GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 105-9
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


UHEN, Mark, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, George Mason University, MS 6E2, Fairfax, VA 22030,

Paleobiological data are served by a wide array of databases that vary in structure, composition, temporal scales, types of data and metadata. To conduct global analyses of the paleobiological record it is necessary to retrieve data from a variety of these databases - requiring queries of each database to retrieve the types of data needed. Paleobiology Database (PBDB,, is involved with two closely related projects to link several paleobiological databases together so that they can be accessed with a unified query for data, to link paleobiological and modern organismal data, and to associate fossil occurrence data with fossil specimen data from museums. The first of these, the EarthLife Consortium is federating several databases of late Cenozoic data into the Neotoma Paleoecological Database structure, and is also crafting a consolidated PaleoAPI through which data from Neotoma and PBDB can be queried by humans or machines. The PaleoAPI will also be available for other paleontological databases to feed their data in to as well. The second project is ePANNDA, Enhancing PAleontological and Neontological Data Discovery API. Fossil specimen data is currently being fed from museums into the iDigBio data portal using the DarwinCore format. ePANNDA is crafting an API to allow users to search for data on modern and fossil organisms from PBDB and iDigBio simultaneously. This will integrate the occurrence-based data in PBDB with the specimen-based data from various museums represented in iDigBio. This will also allow users to access fossil and modern organismal data simultaneously. Ultimately, our goal is to create a system of systems that will allow users to access all organismal distributional data with a single query that will integrate all taxa across all time to facilitate all manner of evolutionary and ecological studies. This goal will become a reality as more museums contribute data to iDigBio and more paleontological databases use the PaleoAPI.