Nico’s research lies at the interface of biodiversity science and informatics. She aims at more effectively bridging the synergies of plant systematics, evolution, biogeography, and informatics in innovative ways. Nico has been involved with selected aspects of the PhyloCode development, including the development of RegNum, which is the public repository of clade names and phylogenetic definitions. This has given her the opportunity to explore in depth a tree-thinking approach to nomenclature.
Hilmar has been at the intersection of biology, computer science, and informatics since high school. He cares deeply about making software, data, and other scientific products reusable, reproducible, and interoperable, in particular for the long tail of small science. For the past 10 years, his research has focused on availing the vast amount of descriptive biodiversity data to computational data science, in particular through the Phenoscape project, where he is co-PI.
Gaurav thinks scientific names are the coolest things ever, not just because of their central role in biodiversity data integration but also because of their history as imperfect identifiers created over three centuries by taxonomists from around the world. He’s spent the last five years as a graduate student at CU Boulder developing techniques and measures to quantify taxonomic stability. He enjoys using his programming skills to make life easier for biodiversity researchers, which is why this project -- with software-building, name-defining and data-integrating components -- is such a perfect fit for him.
For his doctoral research at UC Riverside, Guanyang studied assassin bugs, which are “mean” and ferocious insects that kill and eat other insects. He then pursued postdoctoral research at the Arizona State University, where he studied weevils. During that time, he also started working on aspects of biodiversity informatics including ontology and concept taxonomy. The latter is an approach to make computers “understand” taxonomy, something that Nico Franz, Guanyang’s former advisor, has developed extensively. On the phyloreferencing project, Guanyang will be providing conceptual input, curating data, and testing use cases. (Fun fact: Guanyang and Gaurav both did their undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore and they even worked in the same lab and on the same project, back in 2006,07.)