OOS 19-9 - On the front lines of discovering change: Biodiversity specimen collectors as the Anthropocene’s outlier detectors

Wednesday, August 10, 2016: 10:50 AM
Grand Floridian Blrm G, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Katelin D. Pearson1, Shari Ellis2, Elizabeth R. Ellwood3, Gil Nelson3, Deborah Paul3, Greg Riccardi3 and Austin R. Mast1, (1)Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, (2)iDigBio, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, (3)iDigBio, Florida State University

In this era of global change, early recognition of change in Earth’s biota is vital to prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecological health. Biological outliers (e.g., in phenology, distribution, morphology/anatomy, etc.) may indicate early stages of significant, transformative change that merit immediate attention. As active naturalists, collectors of biodiversity specimens are on the front lines of observing this change, yet they may not have the tradition, training, cyberinfrastructure, and semantics to efficiently detect and report change to potential stakeholders. The iDigBio Outlier Detection and Documentation by Collectors (ODD Collectors) Working Group surveyed specimen collectors and preparators to determine: (1) whether this is indeed the case, (2) how collectors determine whether something they have collected is an outlier, and (3) what impediments to outlier detection and documentation exist.


We will discuss the survey results and their implications for the broader community, and we offer suggestions to empower collectors as sentinels of change.