TEAM Staff presents at ATBC 2003

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July 7, 2003

Aberdeen University, Scotland - Staff from the Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Initiative recently attended the 2003 Special Symposium of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) and the British Ecological Survey (BES) at Aberdeen University in Scotland. The joint meeting featured 12 keynote speakers and included 21 symposia and 10 contributed sessions with over 450 delegates attending from around the world.

Thomas Lacher, PhD, Senior Director of the TEAM Initiative, and Puja Batra, PhD, Program Director for TEAM, both presented talks about the TEAM Initiative during the Networks in Tropical Ecology Symposium, which was co-organized by Dr. Lacher and Oliver Phillips, PhD, of the University of Leeds. Caroline Kuebler, Program Manager for TEAM, and James Heath, TEAM Program Associate, also attended. Piotr Naskrecki, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science's (CABS) Invertebrate Diversity Initiative (IDI), attended the meeting and delivered a presentation on "Taxonomic Networks in Invertebrate Research".

During her presentation, Dr. Batra gave an overview of the TEAM Initiative, discussing the taxa selected by TEAM to be incorporated into the standard biodiversity monitoring protocols. Dr. Batra also gave scientific justification for standardization and the particular methodologies comprising the protocols.

"The process of developing and compiling standardized protocols to monitor biodiversity in tropical forests continues to involve experts from all over the world and from many fields of science," said Dr. Batra.

Dr. Lacher discussed TEAM's data management protocol (PDFPDF), which traces the flow of data from its initial point of collection in the field to its final residence on the TEAM server in Washington, DC. After a thorough review by TEAM personnel, this data is released to both the scientific community and general public.

"In order to more effectively access information to improve conservation action, we need to adopt standards for labeling and identifying ecological data," said Dr. Lacher. "Having common metadata standards will enhance data sharing for conservation planning and implementation."

Dr. Batra also served as a panel member at the ATBC Plenary Session "Beyond Paradise: Meeting the Challenges in Tropical Biology in the 21st Century" in which scientists outlined a multi-workshop report on the future research priorities in tropical biology. Dr. Batra's comments highlighted the need for academia and conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work together in order to further the ecological and social science agendas that are outlined in the report. She also presented the TEAM Initiative as an example where such collaboration is working to further the goals of both conservation and basic science.

"As conservation of biodiversity becomes more and more of a concern globally, I believe that initiatives like TEAM will only act to strengthen the links between basic science and conservation practice," said Dr. Batra.

For more information, visit the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation.