Background and visions statements

Image by Nathan Dumlao

Deputy Chair - Deborah Paul

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA


I am passionate about working to build bridges between groups and creating environments where all feel welcome. For more than twelve years, I have participated in various biodiversity initiatives. Examples include digitization in the FSU R.K. Godfrey Herbarium, mobilizing data and images for Morphbank, leading digitization and workforce training efforts at iDigBio, collaborating worldwide to develop symposia and workshops, and networking and mentoring to foster biodiversity informatics skills in the collections and research communities. I am an active participant in the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC), Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), the Entomological Collections Network (ECN), ICEDIG, the Research Data Alliance (RDA), and The Carpentries.

Vision Statement

As Deputy and then Chair, I would continue to strengthen TDWG’s role as a community leader and partner in biodiversity standards development and implementation. Initiating and continuing work with key organizations like ECN, RDA, CODATA, and The Carpentries, helps TDWG develop natural communities to use and contribute to biodiversity standards. Collaboration with GBIF, ALA, VertNet, iDigBio and others is key for testing and implementing TDWG ideas and products. Moreover, we need to work with other standards organizations to learn from them and share our expertise.

We can work together to further the relationship between SPNHC and TDWG started by our first joint meeting. SPNHC and TDWG both publish journals, so a periodic joint issue might help expand the reach of each organization. I envision a TDWG 5-10+ year plan that seeks to include relevant industry/manufacturers as partners and collaborators (e.g. 3D, AI, Google).

Additionally, it would be great to examine membership and choose some strategic goals (e.g. diversity, sustained membership, etc.). Evidence suggests training helps sustain membership, so this could be a potential role for TDWG, beginning by suggesting course/training content through the BDI IG and Community and Outreach group. Other ideas based on prior TDWG meetings and recent conversations center around meeting structure and the working group process. We could (re)incorporate introductory sessions for new / first time attendees. Others suggest: 1) allowing dedicated work time at future conferences, 2) offering training, 3) bringing back lightning talks, 4) developing a strategy for TDWG IGs and TGs to meet between yearly meetings, and 5) developing a webinar series parallel to Darwin Core Hour to support and facilitate effective community outreach for TDWG groups.

As a TDWG member myself, I most want to support the development of your ideas, and your vision for TDWG.

Secretary - Quentin Groom ORCID

Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium

Curriculum Vitae

I have broad experience in the plant sciences having originally worked in the UK and USA on the physiology, biophysics and molecular biology of photosynthesis and plant iron metabolism. Now I work in Belgium at Meise Botanic Garden where I work at the interface of biodiversity science and information technology. I am currently part of a team digitizing and disseminating images of the Garden’s four million herbarium specimens. I take every opportunity to encourage data sharing and openness, though I am keen to ensure that data providers are adequately acknowledged and supported. Currently, I am leading the Open Science project TrIAS to create open workflows for the creation of policy ready information on invasive species from citizen science data. I am also working on the ICEDIG project to prepare for mass digitization and dissemination of museums and herbaria across Europe.

I have a particular research interest in introduced plants, their ecology and biogeography. In this context I am Vice Chair of the Alien-CSI COST Action towards monitoring and understanding of invasive species with citizen scientists. I am also leading a TDWG Task Group to improve the Darwin Core standard for its use with invasive species data.

Vision statement

We live in exciting times for biodiversity informatics, both a time when we have the capability to do more and better science with information technology, but also a time when the global challenges for biodiversity are extreme. Through my work with TDWG I hope to make new science possible and make a significant contribution to protecting our living heritage. Having learned much in my first two years as TDWG Secretary I hope to be even more effective in my role and in promoting TDWG to a wider audience.

Communications and Outreach Functional Subcommittee Chair - Prabhakar Rajagopal ORCID

Strand Life Sciences and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India


I did my bachelors in engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and my PhD from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore in the biological sciences. I work in Strand Life Sciences, which is a bioinformatics and computational biology company working in clinical genomics.

