New & Noteworthy

Archive for December, 2016

16 Dec 2016

Inaugural Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference

Registration and abstract submission for the Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference will open on January 15, 2017. The conference is presented by iDigBio, the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the University of Michigan Herbarium and will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan on June 5-6, 2017.

The rapid mobilization of digitized biodiversity data, led largely in the United States by the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program, has resulted in a substantial increase in available data for research and related activities. This conference will encompass the uses of digitized data across all biodiversity disciplines, with special emphasis on digitized specimen data and the potential for “big data” analytics in organismal biology.

Learn more at

13 Dec 2016

Public Comment Sought on Draft Rule for Paleontological Resources

The Department of the Interior has proposed a new rule to “preserve, manage, and protect paleontological resources” on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The proposed rule would address the management, collection, and curation of paleontological resources from federal lands using scientific principles and expertise, including collection in accordance with permits; curation in an approved repository; and maintenance of confidentiality of specific locality data.

A permit would be required for collecting paleontological resources or disturbing paleontological sites except for casual collecting on certain lands managed by the Bureaus of Land Management or Reclamation where casual collecting is allowed. All collected materials will be the property of the Federal Government, and must be managed and curated consistent with certain requirements.

The rule would implement the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act, which was enacted in 2009. The Forest Service finalized a regulation to implement the law on Department of Agriculture lands in 2015. The proposed rule would implement the law on lands managed by the Department of the Interior, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and lands managed by the Bureaus of Land Management and Reclamation.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by February 6, 2017.

Learn more about the proposed rule and how to submit comments at

NSC Alliance is currently analyzing the proposed rule and may submit comments. Please contact Robert Gropp, NSC Alliance director of public policy, with any feedback.

12 Dec 2016

New Federal Registry of Scientific Collections

The Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections has announced a new registry of federally owned and operated scientific collections. The registry is managed by the Smithsonian Institution and includes more than 125 collections from 475 federal institutions. These numbers are anticipated to grow in the coming months.

The registry has information about the location of the collection, its access policy, and the url for the online catalogue. Registered collections include pollinating insects, plants, soils, germplasm, tree rings, human brains, and other organisms.

Federal agencies are also developing policies to manage their collections. More than a dozen agencies have completed their policies, including the Smithsonian, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of the Interior. Other agencies are still developing their policies.

Access the registry at