FGDC Announces the Updated A–16 NGDA Biodiversity and Ecosystems Theme Name

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Steering Committee approved the proposal to change the name of the A–16 National Geospatial Data Asset from the Biota Theme to Biodiversity and Ecosystems Theme at their June 16, 2016 meeting. This change also reflects significant support from across the community.  The Biodiversity and Ecosystems Theme name better reflects the content of the theme and aligns more closely with common terminology used by professionals and subject matter experts using the data. Benefits of the name change include improved clarity; improved accuracy of placement for datasets related to biota, biodiversity, and ecosystems; and increased interest in the theme datasets from broader communities.

The Biodiversity and Ecosystems Theme will continue to be led by the U.S. Geological Survey within the Department of the Interior. The datasets in the Theme pertain to, or describe, the dynamic processes, interactions, distributions, and relationships between and among organisms and their environments. This Theme represents one of the sixteen A–16 National Geospatial Data Asset Themes as outlined in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A–16.

Operationally, the name change will start to be seen throughout the A–16 community including the current list of 16 NGDAs in OMB Circular A-16, Appendix E: “NSDI Data Themes, Definitions, and Lead Agencies”.  NGDA Dataset Managers will change the word “Biota” to the term “Biodiversity and Ecosystems” where it appears in metadata and other documentation and references where applicable.  Additionally, the change will be reflected and carried through consistently in multiple places, such as the GeoPlatform.gov, FGDC annual reports, communications materials, FGDC Web site, NGDA tools and reports. For background on how this change came to be proposed, see http://www.fgdc.gov/fgdc-news/biota-theme-name-change.

For more information, contact:

Marcia McNiff
Biodiversity and Ecosystems Theme Lead


Jennifer Carlino
Acting NGDA Coordinator