Since 2008, I have been involved in biodiversity informatics and have been working on building the India Biodiversity Portal, leading a team of developers within Strand Life Sciences. The platform is now mature, and powers three instances, the India Biodiversity Portal, the WIKWIO portal for the weeds of Africa and the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal.

Vision statement

I have been involved in TDWG since 2014. I would like to build a team from members of TDWG who guide the activities of the outreach and communication sub-committee. The team would address four specific activities:

  • They will create and put together publicity material as digital presentations, pamphlets and flyers for open access and use to all members of TDWG.
  • They will help advocate, evangelize and build capacity in biodiversity informatics standards in stakeholder groups across the world.
  • They will work closely with regional representatives, especially in Africa, Asia and South America in building capacity in biodiversity informatics in collaboration with local institutions.
  • They will document and report all TDWG conducted and upcoming outreach and communication activities through the newly launched and website for global visibility

Fundraising and Partnernships Functional Subcommittee Chair - Connie Rinaldo ORCID

Librarian of the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), Harvard University


I have a BA in Biology and Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, an MSc in Zoology from the University of Connecticut and an MLS from the University of Maryland. I began studying for a PhD in Zoology but after a number of twists and turns I ended up as a Systems Analyst for EG&G, Washington Analytical Services, Inc. From there I become a librarian by completing my MLS at the University of Maryland. I worked on the National Text Digitizing Project, an early digitization program, at the National Agricultural Library and then moved to Dartmouth College as the Head of Collections in the Biomedical Libraries. I also worked with the Digital Library for Earth Systems Education, analyzing collections. After Dartmouth, I became the Librarian of the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), Harvard University, combining my skills as a librarian with opportunities for research partnerships in the MCZ and Biodiversity Heritage Library. As a founding member of the BHL (now Chair of the Executive Committee), I have been instrumental in digitizing the Ernst Mayr Library collections for open access and developing innovative strategic plans for the BHL. I first attended TDWG in St. Louis in 2006. I am passionate about natural history and working with local, national and global partners to ensure that biodiversity data in library collections are connected, open and accessible for all.

Vision statement

The mission for this subcommittee states that “FPFS will work together with TDWG executive committee as well as TDWG task and interest groups to submit and implement competitive funding bids and improve the position of TDWG in the international landscape through strategic partnerships at international, regional, or national level.” These complex and important tasks will require an engaged globally diverse committee from the TDWG membership that can find international opportunities for funding and partnerships. The 2018 New Zealand joint meeting with SPNHC and the upcoming 2019 joint meeting alongside GBIF, CETAF and DiSSCo are excellent examples of the types of partnerships that should be continued and pursued. Engaging European organizations and funders was key. These collaborations with GBIF, CETAF and DiSSCo will present more prospects for shared funding but the FPFS will need to identify and assess new strategic partners and funding opportunities, looking beyond the expected biodiversity organizations, pursuing more corporate partnerships, donors and foundations.

A long-term vision is to reinforce the visibility of TDWG across the globe, establish strong new alliances and nurture current relationships to secure funding and support. My key goal for the upcoming year is to establish a strong committee to work with the Executive Committee to reach this vision.

Africa representative - Brenda Daly ORCID

South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)


Brenda Daly is the Information Systems Manager for the Biodiversity Information and Planning Directorate at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), with 16 years’ experience in information management and digital curation. She leads several projects in the delivery of operational systems which includes external-facing availability of applications, infrastructure and data. Brenda also provides strategic technical leadership in implementing SANBI’s enterprise information architecture to integrate South African biodiversity information.

Prior to her appointment at SANBI, Brenda was the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Node Manager for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) a Non-Profit Organisation dedicated to conserving threatened species and ecosystems in southern Africa. It was her engagement with the GBIF community that introduced her to the internationally recognised data standards and the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) community.

Vision statement

With a genuine enthusiasm for information technology and a passion for biodiversity, Brenda’s research interest is the importance of biodiversity data in addressing research and decision-making in the use and management of living resources and how these data can be shared in a more effective and appropriate platform for any type of use or application. It is therefore vital that biodiversity information standards are adapted to allow for this.

