GBIF Awards Target Novel Research on Species Distributions
4 June 2012: The Science Committee of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) has awarded this year's €30,000 Ebbe Nielsen Prize to Nathan Swenson from the US, whose work demonstrates how occurrence data, such as those available through GBIF, can help understand the impact of climate on species distributions. The Young Researchers Awards were awarded to a PhD student from Argentina and a Master's student from Colombia for work on biogeography and species distributions.
Swenson, an assistant professor at the Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, US, proposes to use the award for a project using data published through GBIF, and data from the iPlant Tree of Life programme, for a large-scale analysis to study the evolution of climatic niches in plants. The analysis will be carried out jointly with the Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity Group at the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark.
The €4,000 Young Researchers Award was presented to Salvador Arias, a PhD student at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán in Argentina, who developed the Vicariance Inference Programme (VIP), which uses georeferenced data to explore the splitting of the geographical ranges of groups of organisms because of barriers to gene flow or species movement; and Elkin Tenorio Moreno, a master's student at the Department of Biological Sciences, Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, who plans to use it to analyze dispersal patterns of Amazonian and Andean birds across climatic and geographic barriers, generating climatic niche models for over 500 bird species using GBIF-mediated data from natural history collections. [GBIF Press Release]