IRBAS: An online database to collate, analyze, and synthesize data on the biodiversity and ecology of intermittent rivers worldwide
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Key questions dominating contemporary ecological research and management concern interactions between biodiversity, ecosystem processes, and ecosystem services provision in the face of global change. This is particularly salient for freshwater biodiversity and in the context of river drying and flow-regime change. Rivers that stop flowing and dry, herein intermittent rivers, are globally prevalent and dynamic ecosystems on which the body of research is expanding rapidly, consistent with the era of big data. However, the data encapsulated by this work remain largely fragmented, limiting our ability to answer the key questions beyond a case-by-case basis. To this end, the Intermittent River Biodiversity Analysis and Synthesis (IRBAS; http://irbas.cesab.org) project has collated, analyzed, and synthesized data from across the world on the biodiversity and environmental characteristics of intermittent rivers. The IRBAS database integrates and provides free access to these data, contributing to the growing, and global, knowledge base on these ubiquitous and important river systems, for both theoretical and applied advancement. The IRBAS database currently houses over 2000 data samples collected from six countries across three continents, primarily describing aquatic invertebrate taxa inhabiting intermittent rivers during flowing hydrological phases. As such, there is room to expand the biogeographic and taxonomic coverage, for example, through addition of data collected during nonflowing and dry hydrological phases. We encourage contributions and provide guidance on how to contribute and access data. Ultimately, the IRBAS database serves as a portal, storage, standardization, and discovery tool, enabling collation, synthesis, and analysis of data to elucidate patterns in river biodiversity and guide management. Contribution creates high visibility for datasets, facilitating collaboration. The IRBAS database will grow in content as the study of intermittent rivers continues and data retrieval will allow for networking, meta-analyses, and testing of generalizations across multiple systems, regions, and taxa.
Ecology and Evolution
© 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ecology not elsewhere classified