Three fully funded positions – University of Gothenburg

Publicerat av Alexandre Antonelli --

Dear colleagues,

Please help us advertise these three fully funded positions at our lab.

Two Assistant Professorships / Postdoctoral Research Fellows, and one PhD student in macroevolution/biogeography and molecular phylogenetics.

More information at http://antonelli-lab.net/join.php

Many thanks and best wishes,



Alexandre Antonelli, PhD

Professor in systematics and biodiversity

Wallenberg Academy Fellow


Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

University of Gothenburg

Delivery address: Box 461, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden

Visiting address: Carl Skottsbergs gata 22B, 413 19 Göteborg, Sweden


Scientific curator, Gothenburg botanical garden

Lab homepage: http://antonelli-lab.net

E-mail:  alexandre.antonelli@bioenv.gu.se

Young Researchers Award winner to help advance development of biodiversity informatics in South Africa

Publicerat av GBIF.org --


Fatima Parker-Allie, a PhD student from South Africa, is one of the two recipients of the GBIF Young Researchers’ Award for 2015.

Her work will seek to advance the field of biodiversity informatics in South Africa in three distinct and complementary areas:

  • The development of a national BSc (honours) curriculum for biodiversity informatics
  • Data quality improvements that make biodiversity data more fit for use in research applications
  • Distribution models of commercially important fish species in southern African waters under different climate scenarios

Parker is the node manager at SABIF, GBIF’s national node in South Africa, which is hosted at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). She is pursuing her PhD studies at the University of Western Cape (UWC), which in 2012 signed an agreement with SANBI to collaborate on the development of a ‘centre of excellence’ for biodiversity information management. Producing students who earn PhDs is seen as key in this effort to build capacity.

Describing her research, Parker said, “My project was conceptualized to work across the data value chain, so that better decision making can be supported through the use of data. It will involve the full ‘life cycle’ of data, from assessing the type and quality of biodiversity data resources, to improving their quality, to analysing and interpreting them.

“My project also supports the science-policy interface by addressing the impacts of climate change on range shifts of fish populations and the direct implications for fisheries, food security and biodiversity. It looks at the use of Marine Protected Areas as a climate change adaptation and mitigation measure for fish populations”, Parker added.

For the first strand of her work, Parker will tackle the lack of a coordinated research agenda in biodiversity informatics in South Africa. To achieve this, she will explore a conceptual framework and develop an extended Honours curriculum in biodiversity informatics. Parker indicates that this project also aligns with the Presidential Outcome #5 (of 12), a governmental delivery agreement and the Human Capital Development Strategy, focussed on developing skills and leadership positions in the scarce skills area of biodiversity informatics.

The other two streams of Parker’s work will focus on the quality and use of GBIF-mediated records of marine fish. Parker, in her proposal for the Young Researcher Award, explains that approximately 2.8 million fish data records are published for southern Africa. She plans to examine these data for accuracy and clarity, prior to developing workflows and guidelines to improve the publication of marine data.

Following the data quality analysis, Parker will use ecological niche modelling techniques to model current and future distributions of fish species under various climate scenarios. The analysis will also include assessing the impacts of climate change on fish species in marine protected areas and on selected commercial fish species that are an important source of food in South Africa.

Parker will complete her research with the guidance of Mark Gibbons a marine biogeography and taxonomic expert, and Townsend Peterson, who helped develop a biodiversity informatics curriculum for the University of Kansas and has worked extensively on training programmes in Africa.

Young Researchers Award winner from Colombia to explore historic patterns of Mexican fauna

Publicerat av GBIF.org --


Gonzalo Enrique Pinilla Buitrago, a Colombian-Venezuelan Master’s degree student at the Instituto de Ecología in Xalapa, Mexico, is one of two recipients of the GBIF Young Researchers Award for 2015.

In the project outlined for the award submission, Pinilla Buitrago proposes to examine historical distribution patterns of fauna through niche modeling techniques, using data accessed through GBIF and other sources. He will draw upon half a million records related to 493 mammals and more than 7,000 records for 112 beetle species. The research will also use data from the Mammal Networked Information System (MaNIS), and CONABIO (Mexico’s National Information System on Biodiversity, and home of the GBIF national node) along with additional records from published literature. 

One result expected from Pinilla Buitrago’s study is the identification of areas of endemism in the Mexican Transition Zone, which spans the overlapping Nearctic and Neotropical biogeographic units in the country, and is broadly recognized for its high species diversity and endemism.

“Most research on dividing biogeographic regions into segments is limited to a spatial perspective. But biogeographic units are dynamic and change with time. It will be interesting to explore and find out about previously unknown patterns that suggest this dynamism,” says Pinilla Buitrago.

In a letter of support to the GBIF Science Committee, Lauren Raz, Pinilla Buitrago’s supervisor for his earlier work at the National University of Colombia, writes, “Despite the fact that Colombia is a megadiverse country, there are relatively few biologists trained to do sophisticated spatio-temporal analyses of biological data. Given the urgency of the problem of climate change, his skills are needed more than ever.”

Pinilla Buitrago was nominated for the award by the Head of Delegation for Colombia on the GBIF Governing Board.

Dr Leonard Hirsch: a great loss to GBIF

Publicerat av GBIF.org --

It is with great sadness that the GBIF community has learned of the death of Dr Leonard Hirsch, one of its founders and most influential supporters.

Dr Hirsch, of the Smithsonian Institution, was on the steering group that established GBIF in 2001 following the recommendation of OECD science ministers in 1999.

In subsequent years, he represented the United States at several meetings of the GBIF Governing Board and worked tirelessly to promote understanding of GBIF’s work both nationally and in the global arena.

Donald Hobern, GBIF Executive Secretary, said: “The whole GBIF community owes Len Hirsch a great debt for the stalwart support he gave over the years, and the active role he played in bringing GBIF into existence and helping to steer it as its governing principles were established.

“He will be sorely missed.”

Peter Schalk, chair of the GBIF Governing Board, added: “Len Hirsch was a remarkable character who was part of the GBIF family right from the beginning. A wonderful and very engaged person who never feared to speak up and share his thoughts, and who has done much for stimulating the interaction between delegates.

“He was a good and appreciated friend to GBIF. We will miss him.”