
                          Database (or
                          > whatever it might be called) could become the standard location for
                          storage
                          > 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
                          > collection methods used, etc. This would hopefully not be as hard
                          as it
                          > might seem. Most bee specimens could be assigned to one of the
                          following
                          > collection methods: malaise, net/hand, bowl, vane trap, photograph
                          only, or
                          > unknown method (for museum specimens). Another field could ask for
                          the
                          > specific protocol used. Still more linked fields would hold floral
                          > association, habitat data, etc
                          >
                          > In this way, all relevant data could be compiled in a centralized
                          clearing
                          > house. Researchers interested in monitoring trends could simply
                          filter the
                          > database and view only specimens from standardized methods, while
                          those
                          > 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
                          attention
                          > from at least a few people building and managing the database, in
                          addition
                          > to much time from taxonomists (who, as John points out, are already
                          > overextended).
                          > (2) Academic intellectual property - Regrettably, this is a major
                          issue when
                          > dealing with such an endeavor, but that is the nature of our field,
                          and
                          > 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
                          contexts
                          > (e.g. state species list queries), but not in full detail until any
                          relevant
                          > publications were completed.
                          > (3) Data accuracy - a database such as this would require much
                          effort from
                          > competent individuals to ensure the accuracty of determinations,
                          etc.
                          > 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
                          > information age. We should all strive to overcome our own self-
                          interests
                          > 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
                          >
                        • Sam Droege
                          Oligolectic species would be in one of the groups more likely to be missed...depending on the survey technique. Males and females may sometimes nectar off
                          Message 12 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                            Oligolectic species would be in one of the groups more likely to be
                            missed...depending on the survey technique.

                            Males and females may sometimes nectar off their host which would
                            increase their probabilities of capture. Pantrap, malaise and other
                            general traps often pick up oligolectic species, but there are many
                            instances where they seem to be poor vehicles for capturing this group.

                            This may be an instance where you would have to develop host-based
                            special surveys, decide that general collecting would be sufficient, or
                            decide that some groups simply will not be "monitored."

                            I think that will be another topic area when surveys are being
                            developed...that is, which species will be adequately covered, and
                            which will not.

                            sam

                            --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Wilson" <mwilso14@...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > Just trying to understand,
                            > To determine change in the health of oligolectic species, wouldn't
                            > one need to follow plant communities that often move
                            > dynamically across the landscape? How would this
                            > be done with static locations?
                            > Thanks,
                            > Michael Wilson
                            >
                          • John S. Ascher
                            This 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
                            Message 13 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                              This 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
                              ecologists.

                              "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
                              community resource.

                              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
                              Global Mapper:

                              http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20m?kind=Bombus

                              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.

