Friday, 16 August 2013

Are we already at the dawn of continuous biodiversity data?

In my May 31st blog, I wrote that the stage seemed to be set for continuous biodiversity data. The first rays of light from this new dawn may already be here.

A recent article1 highlights how technology is already being used to further real time monitoring of biodiversity. The article talks about the Automated Remote Biodiversity Monitoring Network (ARBIMON), and its application in providing decision makers real time biodiversity data. Two things are particularly fascinating about this methodology: 1) that data can be collected in real time across wide areas; and 2) that the data can be collected in real time across a wide breadth of biodiversity.

The ARBIMON project is a fantastic start, using mostly off the shelf products.  Hopefully the best is yet to come though, with others picking up these techniques and refining and finding ways to make the process even cheaper and easier. Just look at history of most technologies, which start as novel techniques, only to be refined and have their costs driven down. After all, the incentive to have real time data to inform management of biodiversity has never been greater, both in terms of the need for the data and also the reduction in funds available to collect and process the data.

Other real time data projects, for example sense-t2, are building on academic research and focusing on commercial challenges. Such applications include in aquaculture, agriculture, forestry and water. Even indirectly, increasing the efficiency of existing operations in these industries may help to alleviate future pressures on biodiversity. However, the hope is that through commercial refining, we might see a real drive in cheaper technology, increasing the potential for use in biodiversity monitoring across the globe.

Are you aware of projects which might help the real time biodiversity data cause? If so, what are they and what are they doing? If not, what would you like to see happen?


lowjumpingfrog Flickr Account - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic