NICHOLAS KING, Director, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL. IT needs in Taxonomy for Biodiversity Research in Developing Countries.

BioNET-INTERNATIONAL is the global network for capacity building in taxonomy. The global network is comprised of regional LOOPs (Locally Organised and Operated Partnerships) of developing country individuals and institutions. A recent IT Needs Assessment of these regional LOOPs was commissioned. This paper describes the results of this evaluation and the recommendations for action.

Taxonomists generally produce outputs in formats based on taxa. This is mostly of little use to users (other than taxonomists) such as quarantine officers, conservation officials, etc who require a cross-section of data. The key issue is the 'conversion/interpretation' from standard technical/scientific taxonomy worthy of academic recognition, to user-friendly outputs at the level and scale (local) of the broad range of 'general' users eg. field guides, red data books, quarantine, invasive species and CITES checklists;
Such outputs are often inaccessible to developing countries via the medium used (eg. hardcopy journals which are too expensive), formats used (incompatible and taxa-based (as above)), and language (ie not in a local language for field workers).
A lack of infrastructure in terms of both facilities (buildings, cabinets, libraries, etc) and collections;
A lack of trained taxonomists at all levels from technician to specialist level;
A lack of funding.

Recommendations for action:
Promote mechanisms for capturing existing non-electronic data/collections information such as a generic database;
Evaluate and recommend taxonomic data exchangability standards, such as those of TDWG (Taxonomic Data Working Group);
Evaluate and recommend an Internet-based mechanism/s for information collation and exchange, such as provided by EcoPort; there must be a mechanism in place (e.g. periodic CD-ROM production of the shared database) to prevent those users without access to the Web being left too far behind;
Evaluate and recommend new technologies development for 'virtual' collections which can assist capacity building and accessibility to information;
Assist in providing the "building blocks" with appropriate training, e.g. assisting with provision of tools for developing-country taxonomists to develop their own digital ID keys for local users;
Development of Internet based training.

BioNET-INTERNATIONAL, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey TW20 9TY, UK, T: +44 1491 829036/7/8, F: +44 1491 829082/100, e: bionet@bionet-intl.org; nking@bionet-intl.org, http://www.bionet-intl.org





NICHOLAS KING, Director, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL. BioNET-INTERNATIONAL - overcoming the taxonomic impediment to biodiversity research. 

BioNET-INTERNATIONAL is the global network for capacity building in taxonomy for sustainable development. Taxonomy is the basis of all biology, and thus of all biodiversity research. Without taxonomy, no knowledge is available on living organisms - and if you don't know what you have, you cannot determine what the research and management options are. Adequate local capacity is imperative for biodiversity research, inventories and conservation. The global network is comprised of regional LOOPs (Locally Organised and Operated Partnerships) of developing country institutions, supported by a consortium of developed country institutions. Its purpose, through facilitating South-South cooperation and North-South partnerships for institutional strengthening and human resource development, is to enable developing countries to achieve self-reliance in taxonomy. Specifically, such taxonomic capcity building is focussed on supporting regional and national programmes for sustainable agricultural development and use of natural resources, and conservation of biodiversity, including full implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Currently seven LOOPs exist, with a further seven either planned or already under development.

BioNET-INTERNATIONAL, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey TW20 9TY, UK, T: +44 1491 829036/7/8, F: +44 1491 829082/100, e: bionet@bionet-intl.org; nking@bionet-intl.org, http://www.bionet-intl.org




Marcos SILVA. The role of the Clearing-house Mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the implementation and development of the Global Taxonomy Initiative. 

The Clearing-house Mechanism (CHM), having completed its information exchange phase, can now focus on the promotion of scientific and technical cooperation. Working with global programs such as the GTI and the Global Invasives Species Program (GISP), it is able to link partners to collaborate in the development of programs in support of capacity building, training of human resources, and interoperability of databases and information systems. In support of the above, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) during its sixth meeting in Montreal, recommended a coordinated approach for the development of a global taxonomic information infrastructure, as the major element of the GTI under the Convention's clearing-house mechanism. Indeed, this initiative can be easily linked to SBSTTA's other recommendation that the Executive Secretary explore further with the GISP the potential for the latter to be an international thematic focal point for the clearing house mechanism. Technically, the CHM can assist in the development of a distributed, interoperable network of taxonomic information. The CHM can also assist in the development of an interconnected human network of expertise in support of programs to eliminate the taxonomic impediment. 

Programme Officer, Clearing-house Mechanism, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme, 393 Saint-Jacques Street, Suite 300, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y 1N9, tel: (514) 287-7024, fax: (514) 288-6588, email: marcos.silva@biodiv.org, URL: http://www.biodiv.org/




A.K.SAANO. Natura 2000 - EU-network: tasks and perspectives in Finland.

1500 Natura 2000 areas cover approx. 4.8 million ha, i.e. about 12% of the territory. For 97% the network consists of areas defined by earlier, national nature protection programs. Finland has particular responsibility for the boreal habitats along the slowly raising sea shore of the Bothnic Gulf, habitats at lakes, rivers and brooks, natural forests and mires. The degree of protection per habitat is going to vary from a few percent up to 50%. Natura 2000 network is crucial for the protection of certain threatened species. Meadowlands and pasturelands are home to many of them. However, preservation of agricultural heritage habitats pose specific problems to modern state authorities as the habitats are not maintained anymore by their private owners. The methodology of follow-up of habitat and species protection in the Natura 2000 network is under development. 