                              John

                              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 web
                              site...it was somehow corrupted by my email browser originally...
                              >
                              > For future reference all these messages are archived at:
                              >
                              > http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/beemonitoring/
                              >
                              > 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
                              their places and there is no reason not to develope systems for both.
                              >
                              > A survey or set of surveys can be established (likely at several
                              geographic scales) that is systematic, standardized, and repeatable that
                              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.
                              >
                              > In regards to topic number 2. Sharing data and databasing are often big
                              bottlenecks in collaborative projects. I have seen a number of ways for
                              the NOT to work in the past, but only 3 that seem to work well.
                              >
                              > 1. One agency or group pays for, collects, analyzes, databases ALL the
                              data (relatively unrealistic in this case). North American
                              > Waterfowl Surveys or the Breeding Bird Survey are good examples of these.
                              >
                              > 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
                              FrogwatchUSA are good examples.
                              >
                              > 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.
                              >
                              > sam
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Matthew Sarver" <mjsarver@...>
                              wrote:
                              >> All -
                              >> 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
                              >> threefold:
                              >> (1) A desire for some level of standardization in methods of
                              > inventorying
                              >> bees for the specific purpose of monitoring long-term population and
                              distributional trends (Sam's original point, and the goal of his
                              > work, if I
                              >> understand it correctly)
                              >> (2) A way to incorporate and make available the massive amount of
                              non-standardized data already available in museums, and that will
                              > continue
                              >> to be generated by taxonomists and ecological field workers. This
                              > data, as
                              >> John points out, is of tremendous importance in natural history,
                              > taxonomy,
                              >> and biogeography, and can add to the standardized data in (1), and
                              > may
                              >> supersede it in many cases of rare or infrequently collected
                              > species.
                              >> (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
                              > origins.
                              >> As a bit of an outsider (I often find myself walking a tightrope
                              > between
                              >> academia, government, non-profits, etc) perhaps I can offer a start. It
                              seems to me that the standardization of protocols is only useful
                              > if that
                              >> 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
                              > include
                              >> all of the records from non-standardized methodology, including
                              > museum
                              >> specimens, expert-identified photographs, etc.
                              >> While the georeferenced specimen mapping tools in the Discover Life
                              > guides
                              >> are a good start, I would argue that an expanded version of that
                              > database,
                              >> with a much fuller feature set and search functions, and including
                              > more
                              >> fields, would be highly desirable. This North American Bee
                              > Database (or
                              >> whatever it might be called) could become the standard location for
                              > storage
                              >> 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
                              collection methods used, etc. This would hopefully not be as hard
                              > as it
                              >> might seem. Most bee specimens could be assigned to one of the
                              > following
                              >> collection methods: malaise, net/hand, bowl, vane trap, photograph
                              > only, or
                              >> unknown method (for museum specimens). Another field could ask for
                              > the
                              >> specific protocol used. Still more linked fields would hold floral
                              association, habitat data, etc
                              >> In this way, all relevant data could be compiled in a centralized
                              > clearing
                              >> house. Researchers interested in monitoring trends could simply
                              > filter the
                              >> database and view only specimens from standardized methods, while
                              > those
                              >> 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
                              > attention
                              >> from at least a few people building and managing the database, in
                              > addition
                              >> to much time from taxonomists (who, as John points out, are already
                              overextended).
                              >> (2) Academic intellectual property - Regrettably, this is a major
                              > issue when
                              >> dealing with such an endeavor, but that is the nature of our field,
                              > and
                              >> 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
                              > contexts
                              >> (e.g. state species list queries), but not in full detail until any
                              > relevant
                              >> publications were completed.
                              >> (3) Data accuracy - a database such as this would require much
                              > effort from
                              >> competent individuals to ensure the accuracty of determinations,
                              > etc.
                              >> 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
                              information age. We should all strive to overcome our own self-
                              > interests
                              >> 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
                            • Gretchen LeBuhn
                              All- While I was at ESA, I spoke with Matt Jones, the bionformatics guru at NCEAS about how to archive bee data sets that used a common protocol. NCEAS has
                              Message 14 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                                All-

                                While I was at ESA, I spoke with Matt Jones, the bionformatics guru at  NCEAS about how to archive bee data sets that used a common protocol.  NCEAS has been working toward becoming a clearinghouse for exactly these types of data and has particular expertise in the issues of sharing scientific data tat Matthew has outlined below.  They archive all of the LTER and NRS datasets among many others. 

                                Gretchen

                                On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 11:36 AM, Matthew Sarver <mjsarver@...> wrote:

                                All - 
                                 
                                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 threefold:
                                 
                                (1) A desire for some level of standardization in methods of inventorying bees for the specific purpose of monitoring long-term population and distributional trends (Sam's original point, and the goal of his work, if I understand it correctly)
                                 
                                (2) A way to incorporate and make available the massive amount of non-standardized data already available in museums, and that will continue to be generated by taxonomists and ecological field workers.  This data, as John points out, is of tremendous importance in natural history, taxonomy, and biogeography, and can add to the standardized data in (1), and may supersede it in many cases of rare or infrequently collected species.
                                 
                                (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 origins
                                 
                                As a bit of an outsider (I often find myself walking a tightrope between academia, government, non-profits, etc) perhaps I can offer a start.
                                 
                                It seems to me that the standardization of protocols is only useful if that 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 include all of the records from non-standardized methodology, including museum specimens, expert-identified photographs, etc. 
                                 
                                While the georeferenced specimen mapping tools in the Discover Life guides are a good start, I would argue that an expanded version of that database, with a much fuller feature set and search functions, and including more fields, would be highly desirable.  This North American Bee Database (or whatever it might be called) could become the standard location for storage 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 collection methods used, etc.  This would hopefully not be as hard as it might seem.  Most bee specimens could be assigned to one of the following collection methods: malaise, net/hand, bowl, vane trap, photograph only, or unknown method (for museum specimens).  Another field could ask for the specific protocol used.  Still more linked fields would hold floral association, habitat data, etc
                                 
                                In this way, all relevant data could be compiled in a centralized clearing house.  Researchers interested in monitoring trends could simply filter the database and view only specimens from standardized methods, while those 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 attention from at least a few people building and managing the database, in addition to much time from taxonomists (who, as John points out, are already overextended).
                                (2) Academic intellectual property - Regrettably, this is a major issue when dealing with such an endeavor, but that is the nature of our field, and 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 contexts (e.g. state species list queries), but not in full detail until any relevant publications were completed.
                                (3) Data accuracy - a database such as this would require much effort from competent individuals to ensure the accuracty of determinations, etc.  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 information age.  We should all strive to overcome our own self-interests 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 



                                --
                                Gretchen LeBuhn
                              • Matthew Sarver
                                John - It is extremely important to note that there are already multiple linked central repositories in place. Thanks for pointing this out. I am obviously
                                Message 15 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                                  John -
                                   
                                  "It is extremely important to note that there are already multiple linked
                                  central repositories in place."
                                   
