Remsen David P.

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David P.

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  • Article
    Taxonomic indexing—extending the role of taxonomy
    (Taylor & Francis, 2006-06) Patterson, David J. ; Remsen, David P. ; Marino, William A. ; Norton, Cathy N.
    Taxonomic indexing refers to a new array of taxonomically intelligent network services that use nomenclatural principles and elements of expert taxonomic knowledge to manage information about organisms. Taxonomic indexing was introduced to help manage the increasing amounts of digital information about biology. It has been designed to form a near basal layer in a layered cyberinfrastructure that deals with biological information. Taxonomic Indexing accommodates the special problems of using names of organisms to index biological material. It links alternative names for the same entity (reconciliation), and distinguishes between uses of the same name for different entities (disambiguation), and names are placed within an indefinite number of hierarchical schemes. In order to access all information on all organisms, Taxonomic indexing must be able to call on a registry of all names in all forms for all organisms. NameBank has been developed to meet that need. Taxonomic indexing is an area of informatics that overlaps with taxonomy, is dependent on the expert input of taxonomists, and reveals the relevance of the discipline to a wide audience.
  • Article
    UAS-SfM for coastal research : geomorphic feature extraction and land cover classification from high-resolution elevation and optical imagery
    (MDPI AG, 2017-10-03) Sturdivant, Emily ; Lentz, Erika E. ; Thieler, E. Robert ; Farris, Amy S. ; Weber, Kathryn M. ; Remsen, David P. ; Miner, Simon ; Henderson, Rachel E.
    The vulnerability of coastal systems to hazards such as storms and sea-level rise is typically characterized using a combination of ground and manned airborne systems that have limited spatial or temporal scales. Structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry applied to imagery acquired by unmanned aerial systems (UAS) offers a rapid and inexpensive means to produce high-resolution topographic and visual reflectance datasets that rival existing lidar and imagery standards. Here, we use SfM to produce an elevation point cloud, an orthomosaic, and a digital elevation model (DEM) from data collected by UAS at a beach and wetland site in Massachusetts, USA. We apply existing methods to (a) determine the position of shorelines and foredunes using a feature extraction routine developed for lidar point clouds and (b) map land cover from the rasterized surfaces using a supervised classification routine. In both analyses, we experimentally vary the input datasets to understand the benefits and limitations of UAS-SfM for coastal vulnerability assessment. We find that (a) geomorphic features are extracted from the SfM point cloud with near-continuous coverage and sub-meter precision, better than was possible from a recent lidar dataset covering the same area; and (b) land cover classification is greatly improved by including topographic data with visual reflectance, but changes to resolution (when <50 cm) have little influence on the classification accuracy.
  • Preprint
    Transient coastal landscapes : rising sea level threatens salt marshes
    ( 2018-05) Valiela, Ivan ; Lloret, Javier ; Bowyer, Tynan ; Miner, Simon ; Remsen, David P. ; Elmstrom, Elizabeth ; Cogswell, Charlotte ; Thieler, E. Robert
    Salt marshes are important coastal environments that provide key ecological services. As sea level rise has accelerated globally, concerns about the ability of salt marshes to survive submergence are increasing. Previous estimates of likely survival of salt marshes were based on ratios of sea level rise to marsh platform accretion. Here we took advantage of an unusual, long-term (1979-2015), spatially detailed comparison of changes in a representative New England salt marsh to provide an empirical estimate of habitat losses based on actual measurements. We show prominent changes in habitat mosaic within the marsh, consistent and coincident with increased submergence and coastal erosion. Model results suggest that at current rates of sea level rise, marsh platform accretion, habitat loss, and with the limitation of the widespread “coastal squeeze”, the entire ecosystem might disappear by the beginning of the next century, a fate that might be likely for many salt marshes elsewhere.
  • Article
    Scientific names of organisms : attribution, rights, and licensing
    (BioMed Central, 2014-02-04) Patterson, David J. ; Egloff, Willi ; Agosti, Donat ; Eades, David ; Franz, Nico ; Hagedorn, Gregor ; Rees, Jonathan A. ; Remsen, David P.
    As biological disciplines extend into the ‘big data’ world, they will need a names-based infrastructure to index and interconnect distributed data. The infrastructure must have access to all names of all organisms if it is to manage all information. Those who compile lists of species hold different views as to the intellectual property rights that apply to the lists. This creates uncertainty that impedes the development of a much-needed infrastructure for sharing biological data in the digital world. The laws in the United States of America and European Union are consistent with the position that scientific names of organisms and their compilation in checklists, classifications or taxonomic revisions are not subject to copyright. Compilations of names, such as classifications or checklists, are not creative in the sense of copyright law. Many content providers desire credit for their efforts. A ‘blue list’ identifies elements of checklists, classifications and monographs to which intellectual property rights do not apply. To promote sharing, authors of taxonomic content, compilers, intermediaries, and aggregators should receive citable recognition for their contributions, with the greatest recognition being given to the originating authors. Mechanisms for achieving this are discussed.
