Biological Interactions Data

interest group
Image by Boris Smokrovic


Antonio Mauro Saraiva
Full Professor, Universidade de São Paulo, Escola Politécnica
Research Center on Biodiversity and Computing - BioComp. USP
Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, travessa 3, nº 158, sala C2-56, São Paulo, Brazil

Jen Hammock
Project Manager, Encyclopedia of Life, Smithsonian
National Museum of Natural History, MRC #106
10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20560, USA

Core members

Name Affiliation
Anne Thessen  Oregon State University
Annie Simpson  U.S. Geological Survey
Antonio Mauro Saraiva  Universidade de São Paulo
Chris Mungall  Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
Dmitry Schigel  GBIF Secretariat
Ely Wallis Atlas of Living Australia
Francisco Pando  Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC
Jennifer Hammock  Encyclopedia of Life, Smithsonian Institution
John Wieczorek  University of California, Berkeley
Jorrit Poelen  Global Biotic Interactions
José Augusto Salim  Universidade de São Paulo
Juliana Saragiotto Silva  Instituto Federal de Mato Grosso
Katja Schulz Smithsonian Institution
Lydia Buntrock (last: Institute of Molecular Parasitology, HU Berlin)
Prabha Prabhakar Strand Life Sciences
Quentin Groom  Meise Botanic Garden
Remy Jomier  Service du Patrimoine Naturel
Willem Coetzer  South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity


Scientists use a variety of methods to collect, record, and store biological interaction data, that include predator-prey, parasite-host, pollinator-plant, among others. Uses for those data are equally diverse, as they are collected primarily to answer different scientific questions. Biological interaction data can be very important in other situations and domains. For example, they could play an important role in building decision support systems for conservation and sustainable use in agriculture.

Despite of their importance, a very limited amount of biological interaction data is available online, especially if compared to the amount of data registers available on occurrence data portals, which have been boosted by the development and adoption of a data standard, the Darwin Core. Numerous efforts are underway to aggregate, organize, and efficiently disseminate biological interaction data. However, we lack a formal data standard to support that work.

Therefore, in this Interest Group we want to discuss, formalize and develop a common background to help standardize biological interaction data in the Biodiversity Informatics community, avoiding duplication of efforts, sharing knowledge and solutions. Our final aim is to promote digitization, sharing, aggregation and, ultimately, a wide use of biological interaction data.

Becoming involved

During the 2016 TDWG Conference, in Santa Clara de San Carlos, Costa Rica, a group of people has gathered to start discussing this issue under the TDWG umbrella. We, now, propose the creation of an Interest Group on Biological Data Interactions where this topic can be discussed within the broader biodiversity informatics community. All interested parties are encouraged to become involved with the Interest Group or specific Task Groups it may convene in the future. Membership of the group is open. If you work with biological interaction data at any level, whether digitization, publication, aggregation or analysis, and you would like to be able to universally share and benefit from all advantages which a data standard can provide, you are welcome to join the Biological Interaction Data Interest Group.

Please contact the convenors or any core member about how to become involved.

The TDWG process requires that any new Task Group be launched through an Interest Group. The Biological Interaction Data Interest Group can facilitate establishment of new Task Groups that relate to this topic. Please contact the convenor to discuss potential projects or join existing Task Groups.