CliMAS Biodiversity

Visualising biodiversity across Australia

Website

http://tropicaldatahub.org/goto/climas/biodiversity

Description

Biodiversity map of terrestrial Aves family Threskiornithidae in 2085 at "business-as-usual" emission levels.The CliMAS Biodiversity site provides users with access to projected species richness maps for Australian terrestrial vertebrate species under various climate change scenarios.

Currently there is a general lack of engagement and knowledge transfer between professional researchers and end-users of research (general public, conservation managers, decision-makers, etc.). This is reflected in a general lack of acceptance and acknowledgement by the public and stakeholders of the potential impacts of climate change, particularly on biodiversity.

Recently, researchers have begun to endeavour to make the results of their research public, however there are currently very few channels through which to communicate projected impacts on biodiversity.

The CliMAS Biodiversity site provides a tool that reuses data available with Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Tropical Data Hub to allow a broad range of end-users to explore the potential impacts of climate change on biodiversity of terrestrial vertebrate species in Australia.

Process

The project produces both current and future species richness maps for to the level of genus, family and class for each of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Users visiting the project website can browse maps of biodiversity and download data from the site or from the Tropical Data Hub.

The data is built from a set of current and future climate suitability maps for each species, generated by the CliMAS Suitability tool. All species distribution models within a genus, family, or class are summed to generate maps that display the gradient of species richness within that taxa.

The datasets represent species distributions based on occurrence records from ALA prior to November 2012.

Technology

The system consists of two main parts:

  • a back-end server that performs the modelling calculations - the code here consists of bash and R.
  • a front-end server that gives access to the information generated by the back-end server - the code here consists of PHP and uses
    • a PostgreSQL database for holding the species, genus, family, and taxa information,
    • the JavaScript Library, Leaflet, for the interactive maps, and
    • a MapServer instance for serving the maps generated by the modelling in the back-end server.

The source code can be obtained from http://github.com/jcu-eresearch/TDH-Tools. Documentation for using the code can be found in the repository's wiki pages. This code is for both the CliMAS Suitability and the CliMAS Biodiversity tools.

Rights

The source code is licensed under a BSD 3-Clause Software Licence.

Acknowledgements

This project is supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative, as well as through the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF).

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