                                  Thanks for pointing this out.  I am obviously not as well-versed in bioinformatics databases as I could be.  I did not mean to suggest reinventing the wheel on this, but wasn't sure how many of these existing databases are flexible enough in their data input to allow us to work with the specific fields that the bee community would find useful / neccessary.  Generating a map for a species is one thing, but a fully searchable database that allows one to find flower records, flight periods, etc for a certain part of the world or a certain species is another.  Right now, the Discover Life specimen view includes a number of very useful data fields, but there are certainly many more that might be of interest, particularly in terms of habitat and floral associations.  As far as I know, there is no easy way to search the fields in that database, other than by viewing a specimen record from the mapper.  Likewise, GBIF is primarily biogeographical data.  I was thinking about the creation of a database web portal with a design and front end that would be specifically geared toward pollinator records, and the associated ecological data that might not fit the mold of available broader repositories.
                                   
                                  Such a customized portal could also be expanded to include an EBird or Bugguide-like citizen science component, where photos could be posted by amateurs.  I agree that bugguide already serves that purpose admirably, but its structure does not encourage the entry of scientifically useful data along with submitted records in the way that a custom-tailored user interface like Ebird does.  The already useful information generated by bugguide could be made even more useful by asking users for more information about their sighting.
                                   
                                  "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) "
                                   
                                  I guess this is more along the lines of what I am thinking.  But "local" in the sense of specificty of purpose or usage, rather than geography.  Thoughts?
                                   
                                  Matt
                                   
                                   
                                • Dan Kjar
                                  As a database person I have to just say I am surprised savvy and relational database ended up in the same sentence... ;) Remember that old saying you can
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                                    As a database person I have to just say I am surprised 'savvy' and
                                    'relational database' ended up in the same sentence...

                                    ;)


                                    Remember that old saying "you can choose two of the following:
                                    quality, quantity, and currency. You cannot have all three."

                                    Dan
                                  • Dan Kjar
                                    Discoverlife s fields are whatever the submitter wants them to be. The only thing required is a taxonomic name and hopefully a location in whatever format you
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                                      Discoverlife's fields are whatever the submitter wants them to be.
                                      The only thing required is a taxonomic name and hopefully a location
                                      in whatever format you like.

                                      --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Matthew Sarver" <mjsarver@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      > John -
                                      >
                                      > "It is extremely important to note that there are already multiple
                                      linked
                                      > central repositories in place."
                                      >
                                      > Thanks for pointing this out. I am obviously not as well-versed in
                                      > bioinformatics databases as I could be. I did not mean to suggest
                                      > reinventing the wheel on this, but wasn't sure how many of these
                                      existing
                                      > databases are flexible enough in their data input to allow us to
                                      work with
                                      > the specific fields that the bee community would find useful /
                                      neccessary.
                                      > Generating a map for a species is one thing, but a fully searchable
                                      database
                                      > that allows one to find flower records, flight periods, etc for a
                                      certain
                                      > part of the world or a certain species is another. Right now, the
                                      Discover
                                      > Life specimen view includes a number of very useful data fields, but
                                      there
                                      > are certainly many more that might be of interest, particularly in
                                      terms of
                                      > habitat and floral associations. As far as I know, there is no easy
                                      way to
                                      > search the fields in that database, other than by viewing a specimen
                                      record
                                      > from the mapper. Likewise, GBIF is primarily biogeographical data.
                                      I was
                                      > thinking about the creation of a database web portal with a design
                                      and front
                                      > end that would be specifically geared toward pollinator records, and the
                                      > associated ecological data that might not fit the mold of available
                                      broader
                                      > repositories.
                                      >
                                      > Such a customized portal could also be expanded to include an EBird or
                                      > Bugguide-like citizen science component, where photos could be posted by
                                      > amateurs. I agree that bugguide already serves that purpose
                                      admirably, but
                                      > its structure does not encourage the entry of scientifically useful data
                                      > along with submitted records in the way that a custom-tailored user
                                      > interface like Ebird does. The already useful information generated by
                                      > bugguide could be made even more useful by asking users for more
                                      information
                                      > about their sighting.
                                      >
                                      > "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) "
                                      >
                                      > I guess this is more along the lines of what I am thinking. But
                                      "local" in
                                      > the sense of specificty of purpose or usage, rather than geography.
                                      > Thoughts?
                                      >
                                      > Matt
                                      >
                                    • John S. Ascher
                                      Matt - Thanks for another thoughtful response. I did not mean to suggest ... existing ... with ... neccessary. As Dan already noted Discoverlife can
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                                        Matt -

                                        Thanks for another thoughtful response.