  • Article
    The use and limits of scientific names in biological informatics
    (Pensoft Publishers, 2016-01-07) Remsen, David P.
    Scientific names serve to label biodiversity information: information related to species. Names, and their underlying taxonomic definitions, however, are unstable and ambiguous. This negatively impacts the utility of names as identifiers and as effective indexing tools in biological informatics where names are commonly utilized for searching, retrieving and integrating information about species. Semiotics provides a general model for describing the relationship between taxon names and taxon concepts. It distinguishes syntactics, which governs relationships among names, from semantics, which represents the relations between those labels and the taxa to which they refer. In the semiotic context, changes in semantics (i.e., taxonomic circumscription) do not consistently result in a corresponding and reflective change in syntax. Further, when syntactic changes do occur, they may be in response to semantic changes or in response to syntactic rules. This lack of consistency in the cardinal relationship between names and taxa places limits on how scientific names may be used in biological informatics in initially anchoring, and in the subsequent retrieval and integration, of relevant biodiversity information. Precision and recall are two measures of relevance. In biological taxonomy, recall is negatively impacted by changes or ambiguity in syntax while precision is negatively impacted when there are changes or ambiguity in semantics. Because changes in syntax are not correlated with changes in semantics, scientific names may be used, singly or conflated into synonymous sets, to improve recall in pattern recognition or search and retrieval. Names cannot be used, however, to improve precision. This is because changes in syntax do not uniquely identify changes in circumscription. These observations place limits on the utility of scientific names within biological informatics applications that rely on names as identifiers for taxa. Taxonomic systems and services used to organize and integrate information about taxa must accommodate the inherent semantic ambiguity of scientific names. The capture and articulation of circumscription differences (i.e., multiple taxon concepts) within such systems must be accompanied with distinct concept identifiers that can be employed in association with, or in replacement of, traditional scientific names.
  • Preprint
    Names are key to the big new biology
    ( 2010-09-20) Patterson, David J. ; Cooper, J. ; Kirk, Paul M. ; Pyle, R. L. ; Remsen, David P.
    Those who seek answers to big, broad questions about biology, especially questions emphasizing the organism (taxonomy, evolution, ecology), will soon benefit from an emerging names-based infrastructure. It will draw on the almost universal association of organism names with biological information to index and interconnect information distributed across the Internet. The result will be a virtual data commons, expanding as further data are shared, allowing biology to become more of a “big science”. Informatics devices will exploit this ‘big new biology’, revitalizing comparative biology with a broad perspective to reveal previously inaccessible trends and discontinuities, so helping us to reveal unfamiliar biological truths. Here, we review the first components of this freely available, participatory, and semantic Global Names Architecture.
  • Article
    uBioRSS : tracking taxonomic literature using RSS
    (Oxford University Press, 2007-03-28) Leary, Patrick R. ; Remsen, David P. ; Norton, Cathy N. ; Patterson, David J. ; Sarkar, Indra Neil
    Web content syndication through standard formats such as RSS and ATOM has become an increasingly popular mechanism for publishers, news sources, and blogs to disseminate regularly updated content. These standardized syndication formats deliver content directly to the subscriber, allowing them to locally aggregate content from a variety of sources instead of having to find the information on multiple websites. The uBioRSS application is a "taxonomically intelligent" service customized for the biological sciences. It aggregates syndicated content from academic publishers and science news feeds, then uses a taxonomic name entity recognition algorithm to identify and index taxonomic names within those data streams. The resulting name index is cross-referenced to current global taxonomic datasets to provide context for browsing the publications by taxonomic group. This process, called taxonomic indexing, draws upon services developed specifically for biological sciences, collectively referred to as "taxonomic intelligence." Such value-added enhancements can provide biologists with accelerated and improved access to current biological content.
  • Article
    Taxonomic informatics tools for the electronic nomenclator zoologicus
    (Marine Biological Laboratory, 2006-02) Remsen, David P. ; Norton, Cathy N. ; Patterson, David J.
    Given the current trends, it seems inevitable that all biological documents will eventually exist in a digital format and be distributed across the internet. New network services and tools need to be developed to increase retrieval rates for documents and to refine data recovery. Biological data have traditionally been well managed using taxonomic principles. As part of a larger initiative to build an array of names-based network services that emulate taxonomic principles for managing biological information, we undertook the digitization of a major taxonomic reference text, Nomenclator Zoologicus. The process involved replicating the text to a high level of fidelity, parsing the content for inclusion within a database, developing tools to enable expert input into the product, and integrating the metadata and factual content within taxonomic network services. The result is a high-quality and freely available web application ( capable of being exploited in an array of biological informatics services.