[tdwg-content] How to record "Nativeness"?

Bailly, Nicolas (WorldFish) N.BAILLY at CGIAR.ORG
Wed Oct 13 04:24:06 CEST 2010

Dear All,


Completely agree with Rich's analysis.


May I coin two new terms? But before, I think we should separate the
definition of occurrences from their use, which remove many questions
evocated in previous messages):



At least a triplet (a taxon name, a location, a time);  whatever the
precision of each member of the triplet is.


The difference is in only in the use that we can do of an occurrence
depending on the respective precision of each member of the triplet.
Ontologies by definition should reflect the patterns not the processes
(although technically I suppose that processes can be described by
ontologies ... but it is an extension of the meaning of the word).



>From "living organism" (extant or fossil) down to infrasubspecific rank
if needed. Can it be a common name? Yes, it may decrease the precision
or even the accuracy, that is all.



>From Earth/continent/ocean/catchment down to precise geocoordinates.
Earth is always implicit and by default until we find life out in space.



>From 4.5 billion year range / geological era down to a precise date/time



Here are the two new terms I propose (and more could be coined using the
same way):


Geoccurrence: an occurrence with geocoordinates.


Loccurrence: an occurrence with only a locality/geographic name.



Should we coin terms for occurrences resulting from modeling?



Another consideration: species distribution modeling is a
rationalization of the production of distribution maps, just like
cladistics is a rationalization of the production of phylogenies.

For cladistics, in essence we sample individuals in the real genealogic
tree (= tokogenetic tree of Hennig): but can we say that actually all
characters used in cladistics lead back to a given individual? Maybe
true for molecular data but this statement needs more thinking; I don't
think it is true for morphology, and it is the same way for synthetic
descriptions and older works, as Rich described as using all imprecise
old records.

Likewise for distribution, we sample individuals, and also use the best
of loccurrences based on imprecise location (cf. Jeremy Jackson work on
historical records and trends).



As for recording nativeness, I would suggest that it is a general issue
for all controlled vocabularies that try to establish categories over a
continuum: the only way to get rid of all these problematic definitions,
and most probably incl. occurrences, is to express them with fuzzy
logic: we can say that a species is more or less native, especially if
the abundance is gradient from a center to peripheral areas, and then it
could derive from species distribution modeling based on geoccurrences
and loccurrences expressed as fuzzy functions.


So the next step is to include fuzzy logic in ontologies ;-). And TDWG
becoming a fuzzy think tank ;-).






From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org
[mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Richard Pyle
Sent: Wednesday 13 October 2010 07:08
To: tuco at berkeley.edu
Cc: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org; tdwg-bioblitz at googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] How to record "Nativeness"?


Thanks, John.  I agree that there will be little value in trying to
define and name distinct units of space and time, but there may be value
in defining units along the taxonomic axis. However, we should first
come to a community consensus on what the maximum scope of each axis is.


My sense is that the maximum scope of space is "Earth" (at least until
we begin documenting populations of extraterrestrial life).


My sense is that the maximum scope of time is effectively "any window of
time during the past 4 billion years or so".


But I don't have a clear sense for what the maximum scope of "one or
more organisms" ought to be.  I'm content with extending it to
"populations" as a unit of "organisms", because I see a smooth
transition from two individual organisms all the way up to a population
of organisms.  But should we accept taxonConcept (which can be thought
of as an implied set of populations) as an extension of "organisms"?  If
so, then "Animalia Occurred on Earth sometime during the past 2 billion
years" is a legitimate Occurrence record (pretty damn useless...but
still legitimate).


I think it matters, and is relevant to this exchange -- both because of
Steve's point about more clearly defining what an "Occurrence" can be,
and because we still don't have a good idea of how and where to score
"nativeness" (for which there is clearly an expressed need).


I agree that fitness-for-use should be determined from the content of
the records, but coming back to Donald's (and others') point about
filtering "non-native" records, there needs to be a way to include this
information in the content of the records in order to determine
fitness-for-use.  I believe that a controlled vocabulary for
establishmentMeans will probably be all we have to do to satisy 95% of
the user need.  But before we can nail down what that controlled
vocabulary would encompass, I think we need to come to some sort of
consensus on the issues that Steve has articulated.






	From: gtuco.btuco at gmail.com [mailto:gtuco.btuco at gmail.com] On
Behalf Of John Wieczorek
	Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:29 AM
	To: Richard Pyle
	Cc: Steve Baskauf; joel sachs; tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org;
tdwg-bioblitz at googlegroups.com
	Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] How to record "Nativeness"?

	Occurrence is admittedly a problematic term. Its current
definition is vague following in the grand tradition of Dublin Core term
definitions. Rich's interpretation echoes what Steve wrote and comes
closest in my mind to what an occurrence really is meant to be, namely
"evidence of one or more organisms occurring at a place and time." This
leaves open all of the vast continuum of scales - geographic, temporal,
and taxonomic - at which occurrences can be described. I'm not sure
exactly what is solved by trying to make named distinctions between
different scales or levels of detail (on any of the three axes) of
Occurrence. The core of the issue really boils down to fitness-for-use
of records and a potential user's capacity to accurately determine that.
These should be characteristics that can be determined from the content
of the records.

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