2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 29-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


LATYSH, Natalie E., Core Science Systems, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Federal Center, Mail Stop 975, Denver, CO 80225, MCKINNEY, Kevin C., Core Science Systems, USGS, Denver Federal Center MS 975, Denver, CO 80225 and MCCLEES-FUNINAN, Ricardo, Core Science Systems, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr., MS302, Reston, VA 20192, nlatysh@usgs.gov

For over 100 years, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has collected and preserved geoscience data and sample collections, which include millions of paleobiological specimens stored in USGS facilities and at Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). The specimens represent life throughout the Phanerozoic and have served to determine and delineate temporal and spatial events in geologic maps, enhance stratigraphy and ecology interpretations, and offer pursuit of additional scientific knowledge. Many paleontological specimens may no longer be collected due to high field collection costs or inaccessibility to sampling sites, which have been restricted, urbanized, or modified via landscape processes. These paleontological specimens and data could be the only relevant source of historical information indicative of past earth processes, changing climates, and biodiversity, which may be used to understand effects of current trends and future effects of rapid changes in environmental conditions.

While USGS paleontological holdings (databases, reports, maps, publications) are available to researchers, they may be difficult to locate and discover. Recent mandates instructing federal agencies to provide open access to government data, along with enhanced developments in data management practices and web technology, has introduced opportunity to advance and digitally expose paleontological data to promote their dissemination and use by researchers.

USGS and NMNH are constructing a data model mapped to Darwin Core standards, describing biological diversity in geological contexts, for paleontological collections. Information obtained from rich sources compiled by USGS scientists, including stratigraphic and geological information recorded in geologists’ field notebooks, field maps marking sampling localities, and taxonomic identifications assigned in physical sample inventories, is being formatted to a standard content model. USGS ScienceBase data management infrastructure (www.sciencebase.gov) is being used to provide a long-term digital repository for USGS collections indices and standards-based cataloging and mapping services. Future plans include use of standards-based web servicing techniques to expose USGS paleontological data to other users and systems.