Paper No. 288-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
DATA, DIGITIZATION AND DISCOVERY IN THE PALEONICHES TCN
The University of Kansas’ Invertebrate Paleontology (KUMIP) collection specializes in fossils from the mid-continent USA, particularly those of Pennsylvanian and Permian age. Databasing and georeferencing of collections has increased as part of a multi-institution digitization project funded by the NSF Advancing the Digitization of Biological Collections initiative. KUMIP is the lead on the Paleoniches Thematic Collections Network (TCN) which focuses on three important periods in the history of life: the Ordovician, Pennsylvanian, and Neogene, from three major paleobiogeographic regions: the Cincinnati region, American mid-continent, and Gulf/Atlantic Coastal Plains. Data from the Paleoniches TCN - including species occurrences, detailed stratigraphic information, locality descriptions, latitude and longitude - are now available in multiple formats on-line. The Digital Atlas of Ancient Life contains taxonomic information, specimen photographs, and occurrence maps to help scientists and collectors identify their fossil finds. The KUMIP Specify web portal allows users to search the database, to view associated label and specimen images, and to map georeferenced localities, making it useful for museum staff managing the quality control of databasing and georeferencing efforts as well as teachers and researchers. Finally, the data, which is formatted for biogeographic analysis, is also widely accessible to the research community via aggregators such as iDigBio and GBIF. These data will play a crucial role in examining how species and communities respond to environmental change through time. Analyses of geographic range of Pennsylvanian taxa using ArcGIS show how species’ range sizes have varied cyclically through time. Trends in species range size change can be correlated with changes in available rock volume and sea level. But more importantly, future research endeavors will include Ecological Niche Modeling analyses to determine community responses and if species’ niches evolved with changing climate.