Scientist National Ecological Observation Network, United States
Session Description: Significant progress has been made toward increasing the availability, accessibility, and usability of environmental and ecological Omic data. Omic data describe the genes, transcripts, and/or proteins, among other biological molecules, found within organismal or environmental samples, and have been the focus of multiple highly coordinated national and international efforts. Such coordination efforts, including, for example, the Genomics Standards Consortium and Genomic Observatories Network, have focused on the generation and publication of these data using standardized vocabularies alongside standardized metadata (e.g., Minimum Information about x Sequences [MIxS]). Additional effort is needed to increase awareness and adoption of these standards by data providers, with a particular emphasis on the need for extensive metadata to enable impactful environmental research. Partnerships across diverse environmental observatories and repositories are critical to providing the rich contextual data needed to interpret and understand omic data. Moreover, transformation of sequence information into ecological information requires analytical workflows that are continually evolving alongside the laboratory methods used to generate the raw data. These workflows represent the next frontier of standards development for the omics community.
This special session brings together representatives from a diversity of organizations who are working at the forefront of these issues, including NMDC (National Microbiome Data Collaborative, microbiomedata.org) GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility, www.gbif.org), NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network, www.neonscience.org), Environmental Data Initiative (edirepository.org), Long-term Ecological Research Network (www.nceas.ucsb.edu/workinggroups/lter-emergent), and Symbiota (symbiota.org/). The session will begin with short presentations from these representatives about their organizations’ role in this global effort, followed by a panel discussion, and finally by break-out groups to facilitate feedback from the participants on what the highest priorities to enable their research are. The goal of the session is to educate and inspire both the participants and the panelists to ensure the continuation of community-based approaches to Omics initiatives into the future.