                                        I did not mean to suggest
                                        > reinventing the wheel on this, but wasn't sure how many of these
                                        existing
                                        > databases are flexible enough in their data input to allow us to work
                                        with
                                        > the specific fields that the bee community would find useful /
                                        neccessary.

                                        As Dan already noted Discoverlife can accommodate virtually any field as
                                        long as data are linked directly to a species name. Only fields with data
                                        appear when you pull up specimen records; blank fields are not displayed.

                                        > Generating a map for a species is one thing, but a fully searchable
                                        database
                                        > that allows one to find flower records, flight periods, etc for a
                                        certain
                                        > part of the world or a certain species is another.

                                        There are web portals being designed specifically to fulfill precisely
                                        these needs, e.g.:

                                        http://libraryportals.com/PCDL

                                        Stuart Roberts in the UK is developing an excellent database optimized to
                                        record these data.

                                        Right now, the
                                        > Discover
                                        > Life specimen view includes a number of very useful data fields, but
                                        there
                                        > are certainly many more that might be of interest, particularly in terms of
                                        > habitat and floral associations.

                                        These can already be mapped. These and other fields you can dream up can
                                        certainly be displayed. Sam even has a field where he notes brand of
                                        soap!

                                        As far as I know, there is no easy way
                                        > to
                                        > search the fields in that database, other than by viewing a specimen record
                                        > from the mapper.

                                        You are correct. The search function needs improvement.

                                        Likewise, GBIF is primarily biogeographical data. I was
                                        > thinking about the creation of a database web portal with a design and
                                        front
                                        > end that would be specifically geared toward pollinator records, and the
                                        associated ecological data that might not fit the mold of available
                                        broader
                                        > repositories.

                                        As noted above this may already exist:

                                        http://libraryportals.com/PCDL

                                        > Such a customized portal could also be expanded to include an EBird or
                                        Bugguide-like citizen science component, where photos could be posted by
                                        amateurs. I agree that bugguide already serves that purpose admirably,
                                        but
                                        > its structure does not encourage the entry of scientifically useful data
                                        along with submitted records in the way that a custom-tailored user
                                        interface like Ebird does. The already useful information generated by
                                        bugguide could be made even more useful by asking users for more
                                        information
                                        > about their sighting.

                                        I would advocate an all of the above solution, i.e. improving Bugguide
                                        itself, improving relevant tools at other sites such as Discoverlife, and
                                        establishing useful links between sites with complementary emphases.

                                        > "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) "
                                        >
                                        > I guess this is more along the lines of what I am thinking. But "local" in
                                        > the sense of specificty of purpose or usage, rather than geography.
                                        Thoughts?

                                        I meant both.

                                        In terms of geography, one example of a local site would be a global or
                                        regional ID guide customized for a specific site by filtering out
                                        extralimital taxa.

                                        For example, here is the eastern Bee Genera guide customized for the
                                        Fingerlakes region of NY:

                                        http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Bee_genera&cl=US/NY/Fingerlakes

                                        In terms of specificity of purpose, a local site could highlight and
                                        extend a subset of data, e.g., pollinator-plant interactions, derived by
                                        querying one or more central repositories.

                                        John


                                        > Matt
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >


                                        --
                                        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
                                      • Matthew Sarver
                                        Great! I didn t know discoverlife was set up that way until Dan pointed it out. A query interface for this database now seems like an obvious starting point.
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Aug 15, 2008
                                          Great!  I didn't know discoverlife was set up that way until Dan pointed it out.  A query interface for this database now seems like an obvious starting point.  As for PCDL - I thought they were only tackling literature, at least for now.  Do they have plans to incorporate specimen data as well?  I've certainly used it for plant/pollinator interactions a number of times already. 
                                           
                                          The "citizen science" thing for insects has great potential - as long as those who can ID the pics can keep up!  An integration of bugguide and discover life would be really cool!
                                           
                                          Matt


                                          From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John S. Ascher
                                          Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 1:16 AM
                                          To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Standardized Sampling Methodologies and a Common Database


                                          Matt -

                                          Thanks for another thoughtful response.

