New & Noteworthy



Archive for June, 2015

24 Jun 2015

Slate.com Article on Butterfly Collections

A recent article on Slate.com discusses the value of collecting butterflies for natural history collections. “The Most Favored Insect” by Andrew Warren of the Florida Museum of Natural History makes a case for why butterfly collecting is still relevant in modern science.

Several new species of butterflies were recently identified because of genetic analysis. Warren writes, “new species remain to be discovered even among the best-studied faunas, and that ongoing collecting coupled with the study of museum collections continues to play an important role in revealing biodiversity. While specimens of all three of these new butterfly species existed in museum collections before they were formally recognized as new, all of them were initially revealed as unique through differences found in recently collected material.”

Read the article on Slate.com

22 Jun 2015

Call for Abstracts for Biodiversity Information Standards Conference

The 2015 Biodiversity Information Standards Conference is seeking abstracts that address the conference theme of applications, standards, and capacity building for sustaining global biodiversity. The conference will be held from 28 September to 3 October 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Subprograms will include digitization, semantic technologies, phyloinformatics, outreach and collaboration, epublications, trait data, and conservation informatics. Information on how to prepare and submit abstracts in response to the call is provided at http://www.tdwg.org/2015-conference/.

19 Jun 2015

Action Alert: Voice Your Support for IMLS

Congress is advancing legislation to fund the Institute of Museum and Library Services (ILMS) at the same amount next year as it currently receives. Despite having almost $4 billion less to spend overall than last year, the House subcommittee proposed level funding of $227.9 million for IMLS. Details are not yet available on the allocation of funding among various library and museum programs within IMLS.

The American Alliance of Museums is encouraging museum professionals to send a letter to their members of Congress in support of funding IMLS at the full authorization level of $38.6 million. Send a letter at http://www.congressweb.com/AAM/9.

19 Jun 2015

Call for Abstracts: Using Digitized Data in Geological and Paleontological Research

Abstracts are sought on research uses of digitized geoscience data and recent advances in data-publishing and mobilization, and uses of digitized data for outreach and education. The session will be held during the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on 1-4 November 2015.

The session will highlight paleontology and geology research that has utilized publicly available digitized data in some way. The number and size of digital data sets are expanding rapidly in light of recent interest in biological and geological specimen digitization and span a wide variety of data types including digital images of fossil specimens, 3D reconstructions and visualizations from CT scans, georeferenced fossil localities, occurrence data for fossil collections, literature based occurrences for fossils, core samples, paleoclimate data, seafloor data, etc. Topics to be addressed include an accounting of publicly available digital datasets; research methods and techniques; strategies for ensuring long-term storage, maintenance, and on-going accessibility of large digital datasets; digital dataset security; advances in technology and software for data analysis and manipulation; strategies for ensuring and improving data quality; current gaps and deficiencies in publicly available digital datasets and strategies for rectification; research uses of data generated by current ADBC TCN collaboratives; and recent research outcomes from digital datasets.

Session sponsors include iDigBio; Paleontological Society; Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections; GSA Geoinformatics Division; EarthCube C4P; and iSamples.

Abstracts are due by 11 August at https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2015AM/cfp.epl.

15 Jun 2015

Opportunity to Present at NAGPRA Meeting

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee is soliciting presentations from museums, Indian tribes, and Federal agencies on the progress made, and any barriers encountered, in implementing NAGPRA and (2) the outcomes of disputes
reviewed by the Review Committee relating to the return of items.

The presentations will be part of the committee’s meeting on 18-19 November 2015 in Norman, Oklahoma.

A presentation request must, at minimum, include an abstract of the presentation and contact information for the presenter(s). Presentation requests and materials must be received by 14 October 2015. Written comments will be accepted from any party and provided to the Review Committee.

For more information, visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-06-15/html/2015-14551.htm.

09 Jun 2015

Collections in Support of Biological Research Solicitation

The new program solicitation for the Collections in Support of Biological Research program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) is now available. The program provides funds for improvements to secure and organize collections that are significant to the NSF BIO-funded research community; to secure collections-related data for sustained, accurate, and efficient accessibility to the biological research community; and to transfer ownership of collections.

Read the program solicitation at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15577/nsf15577.htm. Proposals are due 10 September 2015.

08 Jun 2015

Request for Proposals for Digitization of Collections

The National Science Foundation has released the newest solicitation for proposals for the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program. The program aims to enhance and expand digital data documenting existing vouchered biological and paleontological collections and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States.

Proposals are due by 9 October 2015. Learn more at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15576/nsf15576.htm.

04 Jun 2015

Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest

The 5th Annual Faces of Biology Photo Contest is now open for submissions. The competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), recognizes scientists who use imagery to communicate aspects of biological research to the public and policymakers.

The theme of the contest is “Faces of Biology.” Photographs entered into the competition must depict a person, such as a scientist, technician, or student, engaging in biological research. The research may occur outside, in a lab, at a natural history collection, at a field station, on a computer, in a classroom, or anywhere else research is done.

The First Place Winner will have his/her winning photo featured on the cover of BioScience, and will receive $250 and a one year membership in AIBS, including a subscription to BioScience. The Second and Third Place Winners will have his/her winning photo printed inside the journal, and will receive a one year membership in AIBS, including a subscription to BioScience.

The winning photo from the 2014 contest is featured on the cover of the May 2015 issue of BioScience.

Submissions must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 30 September 2015.

For more information or to enter the contest, visit http://www.aibs.org/public-programs/photocontest.html.

02 Jun 2015

A Call for NSC Alliance Members

Dear NSC Alliance Membership,

The NSC Alliance is cosponsoring with the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN, http://bcon.aibs.org) a Collections Communications Workshop this September 1-2. The workshop will be held at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.

The BCoN (recently renamed from NIBA Research Coordination Network) is a five-year Research Coordination Network grant funded by the National Science Foundation. Among the goals of BCoN, which is a joint project of the NSC Alliance, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, and iDigBio, is the development of a sustainable and networked national community able to work toward the implementation of the collection community developed Strategic and Implementation Plans for a Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance.

Through the BCoN Research Coordination Network, we have funds to support the participation of several individuals recommended by NSC Alliance member institutions.

The workshop will bring together communications (e.g. public relations staff), scientific staff (e.g. research, curators and collections managers, education/outreach), and institutional leaders/administrators to:

  1. Identify opportunities and barriers to communicating the benefits of natural science collections to decision-makers and the public.
  2. Explore the opportunities provided by national digitization initiatives to engage new stakeholders.
  3. Identify existing communication resources and consider the development of new resources.
  4. Explore the development of a networked community of communications professionals that could collaborate to deliver a proactive message to the public.

The workshop organizers are seeking nominations from NSC Alliance member institutions for participants in this important workshop.

To nominate an individual for participation in this workshop, please send the following information to rgr@aibs.org by June 15, 2015.

  1. Name and contact information of nominating individual and institution;
  2. Name and contact information of nominee;
  3. Perspectives the individual can represent:
    • Leadership, science, communications, etc
    • Large, medium, small collection
    • Public or private institution
  4. Brief description (500 words maximum) of the nominee’s interest and/or experience with communicating the importance of collections and collections-based research and education to the media, policymakers, or institutional decision-makers.
  5. Would the nominee be willing and able to participate in an on-going working group should one emerge from this workshop?

Self-nominations from NSC Alliance member representatives are welcomed.

Please direct questions to rgr@aibs.org.