Asia representative - Ji Liqiang

Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Curriculum Vitae

  • 1999-present: Leader of Biodiversity Informatics Research Group, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 1999-present: Professor of Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 1993-1999: Associate Professor of Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 1990-1993: Assistant Professor of Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 1990: Ph.D., Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 1982: BS, Peking University

Responsibility in organization and project

  • Member of Global Team, Catalogue of Life (CoL)
  • Asia Representatives of Executive Committee, TDWG
  • Member and Deputy Secretary-General, Chinese National Committee of DIVERSITAS (CNC-DIVERSITAS)
  • Member of China Committee, International Council for Science (ICSU)
  • Member and Deputy Secretary-General, Biodiversity Committee, Chinese Academy of Sciences (BC-CAS)
  • Leader of IT Group, Species 2000 China Node (CoL-CHINA)
  • Leader of Species Diversity Information Platform, CAS Key Programme

Research Interests

Major research field is biodiversity informatics, focused on key technique and methodology of collection, processing, publishing and sharing of biodiversity data and information, developing the methods and software tools for biodiversity assessment, planning, designing and implementing biodiversity information system and database.

Vision statement for the position

  • Introduce the TDWG’s standards to colleagues of biodiversity informatics from Asia and recommend them to apply these standards in local system;
  • Engage local scientists, especially young scientists in the activities of TDWG;
  • Have the responsibility to represent the interests of TDWG members from Asia on the Executive Committee;
  • Have the responsibility to represent the interests of colleagues in biodiversity informatics from Asia in TDWG.
  • Represent TDWG in appropriate meetings and other activities;

North America representative - Holly Little

Dept of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC


As the Informatics Specialist for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Paleobiology, I am responsible for all aspects of our digital collections, from designing and managing digitization projects to long term preservation and stewardship of our data. This work requires me to maintain a core focus of designing extensible and replicable methods integrated with and based upon the standards of the global community, but adapted to local needs.

In addition, I am a member of community efforts including Darwin Core Hour, Data Carpentries, the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC), multiple National Science Foundation Advancing the Digitization of Biological Collections program Thematic Collections Networks, Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation (CS3DP), TDWG Paleo Interest Group and Collections Description Interest Group, the iDigBio Paleo Digitization Working Group, and a number of collaborative projects spanning institutional boundaries across North America and the globe.

My current research is focused on evaluating the landscape of data sharing practices in the paleo community through analysis of occurrence records and datasets in GBIF. I participate in and facilitate discussion on best practices for use of established standards for fossil occurrence data and on development of new terms, vocabularies, and additional tools that may be needed.


It is vital that TDWG actively engage with the individuals, projects, and institutions that utilize and contribute to the standards, best practices, and tools developed and maintained by TDWG. The North American Representative acts as a facilitator of that effort. I look forward to the opportunity to bring TDWG to the community and to bring the community to TDWG. In this role, I will highlight discussions of discipline specific and broader biodiversity community needs, and work towards implementation of TDWG standards and tools across the many projects and initiatives in North America.

A great example of this effort was a workshop I co-convened, at the SPNHC 2017 meeting titled “Biodiversity Informatics 101”. Through community engagement and education we sought to sow the seeds of a grassroots effort to bridge collections community practitioners and standards developers into the same conversation and to provide an opportunity for common knowledge and language, encouraging participation in this work. With these efforts (e.g., workshops, webinars, reaching out to engage in discipline and community discussions), we can engage practitioners, along with members of the community affected by the work of the practitioners or that provide the building blocks from which biodiversity informatics develops.

My experience within the community and engagement in efforts to establish an environment of collaboration and understanding sits within an important intersection of projects and people. As the North America Representative, I will bring new people into TDWG by informing the relevance that they have for TDWG and that TDWG has for them. I will also help to encourage continued progress and innovation for TDWG that remains engaged with, and informed of, the local implementation of our global efforts.