Showing posts with label Bioinformatics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bioinformatics. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NBII Uses Tools and Portals to Help Bridge Gaps

USGS Center for Biological Informatics Deputy Director Mike Frame is featured in the Government Computer News online magazine.  In his article, Mike talks about ways of improving collaboration and information-sharing across government departments and agencies. Mike states, "ensuring that information is fully shared across a number of government and public organizations can be onerous. That is one of the responsibilities of the USGS Center for Biological Informatics. As the lead geospatial and information technology group at USGS’ biological group, the center manages data and information on topics such as species, land change and standards and shares that information with other federal agencies, nonprofits and universities."   

This is primary accomplished through the Center's work in several Programmatic areas including the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), GAP Analysis Program (GAP), USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, and the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Read the full article on the Government Computer News web site.

(Photo: Screen shot of the GCN web site.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers (OFWIM) Annual Conference and Business Meeting

October 17-21 OFWIM Annual Conference and Business Meeting: Partnerships and Collaboration in Public Land Management -  The Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers (OFWIM), founded in 1993, is a non-profit association dedicated to the management and conservation of natural resources through technology and information exchange. OFWIM holds an annual conference and business meeting to bring together practitioners in the community to share activities and network with colleagues. The NBII has been actively involved in OFWIM to promote its data and technology sharing activities that support many of OFWIM’s member organizations. The 2010 OFWIM conference will take place on October 17-21 in Lake Barkley State Park at the Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky. The theme of the conference this year is “Partnerships and Collaboration in Public Land Management”. Submit your abstract for a presentation or poster by July 30th that highlights examples of successful partnerships dealing with any aspect of natural resource and public land management. Some of the areas that might be of interest as conference subtopics include:

• State Wildlife Action Plans Updates
• Climate Change
• Mobile Technology – GPS, GIS, Smart Phones, etc.
• Emerging Technology
• Interagency Cooperation
• Using Technology to Overcome Cutbacks

Lake Barkley State Park Resort is located in western Kentucky, approximately 2 hours northwest of Nashville, TN, which has the nearest major airport. In addition to general sessions, panels, and a poster session, the conference will also offer a field trip led by federal, state, and local agency managers that includes a boat ride to Duck Island in Kentucky Lake and a tour of the Land Between the Lakes, where the trip participants will get a first hand view of cooperative management efforts in the region.

Visit to submit presentations and posters, apply for travel grants, and get more information about the conference. Click here to register.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tom Hermann of the U.S Geological Survey's Biological Informatics Office Named 2009 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tom Hermann of the U.S Geological Survey’s Biological Informatics Office, was recently named a 2009 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Hermann’s distinguished work at USGS has produced outstanding efforts to advance biological science and its communication. BIO’s mission is to create the informatics network, provide the scientific content, and develop public and private partnerships needed for the understanding and stewardship of the nation’s biological resources.

Tom Hermann

“We’re so pleased and proud that Tom has gained this honor,” said Gladys Cotter, USGS Associate Chief Biologist for Information and head of BIO. “It’s a tribute to his talents that also speaks well of the efforts of so many of the information, scientific and communications professionals he works with at USGS, other government agencies and numerous organizations worldwide.”

As Chief Knowledge Manager, Hermann oversees all formulation and communication of the USGS-National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Program, one of BIO’s core components. As such, Hermann ensures all manner of biological information is made available to U.S. citizens quickly, reliably and efficiently. These data and information are distributed through a variety of formats and channels, including webpages, digital images, geospatial referencing data and a wide range of scientific and outreach publications.

Hermann has worked closely with the Department of the Interior on many topics of interest, such as amphibians. He helped shape strategies to improve access to amphibian knowledge and scientific information (nearly every state has reported noteworthy cases of amphibian deformities). Action from the NBII Program, managed by Hermann, included the development of NBII FrogWeb, an interactive website that provides current research and information. The department, the National Wildlife Federation, and the public television series, Kratt’s Creatures, also participated. This was the first time a partnership with other government agencies and non-government organizations provided integrated access to amphibian data and information.

