DRAFT Biotic Survey & Inventory Guidelines

lkrishta at NSF.GOV lkrishta at NSF.GOV
Thu Aug 19 15:58:00 CDT 1993

     Following are the DRAFT guidelines governing proposals to NSF's
     Biotic Survey and Inventory Program (BIO Directorate, Division of
     Environmental Biology).  The deadline for proposals is October
     15, 1993.

     L. Krishtalka
     Program Director
     Long Term Projects in Environmental Biology
     202/357-3978 (phone)
     202/357-1191 (fax)



                    Program Guidelines

                    Deadline for submission: October 15




          The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB), National
     Science Foundation,  has established the Biotic Survey and
     Inventory Program as part of its commitment to studying and
     understanding biological diversity.  The goal of the Program is
     to foster an assessment, comprehension and record of the
     diversity of life on earth, past and present.   A better
     understanding of biodiversity is essential for research in many
     other fields, such as systematic and population biology, ecology,
     conservation, anthropology, economics and resource management.

          The Program will  host an annual Biotic Survey and Inventory
     competition to support a wide range of research activities that
     contribute to our knowledge of biological diversity.   These
     activities include: collecting organisms as samples of
     populations and species; conducting surveys of the taxa of a
     region, and inventories of existing collections; producing
     species lists, catalogs, identification manuals and/or keys; and
     developing databases of the specimens and taxa for use in later

          The deadline for submission of proposals is October 15.
     Proposals for Biotic Surveys and Inventories should be prepared
     according to the guidelines presented in "Grants for Research and
     Education in Science and Engineering" (NSF 92-89).  Specific
     program guidelines are provided below.  These proposals will
     undergo merit review, which includes evaluation by a Biotic
     Survey and Inventory Advisory Panel that meets annually in
     January or February.

          Questions regarding this and other Program matters can be
     directed to:

          Biotic Survey and Inventory Program
          Room 215
          1800 G Street, N.W.
          Washington, DC 20550
          Phone: 202/357-3978     Fax: 202/357-1191
          email: lkrishta at nsf.gov

           Guidelines For Biotic Survey and Inventory Proposals

          Proposals submitted to the Biotic Survey and Inventory
     Program may involve collecting expeditions or inventories of
     existing collections, which may result in the production of
     catalogs, databases, biotic inventories, identification manuals,
     and/or taxonomic keys. Proposals that involve database activities
     will typically be more competitive, insofar as they permit more
     efficient maintenance and revision of the products of  the
     research and foster interaction with other disciplines, such as
     geography or ecology.   Survey activities in a developing country
     should involve scientists and/or students of the host country and
     contribute to the biodiversity infrastructure of that country.

     The following characteristics will serve as criteria for
     merit review.

      Taxonomic Breadth.  Surveys involving new collections or
      inventories of existing collections should sample a diversity
      of taxa rather than a limited group of closely related taxa. In
      general, broadly based surveys will be more competitive than
      narrowly constrained studies.  Therefore, proposals should:
      specify the range of taxonomic groups to be sampled in the
      region of interest;  justify this breadth of sampling; and
      estimate the number of new taxa likely to be discovered.  The
      current state of taxonomy of the various groups should be
      described, along with plans for describing new taxa or
      producing taxonomic revisions.  Collections or other resources
      currently available must be indicated, as they will constitute
      the proposal's "preliminary data" , which reviewers will use in
      evaluating the need for additional collecting.

      Scale.  The geographic and logistic scale of surveys is
      typically beyond that of most non-survey efforts.
      Investigators should justify the need for a dedicated
      collecting or inventorying effort on the geographic and
      logistic scale being proposed and  discuss other ongoing biotic
      surveys that include this region.  Also, levels of diversity in
      the region need to be addressed. The proposal should describe
      the state of existing collections and inventories and why these
      are inadequate for pursuing the problems being considered.

      Urgency.   In some cases, an immediate and intensive
      collecting or inventorying effort is required.  If
      appropriate, proposals should indicate the reasons for
      urgency. Examples would be efforts to survey disappearing
      habitats or localities, sample the effects of rare historical
      events or take advantage of unique collecting opportunities.
      Justifications involving endangered habitats or vanishing
      resources should make specific reference to the planned
      collection sites and to the sampling strategy, not simply to
      the broad region.

      Project Management Plan.  Survey proposals must include a plan
      for making and curating new collections and/or databases, and
     for producing the research results.  Therefore, the investigator
      should describe the plan for collecting, documenting, curating,
      distributing, and studying the surveyed material, for assessing
      the completeness of the survey or inventory, and for producing a
      catalog, computer database, manual, flora or fauna, or taxonomic
      key, including an approximate timetable.  The description should
      include estimates of the number of sites to be sampled or
      collections to be inventoried, the volume of material to be
      collected or inventoried, and the data to be recorded at the
     time of the survey or inventory. The proposal should specify the
      repository for new collections, and describe the means by which
      they will be made available to the research community, such as
      public notice, formal publication, or computer database.  The
      description of database activities should include the hardware
      and software specifications and the access to the resultant data
      sets.  For new collections, investigators are strongly
     encouraged to make use of GPS (geographic positioning systems) to
     record locality data and to consider development of computer
     databases and implementation on a Geographic Information System

      For surveys in foreign countries, a clear statement should be
      included that indicates how scientists and/or students from the
      host country will be involved in the project and what
      arrangements have been made for housing specimens.
      Documentation that the necessary collecting permits have been
      obtained will be required prior to an award.  If the proposed
      survey or inventory involves a significant component related to
      the study and/or conservation of biodiversity in one or more
      U.S.A.I.D. host countries, the proposal may be submitted under
      the joint NSF-A.I.D. program for support of biodiversity in
      developing countries (see NSF publication 92xx).

      Conceptual Issues.    In keeping with NSF's criteria of
      intrinsic merit and utility or relevance, biotic surveys and
      inventories should have a scientific rationale.  The most
      viable collections are based on conceptual issues, which
      provide the scientific justification for the survey and
      inventory. Therefore, proposals must include a description of
      the conceptual basis of the project, i. e., the scientific
      application or potential dividends of the collecting or
      inventorying effort.  This description typically will be less
      detailed in survey than in non-survey proposals.

      Ostensibly, all survey projects lead to a better description,
      record and understanding of poorly known groups and geographic
      regions, so this cannot be the sole justification for a survey
      or inventory. Consequently, projects that provide concrete
      plans or direction for future research based on the new
      collections or inventories will be more competitive in the
      review process.  Specifically, for example, the investigator
      should establish whether the collected material will allow
      resolution of phylogenetic relationships of taxa, whether other
      data can be captured from the specimens, whether explicit tests
      can be made of hypotheses about evolutionary processes,
      biogeography, paleoclimatology, or extinctions, or whether
      research will be stimulated outside of systematics, for
      example, in partnership with ecologists, anthropologists,
      geologists, conservationists, sociologists, or economists.

      Also,  the proposed survey or inventory may include a value-
      added component(s), such as different levels of pattern
      analysis or activities that focus on other biological processes
      and/or human dimensions. Projects with meritorious value-added
      components will fare better in the competition.

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