A data management workflow of biodiversity data from the field to data users

Rachel A. Hackett, Michael W. Belitz, Edward E. Gilbert, Anna K. Monfils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Premise: Heterogeneity of biodiversity data from the collections, research, and management communities presents challenges for data findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability. Workflows designed with data collection, standards, dissemination, and reuse in mind will generate better information across geopolitical, administrative, and institutional boundaries. Here, we present our data workflow as a case study of how we collected, shared, and used data from multiple sources. Methods: In 2012, we initiated the collection of biodiversity data relating to Michigan prairie fens, including data on plant communities and the federally endangered Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek). Results: Over 23,000 occurrence records were compiled in a database following Darwin Core standards. The records were linked with media and biological, chemical, and geometric measurements. We published the data as Global Biodiversity Information Facility data sets and in Symbiota SEINet portals. Discussion: We highlight data collection techniques that optimized transcription time, including the use of predetermined and controlled vocabulary, Darwin Core terms, and data dictionaries. The validity and longevity of our data were supported by voucher specimens, metadata with measurement records, and published manuscripts detailing methods and data sets. Key to our data dissemination was cooperation among partners and the utilization of dynamic tools. To increase data interoperability, we need flexible and customizable data collection templates, coding, and enhanced communication among communities using biodiversity data.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplications in Plant Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


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