© Andrew Hendry
The bioGENESIS scientific strategy was developed to provide a framework to the scientific community to enable them to develop new strategies and tools for discovering, documenting and navigating various aspects of biodiversity, as well as to understand why and how the diversity of life evolved in time and space. In the face of ever-accelerating environmental change, the ultimate goal is to dramatically increase efficiency in the assessment of biological diversity: from the collection of specimens in the field, to the discovery and description of new species and clades, to rendering these data readily accessible and interoperable with other biodiversity information.
Insights from the science generated through bioGENESIS should improve and expand studies of the other DIVERSITAS projects such as bioDISCOVERY and ecoSERVICES, e.g. studies of macroecology, ecosystem processes, or predictive models.
The bioGENESIS scientific strategy was published in 2009 (Donoghue et al. bioGENESIS Science Plan and Implementation Strategy). It provides research guidelines and develops research ideas to further develop our understanding of how to:
Focus 1 – New strategies and tools for documenting biodiversity
To greatly accelerate the pace of documenting biodiversity, Focus 1 aims at identifying and facilitating the implementation of new strategies and tools, thereby providing a far more efficient pipeline from field exploration, through laboratory and museum studies, to the accessibility of these data to the relevant user communities.
Focus 2 – The causes and consequences of diversification
The change of biological diversity through time provides both a historical perspective within which to interpret modern patterns and a framework for generating predictions about future changes. bioGENESIS aims at understanding how various drivers (climate change, invasive species, etc.) have influenced biodiversity in the past in order to facilitate better predictions of future changes by using a combination of paleontological and phylogenetic approaches. This research will inform related research communities that study ecosystem functions (e.g. ecoSERVICES project), or design predictive models (e.g. bioDISCOVERY project).
Focus 3 - Evolution, biodiversity, and human well-being
For organisms with short life spans and large effective population sizes, human impacts such as pollution, habitat fragmentation, and invasive species, may be among the most important drivers of modern evolutionary change. Therefore, any prediction of species’ responses to environmental change must now at least accommodate the possibility that evolution is a factor, even in the short term, and analyses of the impacts of such evolutionary responses become critical to the development of a truly predictive biodiversity science. bioGENESIS promotes this integration, especially by providing a focal point for identifying and tackling the evolutionary questions most immediately relevant to understanding and managing biodiversity as environmental circumstances (biotic and abiotic) change rapidly owing to human activities.
Implementation of this scientific strategy
The development of the scientific strategy is however only the first step. Visit pages on the implementation of this scientific strategy through activities related to research, observation, assessment, policy, and capacity building to see how we take it forward into action. A Scientific Committee has been put in place to oversee the implementation of this scientific strategy, the international project office (IPO) is responsible for the coordination of the bioGENESIS activities.