                                          I did not mean to suggest

                                          > reinventing the wheel on this, but wasn't sure how many
                                          of these
                                          existing
                                          > databases are flexible enough in their data input
                                          to allow us to work
                                          with
                                          > the specific fields that the bee community
                                          would find useful /
                                          neccessary.

                                          As Dan already noted Discoverlife can accommodate virtually any field as
                                          long as data are linked directly to a species name. Only fields with data
                                          appear when you pull up specimen records; blank fields are not displayed.

                                          > Generating a map for a species is
                                          one thing, but a fully searchable
                                          database
                                          > that allows one to find
                                          flower records, flight periods, etc for a
                                          certain
                                          > part of the world
                                          or a certain species is another.

                                          There are web portals being designed specifically to fulfill precisely
                                          these needs, e.g.:

                                          http://libraryporta ls.com/PCDL

                                          Stuart Roberts in the UK is developing an excellent database optimized to
                                          record these data.

                                          Right now, the
                                          > Discover
                                          > Life specimen view
                                          includes a number of very useful data fields, but
                                          there
                                          > are certainly
                                          many more that might be of interest, particularly in terms of
                                          > habitat
                                          and floral associations.

                                          These can already be mapped. These and other fields you can dream up can
                                          certainly be displayed. Sam even has a field where he notes brand of
                                          soap!

                                          As far as I know, there is no easy way
                                          > to
                                          > search the fields in that database, other than by viewing
                                          a specimen record
                                          > from the mapper.

                                          You are correct. The search function needs improvement.

                                          Likewise, GBIF is primarily biogeographical data. I was
                                          > thinking about the creation of a database web portal with a
                                          design and
                                          front
                                          > end that would be specifically geared toward
                                          pollinator records, and the
                                          associated ecological data that might not fit the mold of available
                                          broader
                                          > repositories.

                                          As noted above this may already exist:

                                          http://libraryporta ls.com/PCDL

                                          >
                                          Such a customized portal could also be expanded to include an EBird or
                                          Bugguide-like citizen science component, where photos could be posted by
                                          amateurs. I agree that bugguide already serves that purpose admirably,
                                          but
                                          > its structure does not encourage the entry of
                                          scientifically useful data
                                          along with submitted records in the way that a custom-tailored user
                                          interface like Ebird does. The already useful information generated by
                                          bugguide could be made even more useful by asking users for more
                                          information
                                          > about their sighting.

                                          I would advocate an all of the above solution, i.e. improving Bugguide
                                          itself, improving relevant tools at other sites such as Discoverlife, and
                                          establishing useful links between sites with complementary emphases.

                                          > "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) "
                                          >
                                          >
                                          I guess this is more along the lines of what I am thinking. But "local" in
                                          > the sense of specificty of purpose or usage, rather than
                                          geography.
                                          Thoughts?

                                          I meant both.

                                          In terms of geography, one example of a local site would be a global or
                                          regional ID guide customized for a specific site by filtering out
                                          extralimital taxa.

                                          For example, here is the eastern Bee Genera guide customized for the
                                          Fingerlakes region of NY:

                                          http://www.discover life.org/ mp/20q?guide= Bee_genera& cl=US/NY/ Fingerlakes

                                          In terms of specificity of purpose, a local site could highlight and
                                          extend a subset of data, e.g., pollinator-plant interactions, derived by
                                          querying one or more central repositories.

                                          John

                                          >
                                          Matt
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >

                                          --
                                          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

                                        • Sam Droege
                                          I wasn t aware of some of those new, more flexible database features, it will be good to have representation at the meeting from that group. While one could
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Aug 16, 2008
                                            I wasn't aware of some of those new, more flexible database features,
                                            it will be good to have representation at the meeting from that
                                            group. While one could argue that you could develop those features
                                            later, I think that more and more that database functions will help
                                            guide the development of what gets monitored. Its also clear that
                                            internet functions can be built directly into monitoring schemes
                                            rather than having paper surveys that get entered later.

                                            The possibilities of expanding Bugguide.net are intriguing. It seems
                                            particularly good at detetecting the spread of introduced
                                            species...and the digital libraries that are produced are going to
                                            become invaluable.

