[Tdwg-obs] Antw: Re: On observation definition / moving forward

tdwg at achapman.org tdwg at achapman.org
Fri Feb 10 22:55:25 CET 2006

Denis, I agree with your sentiments here, and it is the only way we can handle the vast amount of differences. More than people expect, however, can be generalised for different groups. Allan Allison and myself had an intereting example of this in Indonesia many years ago where we were working with foresters, fisherman, insect people and botanists, and trying to look at the common denominator in as many fields as possible.  One that came up was collecting method where virtually every group saw their group as so specialised  and wanted fields that would only apply to them (fishermen for example for net type, size etc.)  We eventually got them all to see that we could use just "collecting method" with a different set of terms for each group.

But I think Sabine has an additional point that needs to be covered.

If I read Sabine rightly, she is talking about what the observation may be and not necessarily the aspects of that observation (measurements etc.). I think there are perhaps two aspects to what she is saying.

I can see the need for observation of "scat" or "hair" for mammals, "pupa" "lavae" for insects, "fruit" for plants, "nest" for a bird, etc. where these may have been observed separately from the main animal/plant etc.  It is an observation, but not an obseration of the whole animal/plant, etc.

I am not sure that 'Unit' is the best term, though - worth discussing.


Arthur D. Chapman
Toowoomba, Australia

>>>From Denis Lepage <dlepage at bsc-eoc.org> on 10 Feb 2006:

> Hi Sabine,
> What you describe for plants is very much like what we often find in
> ver> tebrates.
> At any given sampling event, you may want to characterise differently
> un> its that belong to the same taxon. In birds, if you are talking about
> ba> nding (ringing) data, you typically want to record the characteristics
> o> f each individual (mass, body measurements, sex, band number, etc.).
> For>  that reason, a schema needs to allow repeating the same taxonomic unit
> > multiple times in the same sampling event, each record with its own
> char> acteristics. On the other hand, if you have a group of organisms that
> al> l share exactly the same characteristics, it makes a lot more sense to
> h> ave a field that tell you how many times this unit was repeated, rather
> > than have separate records for each.
> For all biodiversity monitoring, there are common fields that will
> allow>  you to describe what your unit is (taxonomic fields), in addition to
> ot> her fields such date, time, location, etc. But each discipline will
> also>  have its own requirements. Bird banders typically do not care about
> soi> l or water pH, and you surely do not need to describe whether your
> units>  had a brood patch.
> In a schema, the way to handle this is to put everything that is common
> > to all disciplines in the core list of fields. DarwinCore already gives
> > a number of those fields, but there are more common fields that can be
> a> dded (DarwinCore was initially designed for museum specimens).
> Everythin> g that is specific to a limited number of disciplines then need to be
> pa> rt of a schema extension. In birds monitoring, we think so far that
> this>  will represent about 4 or 5 different extensions (one for surveys, one
> > for bird banding, one for nest records, etc.). The agrobiodiversity
> comm> unity will have to work on it's own extensions, as will other
> communitie> s (which don't necessarily have to be taxon-based).
> Cheers
> Denis
> Denis Lepage,  Senior Scientist/Chercheur sénior 
> National Data Center/Centre national des données
> Bird Studies Canada/Études d'Oiseaux Canada
> PO Box/B.P. 160, Port Rowan, ON  N0E 1M0
> 519-586-3531 ext. 225, fax/téléc. 519-586-3532
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Tdwg-obs-bounces at lists.tdwg.org
> > [mailto:Tdwg-obs-bounces at lists.tdwg.org]On Behalf Of SABINE ROSCHER
> > Sent: 10 February 2006 9:11 AM
> > To: Tdwg-obs at lists.tdwg.org
> > Subject: [Tdwg-obs] Antw: Re: On observation definition / 
> > moving forward
> > 
> > 
> > Hello,
> > 
> > We work in the field of agrobiodiversity, e.g. crop wild 
> > relatives. For us the combination of oberservation data and 
> > samples is very important.
> > 
> > We consider the unit as central element, which can be a part 
> > of an organism, an ogranism, or a group of organisms. The 
> > reason for going under the level of organism is that 
> > sometimes the plant with all roots etc. can be quite larger 
> > than the part that is observed and recorded for a certain location.
> > 
> > This describes the line we think along :
> > "A unit in our context is uniquely identified by time, 
> > place(site) and taxonomy. In addition a particular unit could 
> > be sampled to further assist in characterising it. Such 
> > samples could be (1) seed samples/planting material 
> > (classical ex situ accessions), (2) photos or (3) herbarium vouchers."
> > 
> > UNIT {time, site, taxonomy} (+ sample)
> > 
> > (With regard to the prior discussion I agree that we also 
> > have to handle legacy data with missing entries for time and place.)
> > 
> > Sabine
> > 
> > 
> > Sabine Roscher
> > 513 - Informations- und Koordinationszentrum für Biologische 
> > Vielfalt (IBV)
> > Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung
> > Deichmanns Aue 29, 53179 Bonn
> > Tel.: +49 (0)228 6845-3235 (oder -3237)
> > Fax: +49 (0)228 6845-3787
> > E-Mail: sabine.roscher at ble.de 
> > Internet: www.ble.de 
> > weiterführende Information: www.genres.de 
> >  
> > 
> > >>> Steve Kelling <stk2 at cornell.edu> 09.02.2006 18:55 >>>
> > Hello,
> > I really like the improvements made on the definition, and I 
> > might suggest 
> > that I put it up on the TDWG-obs website 
> > http://www.avianknowledge.net/tdwg.
> > I think we still need to define occurrence, and I think that Arthur 
> > Chapman's "species occurrence data" gets us most of the way 

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