Metsahallitus, Natural Heritage Services, P.O.Box 94, 01301 Vantaa, Finland, Phone +358205644274, Fax +358205644350, E-mail aimo.saano@metsa.fi





Sandrine A. ULENBERG1 & Yde de JONG2. Fauna Europaea - New advances in taxonomic indexing. 

The Fauna Europaea Project will assemble a comprehensive, validated index of all-European land and fresh-water animals. Leading experts in taxonomy will provide information on scientific and common names, and the distribution of all species currently known in Europe. In the database, the taxonomic information will be augmented with information on relevant legislation and pest or endangered status. Links will provide access to sources of further information such as on ecology and genetics. As an EU Thematic Network the Fauna Europaea database plans to provide an overview of the current knowledge of our species, pinpointing the areas in which knowledge is lacking, and to provide a gateway for further scientific research.
In close collaboration with other global and European taxonomic database initiatives (e.g. Euro+Med PlantBase, ERMS, Species 2000, GBIF) the Fauna Europaea index is planned to function as an electronic gateway to provide access to, and link, various biological information systems to permit the integrated search of biological data. 

1Zoologisch Museum, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Plantage Middenlaan 64, 1018 DH Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Phone +31.20.525.6243, Fax +31.20.525.6528, E-mail ulenberg@science.uva.nl

2idem, Mauritskade 61, 1092 AD Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Phone +31.20.525.7191, Fax +31.20.525.7238, email yjong@science.uva.nl, http://www.faunaeur.org






Research Facilities for Promoting Primate Molecular Biology (proposal of the collaborative research)

1.Availability of materials
We have a collection of primate samples well preserved for molecular biology studies that includes over 100 different primate species. In addition lymphoblastoid or fibroblastoid cell lines of different primate species are available as well as complete laboratory facilities.

2. Collection units
Tissues, cell lines, DNA samples, molecular markers and DNA sequences from a wide range of primate species.

3. Research field
In the present post-genomic era in which sequencing of full genomes is fully exploded, research will need to focus on evolutionary and functional aspects of genes. However, functional and evolutionary interpretation of genes is hindered by the taxonomic gap that exists between the genomes of humans and animal models that are well studied. We are interested in filling this gap by promoting the use of primate material in molecular biology and contributing to comparative molecular studies in primates. The final purpose of the project includes support to biomedical research as well as provision of molecular tools and information that will help in the understanding and conservation of wild primate populations. Another goal is to potentiate the role of collections and collecting institutions in this higly dynamic academic and commercial field.

4. Goal of proposed research
The aim of the proposal is to establish the necessary research infrastructure for promoting the use of primates in molecular biology research. Particular objectives include (i) to provide the scientific community and other interested parties with a phylogenetically broad collection of tissues representing all primate infraorders, and (ii) to create, potentiate, organise and document collections of primate samples, genetic derivatives from these samples and primate-specific molecular biology tools.

Martinez-Arias R, Comas D, Andres A, Abello MT, Domingo-Roura X, Bertranpetit J. 2000. The tyrosinase gene in gorillas and the albinism of "Snowflake". Pigment Cell Research 13: 467-470

Domingo-Roura X, Lopez-Giraldez T, Shinohara M, Takenaka O. 1997. Hypervariable microsatellite loci in the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) conserved in related species. American Journal of Primatology 43: 357-360.

Zischler H. 2000. Nuclear integrations of mitochondrial DNA in primates: Inferences of associated mutational events. Electrophoresis 21: 531-536.

Zischler H, Geisert H, Castresana JA. 1998. Hominoid-specific nuclear insertion of the mitochondrial D-loop: Implications for reconstructing ancestral mitochondrial sequences. Molecular Biology and Evolution 15: 463-469.

Horvath JE, Viggiano L, Loftus BJ, Adams MD, Archidiacono N, Rocchi M, Eichler. 2000. Molecular structure and evolution of an alpha-satellite junction at 16p11. Human Molecular Genetics 9: 113-123.

Eichler EE, Archidiacono N, Rocchi M. 1999. CAGGG repeats and the pericentromeric duplication of the hominoid genome. Genome Research 9: 1048-1058.

5.Equipment and time frame 
We have the equipment to develop the majority of molecular biology techniques commonly used in molecular ecology, conservation biology and biomedical research. Laboratories are in Spain, Germany and Italy. We plan to submit a proposal for financial support to the European Commission in October 2001 under the programme Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources, Support for Research Infrastructures. In case of approval of the project, 36 months will be devoted to it.

6.Target donors
We are looking for (i) institutions with primate and mammalian collections, (ii) institutions interested in developing collections and databases useful for molecular biology studies, (iii) research institutions interested in primatology, and (iv) biotechnology companies interested in the development of products based on the molecular biology of primates.

1Unitat de Biologia Evolutiva, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Dr. Aiguader 80, 08003 Barcelona, Spain, Phone + 34935422843, Fax +34935422802, E-mail xavier.domingo@cexs.upf.es

2Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, U.K

3AG Primatengenetik, Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Goettingen, Germany

4Dipartimento di Anatomia Patologica e di Genetica, Sezione di Genetica, University of Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, Bari, Italy.




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