Graduate Fellow

LinkedNames: a nomenclatural triple-store for name reconciliation

PI(s): Gaurav Vaidya (University of Colorado Boulder)
Start Date: 7-Jan-2013
End Date: 31-May-2013
Keywords: database, software, systematics, biodiversity

A big challenge in evolutionary biology today is assembling all the phylogenetic relationships among all living organisms into a single “Tree of Life”. Taxonomic names, which link information from every subfield of biology to discrete units of evolution (i.e. species), are an essential part of this process. Taxonomy cataloging projects have developed databases of synonyms focused on particular taxonomic groups.

In this project, I propose to develop a data model for representing the relationships between taxonomic names and to write software programs to extract these relationships from taxonomic databases. These will be recorded in a semantic triple-store, a database specialized to record relationships between objects. This will facilitate useful tasks — such as speeding up name reconciliation and matching names in different taxonomic databases against each other — and will also form a public, shared resource for research into the history and longevity of taxonomic names, where I hope to focus my PhD.