The pandemic resulting from SARS-CoV-2 has had profound impacts on the conduct of scientific research and education: A large proportion of field research has ground to a halt, and research and science education were forced to move online. In light of these developments, the nation's biodiversity infrastructure—natural history collections housed in museums, herbaria, universities, and colleges, among other locations, and often available digitally—are ready to play an even larger role in enabling important scientific discoveries. Further, collections may also be instrumental in preventing or mitigating future infectious outbreaks. Two recent BioScience publications, linked below, highlight these issues.
In this episode BioScience Talks, we're joined by representatives from the collections and science education communities. Guests included John Bates, Natural Science Collections Alliance, the Field Museum of Natural History; Pam Soltis, Florida Museum of Natural History, the University of Florida; Gil Nelson, iDigBio, Florida Museum of Natural History, the University of Florida; Barbara Thiers, New York Botanical Garden; Anna Monfils, Central Michigan University, the BLUE Project; Janice Krumm, Widener University, BCEENET (Biological Collections in Ecology and Evolution Network); Liz Shea, Delaware Museum of Natural History, BCEENET; Carly Jordan, George Washington University, BCEENET; and Joseph Cook, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico.
Evaluating shifts in the health of dynamic ecosystems is often difficult—for instance, rivers with intermittent flows and populations with varied dispersal characteristics might look very different from one month to the next. In this episode of BioScience Talks, we're joined by Núria Cid and Thibault Datry of INRAE, in Lyon, France, who discuss their new framework for a metacommunity approach that aims to help researchers overcome these challenges.