                                            sam


                                            --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Matthew Sarver" <mjsarver@...>
                                            wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Great! I didn't know discoverlife was set up that way until Dan
                                            pointed it
                                            > out. A query interface for this database now seems like an obvious
                                            starting
                                            > point. As for PCDL - I thought they were only tackling literature,
                                            at least
                                            > for now. Do they have plans to incorporate specimen data as well?
                                            I've
                                            > certainly used it for plant/pollinator interactions a number of
                                            times
                                            > already.
                                            >
                                            > The "citizen science" thing for insects has great potential - as
                                            long as
                                            > those who can ID the pics can keep up! An integration of bugguide
                                            and
                                            > discover life would be really cool!
                                            >
                                            > Matt
                                            >
                                            > _____
                                            >
                                            > From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                                            [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com]
                                            > On Behalf Of John S. Ascher
                                            > Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 1:16 AM
                                            > To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                                            > Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Standardized Sampling
                                            Methodologies and a
                                            > Common Database
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > Matt -
                                            >
                                            > Thanks for another thoughtful response.
                                            >
                                            > I did not mean to suggest
                                            > > reinventing the wheel on this, but wasn't sure how many of these
                                            > existing
                                            > > databases are flexible enough in their data input to allow us to
                                            work
                                            > with
                                            > > the specific fields that the bee community would find useful /
                                            > neccessary.
                                            >
                                            > As Dan already noted Discoverlife can accommodate virtually any
                                            field as
                                            > long as data are linked directly to a species name. Only fields
                                            with data
                                            > appear when you pull up specimen records; blank fields are not
                                            displayed.
                                            >
                                            > > Generating a map for a species is one thing, but a fully
                                            searchable
                                            > database
                                            > > that allows one to find flower records, flight periods, etc for a
                                            > certain
                                            > > part of the world or a certain species is another.
                                            >
                                            > There are web portals being designed specifically to fulfill
                                            precisely
                                            > these needs, e.g.:
                                            >
                                            > http://libraryporta <http://libraryportals.com/PCDL> ls.com/PCDL
                                            >
                                            > Stuart Roberts in the UK is developing an excellent database
                                            optimized to
                                            > record these data.
                                            >
                                            > Right now, the
                                            > > Discover
                                            > > Life specimen view includes a number of very useful data fields,
                                            but
                                            > there
                                            > > are certainly many more that might be of interest, particularly
                                            in terms
                                            > of
                                            > > habitat and floral associations.
                                            >
                                            > These can already be mapped. These and other fields you can dream
                                            up can
                                            > certainly be displayed. Sam even has a field where he notes brand of
                                            > soap!
                                            >
                                            > As far as I know, there is no easy way
                                            > > to
                                            > > search the fields in that database, other than by viewing a
                                            specimen
                                            > record
                                            > > from the mapper.
                                            >
                                            > You are correct. The search function needs improvement.
                                            >
                                            > Likewise, GBIF is primarily biogeographical data. I was
                                            > > thinking about the creation of a database web portal with a
                                            design and
                                            > front
                                            > > end that would be specifically geared toward pollinator records,
                                            and the
                                            > associated ecological data that might not fit the mold of available
                                            > broader
                                            > > repositories.
                                            >
                                            > As noted above this may already exist:
                                            >
                                            > http://libraryporta <http://libraryportals.com/PCDL> ls.com/PCDL
                                            >
                                            > > Such a customized portal could also be expanded to include an
                                            EBird or
                                            > Bugguide-like citizen science component, where photos could be
                                            posted by
                                            > amateurs. I agree that bugguide already serves that purpose
                                            admirably,
                                            > but
                                            > > its structure does not encourage the entry of scientifically
                                            useful data
                                            > along with submitted records in the way that a custom-tailored user
                                            > interface like Ebird does. The already useful information generated
                                            by
                                            > bugguide could be made even more useful by asking users for more
                                            > information
                                            > > about their sighting.
                                            >
                                            > I would advocate an all of the above solution, i.e. improving
                                            Bugguide
                                            > itself, improving relevant tools at other sites such as
                                            Discoverlife, and
                                            > establishing useful links between sites with complementary emphases.
                                            >
                                            > > "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) "
                                            > >
                                            > > I guess this is more along the lines of what I am thinking.
                                            But "local" in
                                            > > the sense of specificty of purpose or usage, rather than
                                            geography.
                                            > Thoughts?
                                            >
                                            > I meant both.
                                            >
                                            > In terms of geography, one example of a local site would be a
                                            global or
                                            > regional ID guide customized for a specific site by filtering out
                                            > extralimital taxa.
                                            >
                                            > For example, here is the eastern Bee Genera guide customized for the
                                            > Fingerlakes region of NY:
                                            >
                                            > http://www.discover
                                            > <http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?
                                            guide=Bee_genera&cl=US/NY/Fingerlakes>
                                            > life.org/mp/20q?guide=Bee_genera&cl=US/NY/Fingerlakes
                                            >
                                            > In terms of specificity of purpose, a local site could highlight and
                                            > extend a subset of data, e.g., pollinator-plant interactions,
                                            derived by
                                            > querying one or more central repositories.
                                            >
                                            > John
                                            >
                                            > > Matt
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            > --
                                            > 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
                                            >
                                          • Dan Kjar
                                            Here is a quick break down of relational vs flat databases. Relational databases link tables to tables and those links allow you to do some very powerful
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Aug 16, 2008
                                              Here is a quick break down of relational vs flat databases.

