Phylogenetics Standards Interest Group is now official

The Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) organization officially approved the Phylogenetics Standards Interest Group in September 2009. Interest Groups form the primary social and scientific units that drive and sustain standards development and ratification efforts within the TDWG organization.

The Phylogenetics Standards Interest Group is co-lead by Nico Cellinese (University of Florida) and Hilmar Lapp (National Evolutionary Synthesis Center - NESCent). The group aims to develop, ratify, and promote a set of standards that foster the broad availability and repurposing of phylogenetic data and their semantics. Currently, there are no widely accepted standards for annotating nodes or branches in phylogenetic trees with the increasingly diverse biotic and abiotic data that researchers want to place on the lines of descent that connect the past and present diversity of life on Earth. As a result, annotations from one program or data source fail to be read, or are misinterpreted or lost when imported into another program. To facilitate reuse and harnessing of already existing efforts as much as possible, the interest group will interact extensively with other groups, both within and outside of TDWG. Beyond developing standards, the group also plans to identify incentives and mechanisms for increasing the rate and consistency of phylogenetic data deposition in repositories.

The new Interest Group emerged from a 2008 whitepaper by Cellinese. Subsequent activities at the 2008 TDWG Conference aimed at rallying support around the then-nascent group. These kick-off activities were jointly funded by the Biodiversity Synthesis Center (BioSynC, a component of EOL) and NESCent. The group was officially approved by TDWG with the ratification of its charter.

Participants are welcome to join at any time simply by signing up to the group's mailing list: [ more ]