Hermann is also responsible for the continuing growth and sophistication of the NBII Library of Images From the Environment (NBII LIFE), a collaborative platform for agencies, organizations and individual partners to share high-quality, authoritative images of the natural world. Subjects cover species, species interactions, landscapes, research, management and environmental topics. The goal is to manage images as scientific records and ensure they are useful for future research and decision-making.

At the international level, Hermann’s leadership in the development of the NATO Scientific, Technology, and Research Network (STARNET) grew out of his chairmanship of the Information Management Committee of the NATO Research and Technology Agency. He developed STARNET to facilitate access to information elements already existing within NATO agencies and NATO member countries in science, technology and overall research. This is the first time in the history of the NATO alliance that member countries can access these data using a one-stop interface. Hermann continues to lead a team of experts in information science in content development of STARNET’s Environmental and Biological Sciences Information Node. This vital NATO capability impacts the bureau as well as the scientific community and, by its very nature, is also helping to contribute to our national security.

Hermann holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Information Resource Management from Syracuse University. His awards at USGS have included the Meritorious Service Award, which may be granted for an important contribution to science or management, a notable career, and superior service in administration or in the execution of duties.

**Note: this article was published by the US Geological Survey, released on February 18, 2010. Visit the USGS Newsroom for more information. You can also subscribe to USGS News Releases via their electronic mailing list or RSS feed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Training Prepares Visitors from South Africa and Rwanda to Open the First World Data Center in Africa

From February 23 to March 6, 2009, the NBII conducted a biological informatics infrastructure training course for eleven participants from South Africa and Rwanda at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Headquarters in Reston, VA. The primary objective of the training was to provide participants with the data, information, and technical knowledge needed to begin to develop and implement the first World Data Center (WDC) in Africa, the International Council for Science’s (ICSU) sponsored World Data Center for Biodiversity and Human Health (WDC-BHH). Participants included experts in biodiversity and informatics from the following organizations: South African National Research Foundation (NRF; host for the new WDC-BHH), South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON/NRF), University of Pretoria, South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), University of Rwanda, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and Rwandan Institute of Scientific and Technological Research. The first week of training was designed to expose participants to a wide range of topics, including informatics, spatial data management, biodiversity, ecology, and wildlife human health. Presentations were made by representatives from a variety of organizations, including the NBII. Among the presenters was Roger Sayre from the USGS’s Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program (GAM), who presented some of the latest geospatial data sets of the African continent as well as a new initiative to map the ecosystems of all of Africa. Another presenter was Cris Marsh of the NBII Wildlife Disease Information Node, who offered an in depth look at obtaining and making available national and global wildlife and zoonotic disease information. Mark Becker of Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network’s(CIESIN) WDC for Human Interactions in the Environment introduced participants to a wide array of Africa-specific geospatial and associated human health data and initiatives. During one of the two course-associated field trips, participants visited the National Library of Congress, where they received a behind-the-scenes tour that included observing the latest document digitization techniques and east African collections. Additional technical subjects covered during the first week of training included: biological informatics; infrastructure design, maintenance, and support; data standards, collection, processing, integration, and security; biodiversity; ecology; conservation management; pollinators; and invasive species. These additional topics were presented by experts from the following organizations: NBII (i.e., Invasive Species Information and Infrastructure Nodes and Digital Image Library), Gap Analysis Program, Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), WDC for Biodiversity and Ecology (hosted by the NBII); Smithsonian Institution; Encyclopedia of Life; Catalog of Life; and Barcode of Life. The second week of training included a three-day hands-on workshop on metadata standards and creation, including a train-the-trainer component, which was conducted by experts from the NBII and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to participants, the experience was invaluable, particularly in relation to lessons learned in the execution of biological informatics programs. As stated by Heila Pienaar of the University of Pretoria, “Although I’ve had a good grasp of data management, I still experienced specific gaps in terms of implementation. The two week training course at the USGS filled those gaps very adequately.” For more information on the WDC-BHH or the informatics training, contact Christine Fournier or Thomas Hermann.

(Photo: Participants in the biological informatics infrastructure training course, including trainees from South Africa and Rwanda and the metadata instructors.)