The Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme supports the conservation of New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity, by increasing awareness of and access to fundamental data and information about terrestrial and freshwater biota and biodiversity. The Programme is one of a number of new programmes that reflects Government's commitment to achieving the goals of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy (NZBS). More information on TFBIS may be found here.
After the formation of FUNNZ in 2005 council members of FUNNZ submitted an application to the TFBIS fund to support improvements to the collection of information generated during forays and to collate and digitise data from past forays.
The project is now (January 2007) partly complete. A new information system was used to collate data on the 20th Fungal Foray in Westport.
Description of the TFBIS funded project
The following text is extracted from the project proposal prepared in 2005
Since 1986, 19 national fungal forays have been organised on an annual basis, each of 3-6 days duration and held in a different region of New Zealand; Forays are attended by 30-50 participants including many New Zealand and overseas mycological experts, both professional and non-professional, who provide their time free of charge. These events generate a large amount of valuable information. This proposal seeks to improve information management and maximise the output and availability of fungal biodiversity data generated from this pool of expertise at each of the past, and all future, fungal forays. Such a proposal is only now feasible because of the formation in 2005 of a New Zealand mycological society, the Fungal Network of New Zealand (FUNNZ), and the forthcoming availability of a nationally available data management and dissemination web portal, the NZ Biodiversity Recording Network (NZBRN). The new society provides a formal structure for the organisation and coordination of effort and outputs associated with the forays, as well as hosting a website through which fungal information is widely disseminated and made available to NZBRN.
- From the past 19 forays, prepared species lists (where they exist, e.g. as supplied in compliance with DOC permits) will be collated and loaded onto the new NZ Biodiversity Recording Network (NZBRN) Gateway (TFBIS Project 152). Available images will also be loaded into NZBRN and/or NZFUNGI and linked between the two databases.
For the 20th NZ Fungal Foray, May 2006, Westport
- Develop a data management protocol covering the capture and tracking of standard metadata and data associated with fungal collections, observations and photographic images.
- Prepare a presentation on the end-user engagement in biodiversity information collection, the application of the protocol, and the dissemination of results through the NZBRN. The presentation is needed in order to engage end-users in an activity that will require them to adopt standard and more time-consuming methods. The foray includes a one day Research Colloquium attracting more professional participants and students. A broader presentation will be made to attendees of the colloquium.
- During and after the foray, geo-referenced data on collections and observations will be digitized into a standard format following the standards adopted at Landcare Research and in conformance with GBIF/TDWG standards.
- Digitized data will be processed and made available to the NZBRN, along with accompanying images.
- Uncertain identifications and critical taxa will be flagged and checked by qualified taxonomists.
- Collections will be processed for accession into the New Zealand Fungal Herbarium (PDD) at Landcare Research, or other internationally recognised NZ herbaria where appropriate.
Fungal biodiversity data is lacking for most of the conservation estate, apart from specimen based records in registered collections. Considerable additional knowledge is gained, however, when foray participants commit up to 6 days a year to survey forests of a particular region. This application will encourage better information management and leverage the high quality data generated freely by these national and international experts. Data will be relevant to DOC Conservancy managers by provision of additional new knowledge of a large but often overlooked component of biodiversity critical to forest ecosystems, and as distribution records of fungi enabling better definition of threat status. Biosecurity managers will gain improved documentation of presence of fungal pathogens and of distribution of invasive exotic weed fungi. A similar initiative in the UK by the British Mycological Society in the 1990s resulted in a national database that now contains 1.2 million records. Information from this resource continues to be essential in establishing the UK Biodiversity Action Plans for conserving 28 fungi and important fungal habitats (http://www.ukbap.org.uk).
From previous forays, records of data and images will be sourced from reports to DOC, from personal archives of participants, and from herbarium and culture collection databases. Implementation of the digital recording of fungal records, including presence/absence data, will begin from the April 2006 foray, and data uploaded into NZBRN. A laptop will be used for this purpose on the foray, and between forays the laptop will be used by individuals to enter data from personnel historical records.
- Collate and format data from past forays by 30 June 2006.
- Develop a data/metadata management protocol based on standards by 30 April 2006
- Prepare presentation on data management/dissemination/use for foray participants and Research Colloquium attendees by 31 May 2006
- Collate and digitize geo-referenced data on collections, observations and images by 30 June 2006
- Process digitized data for the NZBRN and NZFUNGI websites and the PDD Fungal Herbarium by 30 Sept. 2006
- Verify identifications of critical taxa by 31 March 2007
- Process physical collections for accession into the national fungal collection (PDD) at Landcare Research by 31 March 2007