[Taxacom] GBIF updating

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Fri Aug 22 21:19:18 CDT 2014

Makes me wonder if it is really that these databases are all "at sea", and
essentially endangered, probably drowning.

OK, horrible humor I know.

John Grehan

On Sat, Aug 23, 2014 at 1:56 PM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>

> If you search today (23 August 2014) for 'Tasmanipatus anophthalmus' and
> 'Tasmanipatus barretti' in GBIF you'll learn that they're velvet worms and
> that their habitat is (quote) Not marine (unquote). On the same species
> page, the map shows one record for each in the ocean, about 150 km west of
> Tasmania.
> I know both records well, since I was the collector for the first and
> co-collector for the second. The specimens were deposited in the Australian
> Museum. The Museum entered the label data in its database. Later the Museum
> uploaded its records to OZCAM (Online Zoological Collections of Australian
> Museums), which pushed them to ALA (Atlas of Living Australia), which sent
> them to GBIF. Somewhere along this pipeline 148 degrees longitude became
> 143 degrees and put the velvet worms in the ocean.
> I discovered the error in May 2013 and pointed it out to an ALA staffer.
> He found out for me that range-based outlier checks were only being done at
> ALA for terrestrial records, and these two records were marine.
> Expert-vetted distributions for other outlier tests were only available for
> fish and birds. He flagged the record in ALA, which meant that an email
> went to the Australian Museum querying the occurrence data.
> The Museum contacted me the same month. I corrected the records (and some
> others) for the Museum.
> In January 2014 I checked ALA. The two records had been fixed (although
> there two new, strange problems with the data and access to it). I have no
> idea how often GBIF 'synchronises' data with ALA, but 15 months after I
> notified their upstream provider about the location error, the velvet worms
> are still at sea. One of the species is IUCN Red-Listed as 'endangered',
> probably drowning.
> --
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
> School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania
> Home contact:
> PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
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