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Call for applications - LifeWatch grants to fill taxonomic gaps in WoRMS
Added on 2014-01-15 14:23:30 by Vandepitte, Leen

Through LifeWatch, The Flanders Marine Institute – host of the WoRMS database – has a budget available to financially support editors to address gaps within their group. In 2014, WoRMS has access to a LifeWatch budget of 25.000€ which will be made available to the WoRMS editors through small grants.

Given an estimated 230.000 accepted described marine species, we can state that WoRMS is nearing completion on the taxonomic level. But, we are not quite there. At least 9.000 marine species are not yet documented, and a significant number of accepted names have not yet been verified by a taxonomic expert. On top of that, we need to keep track of the yearly increment of about 1.500 to 2.000 newly described species every year.

Since 2012, WoRMS has been contributing to LifeWatch (www.lifewatch.eu and www.lifewatch.be), a European research infrastructure that was established as part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). LifeWatch is a distributed virtual laboratory and will be used for e.g. biodiversity research. This large infrastructure will consist of several biodiversity observatories, databases, web services and modelling tools, and it will bring together existing systems.

Within LifeWatch, Flanders is contributing to the central LifeWatch infrastructure with a taxonomic backbone. This taxonomic backbone consists of species information services which will be used to standardise species data and to integrate distributed biodiversity data repositories and operating facilities. As WoRMS is the world standard for marine taxonomic information, WoRMS is a major contributor to this taxonomic backbone.

Filling the gaps in WoRMS and ensuring that the current information reaches a high quality standard fit perfectly within the activities of this LifeWatch taxonomic backbone. Through LifeWatch, The Flanders Marine Institute – host of the WoRMS database – has a budget available to financially support editors to address gaps within their group. In 2014, WoRMS has access to a LifeWatch budget of 25.000€ which will be made available to the WoRMS editors through small grants.

Each editor can apply for a small grant to fill the gaps within his or her taxonomic group. As completing and verifying the overview of all marine species ever described is still the main priority of WoRMS, preference will be given to applications focussing on this topic (including providing synonyms). For groups that are already complete (or nearing completion), grants can be requested to e.g. document the references of the original descriptions, add information on the type localities or focus on synonym names.

To apply for a grant, you will need to send an application containing the following information to info@marinespecies.org:
- Taxonomic group
- Name(s) of the responsible editor(s)
- Who will be doing the work (yourself as editor or someone under your supervision)
- What will be dealt with (adding new names, resolving synonymies, …)
- How many species will be dealt with (e.g. estimated # that will be added, estimated # that will be revised)
- The time-frame in which this work will be completed. The described work needs to be finished by December 15th, 2014
- The budget needed to accomplish this (with a maximum of 5.000€ per grant)
- Add “Application for WoRMS-LifeWatch data grant 2014” in the subject line

The deadline for grant applications for 2014 is Friday February 21st. All applications will be evaluated in February/March 2014 and the outcomes communicated with the relevant persons. The tentative starting data would be April 1st.

During 2014, a dedicated WoRMS web page will be created on these LifeWatch data grants, listing all assigned grants together with their responsible person(s), goals and results.

A small number of grants were funded during 2012/2013. These focussed on some of the major taxonomic gaps that were identified during the WoRMS Steering Committee of 2012. It was felt that these groups needed immediate attention to start closing gaps and improve available information in WoRMS. The results of all these data grants will also be listed on the dedicated WoRMS web page.

If you do not wish to apply for a LifeWatch data grant, but you still have information that could be added to WoRMS and you are lacking the time to do this, this can be discussed with the data management team. During 2012 and 2013, the data management team has provided this kind of support to different editors so they were able to make their content in WoRMS more complete. In these cases, the data management team has received the information from the editor and – in close communication with the editor – the management team has made the information available online. For more information on this, please contact us at info@marinespecies.org.



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