Mapping Information Gaps: Towards and Index of Knowledge for Every Vertebrate Species

Free Nibbles and Discussion Between Early Career Researchers and the Speaker at the Oxford University Club 11 Mansfield Road from 2.30pm

Ninety percent of the data that exists worldwide has been created in the past six years. The proliferation of data is quickly outpacing our ability to interpret them, including the landscape of biodiversity data. Very little has been done to map the knowledge gap for species. The core of evolutionary biology lays at the understanding of species life histories. Information on life histories is also critical for the development of species risk assessment and conservation policies. Our vision is to develop a Species Index of Knowledge that can enable tracking in real-time how we are generating machine-readable data across the world to close the information gap. I will introduce a Demographic Index of Species knowledge (DISKo) for all tetrapods, which scores every species’ demographic data availability. Our findings show a landscape of ignorance – only 1.3% of all species have significant survival information for conservation planning. In exploring new ways to fill these knowledge gaps, we are particularly interested in using Species360 data as a way of finding the uncertainty, specifically the demographic records of more than 10 million individuals. Species360 manages ZIMS, which is both a software and real-time database supported by more than 1060 zoos and aquariums across the globe. We envision DISKo as the first exercise towards a Global Species Index of Knowledge.