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SPNHC 2015 posters – Libraries of Life project and New Neotropical Symbiota portals

Our group has two posters up for presentation at SPNHC 2015 this week.

1. Basham A., A. Mast, N.M. Franz & K.H. Holmes. 2015. Libraries of Life: connecting collections with community via Augmented Reality and specimen-based learning applications. 30th Annual Meeting of The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections. Gainesville, FL. Link to PDF

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SPNHC 2015 presentation – Taxonomic concept resolution for voucher-based biodiversity information platforms

Slides are up for our SPNHC 2015 concept taxonomy presentation.

Franz 2015 SPNHC Taxonomic concept resolution for voucher-based biodiversity information platforms from taxonbytes

PathwayMatrix visualization software shows Euler/X taxonomy alignment products and ambiguities

This post serves as an update on a new Euler/X compatible visualization software called PathwayMatrix, and also as a mini-review of the Exploring Taxonomic Concepts (ETC) Information Visualization Workshop, held on May 11-13, 2015, at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The workshop was organized by Bertram Ludäscher of the Euler/X Project and ETC lead information scientist Hong Cui.

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Thoughts: Humans, computers, and identifier granularity

Third post in this sequence. In the first post, I reviewed that biological nomenclature promotes (even requires) fairly deep taxonomic semantics, due to semantically forceful principles such as Typification, Priority, Coordination, and Binomial Names. In the second post, I suggested (again, nothing very new here) that the Linnaean system has many features which, given the task on hand (reliably identifying nature’s hierarchy), are nearly optimally aligned with evolutionarily constrained human cognitive universals.

Both posts are ultimately about advancing biodiversity informatics infrastructure design. That motivation points to finding sound models of knowledge communication in the taxonomic domain. Lessons from the two preceding posts may be as follows. (1) If the goal is to build data environments that largely continue to reflect the strengths and weaknesses of human cognitive universals, then the particular balance struck by Linnaean names and name relationships acting as identifiers of evolving human taxonomy making is adequate. (2) There may be better solutions out there, particularly solutions that more effectively utilize the reasoning and scalability strengths of computational logic.

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Natural History Collections contribute to exhibit: The Nature of Creation – Joseph Haydn’s Oratorio and Beyond

During the Spring and Summer, 2015, ASU’s Natural History Collections group is contributing sets of newly designed plant fossil displays and 3D dioramas for the ASU Hayden Library Exhibit:

The Nature of Creation: Joseph Haydn’s Oratorio and Beyond

 Kathleen Pigg, Elizabeth Makings, and Anne Basham are responsible for the designs and materials. Some photos are posted here.

More information is available at libguides.asu.edu/Creation

Exhibit: The Nature of Creation: Joseph Haydn’s Oratorio and Beyond.
Available: Hayden Library, Upper Concourse, Spring-Summer 2015, during normal library hours.

Description: This exhibit celebrates Joseph Haydn’s The Creation oratorio and is part of the ASU Creation Project, a yearlong series of events that concluded with a free performance of Haydn’s oratorio on April 29, 2015. The exhibit explores the nature of Creation through human imagination and creativity, as depicted in visual arts, music, cosmological narratives and diagrams, utopian writings, and scientific work. The exhibit is accompanied with a library guide, videos of pop-up books in action, 3D dioramas and high quality photos of fossil plants.

HaydenExhibit2015-2

Newly designed fossil plant display for The Nature of Creation exhibit at the Hayden Library, May 2015.

Spring 2015 Collecting

In the desert, there doesn’t seem to ever be a bad time to collect. This spring has been no exception for the taxonbytes lab members!

Most entomological collecting in the southwest seems to be planned in accordance with the amazing monsoon activity that the area is known for. Even though there is still much to be discovered in the fauna that emerges after our summer rains, there is also a large fauna which is not associated with rains; in fact there are many species which exhibit late spring-early summer emergences which seems to be oddly uncommon in collections.

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Announcing BIO 386 Entomology – Fall 2015

This Fall 2015, BIO 386 General Entomology will be offered with the course lab sections utilizing the Natural History Collections spaces at the Alameda Building. The course provides a thorough, interactive, hands-on introduction to the fascinating and immensely important diversity and biology of insects, covering topics from insect morphology to pollination to conservation, and much more.  Seats remain open for enrollment. Photos from prior courses are here. A student perspective:

 Fall2014Feeback

The video below provides an introduction to the course lab facility.

A New Home for the ASU Natural History Collections from Arizona State University on Vimeo.