Recommended change to NGDA Biota Theme Name

At their April 2016 meeting the FGDC Steering Committee agreed verbally to the proposal to change the name of the Biota Theme to Biodiversity and Ecosystems Theme. This follows presentations that were made at the December Coordination Group and January NGDA Theme Lead meetings.

The change request was initiated by Roger Sayre, PhD, who is the Senior Scientist for Ecosystems, USGS Land Change Science Program; the GEO Task Lead; and the NGDA dataset manager for Terrestrial Ecosystems of the Conterminous United States. The proposed name will better reflect the content of the theme, as well as align 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.

Following the presentation in January the proposal was circulated to the Coordination Group, Theme Leads, and Biota dataset managers for comment and consensus. All the feedback received to date has been positive. A vote by the Coordination Group on their recommendation for Steering Committee endorsement is currently underway. Next step will be a vote by the Steering Committee that will include concurrence by OMB, as FGDC Vice Chair.

Operationally, the change will require dataset managers to change the word “Biota” to the term “Biodiversity and Ecosystems” where it appears in metadata and other documentation and references where applicable so that the change will be carried through consistently. The change will also need to be reflected in multiple places, such as the, FGDC annual reports, communications materials, FGDC Web site, NGDA tools and reports. This also includes the current list of 16 NGDAs in OMB Circular A-16, Appendix E: “NSDI Data Themes, Definitions, and Lead Agencies”.

For more information, contact:

Marcia McNiff
Biota Theme Lead

Brigitta Urban-Mathieux
NGDA Coordinator