                                              Relational databases link tables to tables and those links allow you
                                              to do some very powerful queries. However, as the tables grow the
                                              queries slow and as the relationships become more complex the database
                                              gets kludgy to deal with and nearly incomprehensible to people that
                                              did not design it.

                                              Flat file databases are always meaningful to humans and any human that
                                              can read text. Flat files do not allow you to do some of the more
                                              wizbang pull it out of your *** searches that relational databases
                                              allow you. However, if you know what people are going to search
                                              (genus/species/whatever), the way you make flat file databases scream
                                              is by indexing the information and holding the indexes in hash tables
                                              (at the file system/OS/Perl/C++) level. This is how pick can put
                                              300,000 points on a map in just a few seconds. His database currently
                                              has over 1.4 million records and when he gets all of th GBIF info it
                                              will be over 15 million records (if I remember correctly). The
                                              difficult part here is that you need to predetermine what queries the
                                              user will be doing. The big search engines all work along the same lines.

                                              I have mostly made relational databases, including my last one for the
                                              Smithsonian. That database is limited to the exact number of type ant
                                              specimens the museum holds. I made the decision that 1200 specimens
                                              would not slow the searches to any appreciable level so I went with
                                              the ease and power of a relational database. If it were going to
                                              30,000 I would go with a flat file design.

                                              If you would like to see the difference do a search on aphaenogaster
                                              at this website
                                              http://ripley.si.edu/ent/nmnhtypdb

                                              and compare it to an author search on wheeler
                                              at this website
                                              http://ripley.si.edu/ent/nmnhtypedb/wlb/wlbsearch.cfm

                                              The first is relational and allows me to easily assign multiple
                                              taxonomies and specimens for a single type. The second is a flat
                                              file. The first has 1400 or so entries in the typetable hooked to a
                                              variety of other tables through relationships. The second has 10,000
                                              records and is not hooked to other tables.


                                              Dan
                                            • Matthew Sarver
                                              Dan wrote: the way you make flat file databases scream is by indexing the information and holding the indexes in hash tables (at the file system/OS/Perl/C++)
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Aug 16, 2008
                                                Dan wrote: "the way you make flat file databases scream
                                                is by indexing the information and holding the indexes in hash tables
                                                (at the file system/OS/Perl/ C++) level."

                                                John replied: "Clearly I need to learn more about this, at least enough to understand
                                                something about what the experts are doing."

                                                 
                                                The whole topic is way over my head, but maybe this will help with some very basic info about different ways of indexing a database, including hash tables (I hope the info presented in this brief article is correct):
                                                 
                                                 
                                                So, Dan - what you're telling us is that a db of the size that could store all of the potentially-contributed bee specimen records from North America would HAVE to be a flat db (eg Discover Life), rather than relational, right?  So, the question is, is it possible to create some kind of front end web interface for a db like Discover Life that would allow queries on the basis of host plant, locality, collection method, month, etc.?  Or would the amount of indexing required to do this screw up data entry?  It doesn't seem very useful to store all this information with a specimen record, but effectively have no way to access it via a query.  Being able to sort by collection method and collection protocol would go a long way toward the goal of increasing standardization without sacrificing information.  
                                                 
                                                I didn't realize how limited relational dbs were in terms of number of records - thanks for enlightening us on all of this!
                                                 
                                                Apologies for ignorance about database design. :(
                                                 
                                                Thanks
                                                Matt

                                              • Dan Kjar
                                                There is no real limit on the hashes since they can be stored in various ways on filesystems. They can be loaded into memory and accessed very quickly. The
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Aug 16, 2008
                                                  There is no 'real' limit on the hashes since they can be stored in
                                                  various ways on filesystems. They can be loaded into memory and
                                                  accessed very quickly. The limit on this method is exactly what you
                                                  state... we need to know the searches a priori of the visit. If
                                                  someone suddenly wants to map all of the 5 legged male bees found in
                                                  southern utah we will have a problem.

                                                  Relational databases get around this by caching common searches and
                                                  renewing the cache occasionally. Products like cold fusion have
                                                  included this for years (yuck, but easy, that is what I wrote the
                                                  Smithsonian site in. MYSQL for the database if you are interested. Now
                                                  I only use perl and MYSQL. Pick uses berkeleyDB, luddite that he is).

