[tdwg-content] Darwin Core terms sex and lifeStage with mixed content
diapriid at gmail.com
Tue Feb 24 17:36:13 CET 2015
"If you want to break down counts to many dimensions you need to represent
occurrences according to those dimensiions." I agree, and this is the
approach we are taking (multiple lots with their own biocuration
properties, see below).
To follow up with Rich's observations on sex (and things like "stage"
etc). In our software we have introduced the concept of a Biocuration
class. Individuals in this class are biologicaly derived concepts *that
are used to organize collections*. As Rich noted you have to make a bit
of a leap from asserting that an individual classified under the
biocuration class "female" is in fact female. In our software, by default,
we do not make this leap, but we are considering extending the system to
allow users to add domain/range constraints that would assert additional
classifications, e.g. if a specimen is classified under the biocuration
class "female(s)", then that specimen can be classified as a
We feel that the biocuration concept more closely approximates the
day-to-day intent/usage of classifiers like sex, stage, "furs", "bones"
etc. as organizational concepts used to manage collections, rather than a
specific biological assertion about the specimen(s).
On Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 4:05 AM, Markus Döring <m.doering at mac.com> wrote:
> Right, Rich.
> And this is exactly the reason why they are grouped under Occurrence now.
> To me the problem of having mixed values for sex and lifestage in a “lot”
> is pretty much the same as having different taxa in it.
> And to avoid that mess we defined Organism, on which an occurrence is
> based, to be taxonomically homogeneous.
> I dont think we want to do the same for sex, but the most elegant way of
> sharing this mixed information would be to share separate occurrence
> records, each being homogenous in their sex and lifestage.
> This might not be feasable for some publishers, but if its possible I
> think thats the right way to go. If you want to break down counts to many
> dimensions you need to represent occurrences according to those dimensiions.
> On 06 Feb 2015, at 03:57, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:
> >> Does the term “sex” need to be constrained to the case of one
> individual only, and not include individuals?
> > One thing to keep in mind: sex is actually best not thought of as a
> property of an individual, but rather a property of an individual at a
> particular time (i.e., an Occurrence) (Note to Chuck: I know this isn't
> what you were suggesting, but your suggestion reminded me of it). This is
> because many organisms change sex throughout their lifetimes. So if
> pinning "sex" (and "lifestage") down to a particular individual (for which
> we have the new DwC class "Organism"), it should not be represented as a
> property of an individual/organism, but rather as a property of an
> individual/organism at a particular point in time (which we represent as
> > This seems like a nit-pick, but if this conversation leads to changes in
> DwC, I think it's important that we not allow it to lead to a step
> > Aloha,
> > Rich
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