                                                  Let me run down a simple search using a relational database.
                                                  You have three tables. One is a taxonomic data, another is specimen
                                                  data, and another is locale data. You can have multiple specimens
                                                  tied to single entries in the taxonomic data table and multiple
                                                  specimens tied to the locale data (e.g. all the specimens of one
                                                  species, and all of the specimens from one site). You would do this
                                                  to avoid having the exact same taxonomic or locale data for all 150
                                                  million specimens. The more crap in the table the longer it takes to
                                                  search it.

                                                  The problem is if you search on the fly and you have 300,000 records,
                                                  a simple search for the bees of Wisconsin takes a very long time (but
                                                  not nearly as long as searching a flat file without the hash table).
                                                  If you have a hash table of locales all you need to do is search down
                                                  the locales and then grab all of the records included.

                                                  example hash table based on previously searched terms
                                                  key value
                                                  Minnesota 1,3,5,6,9,10,23,35
                                                  Wisconsin 2,3,4,8,11,20,34

                                                  It only takes a split second to reach into the flat database and grab
                                                  everything in records 2,3, etc. It takes a little longer to reach in
                                                  to a relational database and check each specimen record to see if it
                                                  has a link to a locale table entry that includes Wisconsin (or vice
                                                  versa, but you would still need to check the taxonomic table to make
                                                  sure it is a bee or whatever you are interested in). Every time there
                                                  is a comparison statement it takes much more time. Like I said though,
                                                  this only really matters with very large datasets and people at places
                                                  invested in relational datasets spend most of their time figuring out
                                                  how to make things move more quickly.

                                                  There are many other ways to get relational datasets moving fast but
                                                  in the business world it is a bit easier for the consumer. If you log
                                                  onto your bank account they can cache all information dealing with
                                                  your accounts so you can have quick access to it after a short login
                                                  wait. However, they know you are only going to look at your own stuff
                                                  (hopefully). Since it takes this kind of magic to get relational
                                                  databases to move I have decided that I might as well skip all that
                                                  nonsense and move to the indexing right away and leave the data in a
                                                  human readable format in case I kick off.

                                                  The other nice thing about flat files is that anyone can write queries
                                                  or index it however they see fit. As soon as you decide to put it
                                                  into a relational setup (e.g. speciesname table, genusname table,
                                                  specimen table, source table, locale table, alien invasive status
                                                  table etc..) You are tied to that setup to create queries. Of course
                                                  you could right a query that would flatten it (I did this with some
                                                  Fish data from STRI and it WAS AWFUL), but that begs the question why
                                                  not just leave the data in human readable form and cut it up for
                                                  individual uses?

                                                  Not that any of this needs to be worried about at this point....

                                                  Dan


                                                  --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Matthew Sarver" <mjsarver@...>
                                                  wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Dan wrote: "the way you make flat file databases scream
                                                  > is by indexing the information and holding the indexes in hash tables
                                                  > (at the file system/OS/Perl/C++) level."
                                                  >
                                                  > John replied: "Clearly I need to learn more about this, at least
                                                  enough to
                                                  > understand
                                                  > something about what the experts are doing."
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > The whole topic is way over my head, but maybe this will help with
                                                  some very
                                                  > basic info about different ways of indexing a database, including hash
                                                  > tables (I hope the info presented in this brief article is correct):
                                                  >
                                                  > http://20bits.com/2008/05/13/interview-questions-database-indexes/
                                                  >
                                                  > So, Dan - what you're telling us is that a db of the size that could
                                                  store
                                                  > all of the potentially-contributed bee specimen records from North
                                                  America
                                                  > would HAVE to be a flat db (eg Discover Life), rather than relational,
                                                  > right? So, the question is, is it possible to create some kind of
                                                  front end
                                                  > web interface for a db like Discover Life that would allow queries
                                                  on the
                                                  > basis of host plant, locality, collection method, month, etc.? Or
                                                  would the
                                                  > amount of indexing required to do this screw up data entry? It
                                                  doesn't seem
                                                  > very useful to store all this information with a specimen record, but
                                                  > effectively have no way to access it via a query. Being able to sort by
                                                  > collection method and collection protocol would go a long way toward the
                                                  > goal of increasing standardization without sacrificing information.
                                                  >
                                                  > I didn't realize how limited relational dbs were in terms of number of
                                                  > records - thanks for enlightening us on all of this!
                                                  >
                                                  > Apologies for ignorance about database design. :(
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks
                                                  > Matt
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  <http://geo.yahoo.com/serv?s=97359714/grpId=17598545/grpspId=1705083125/msgI
                                                  > d=406/stime=1218922240/nc1=3848642/nc2=4025291/nc3=5202316>
                                                  >
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