Kyle Copas (GBIF)
Kyle Copas is a creative and communications professional whose work over the past two decades has focused on the intersection of sustainable design, conservation and biodiversity information. Copas joined GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility—as a science writer and now serves as communications manager, leading outreach and engagement with the GBIF network and its stakeholders while contributing to the ongoing development and improvement of GBIF.org. He previously served in several roles with NatureServe, a biodiversity conservation non-profit based outside Washington, D.C., and as communications director for the pioneering architecture and sustainable planning consultancy, William McDonough + Partners. Trained as a poet, writer and documentarian, Copas helped produce World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements, an award-winning film by Chris Farina and Rosalia Films. A long-time resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, he is a native of Lafayette, Indiana, and a graduate of Wabash College.
Dr Nathalie Pettorelli is a Senior Scientist at the Zoological Society of London, with a main research focus on global environmental change ecology. She is renown for her work on methods to assess, predict and mitigate the impacts of changes in environmental conditions on species and ecosystems, having authored/co-authored over 200 scientific peer-reviewed publications on this topic. Together with her students and colleagues, she was the first to present a satellite data driven framework for monitoring ecosystem functions globally and for quantitatively assessing ecosystems’ vulnerability to climate change, while significantly contributing to deepening our mechanistic understanding of biodiversity–ecosystem services relationships. She recently helped highlight the role of satellite remote sensing in structured ecosystem risk assessments; and provided one of the first examples of a national application of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. She is a senior editor for Journal of Applied Ecology and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, a subject editor for Ecography, and the Editor in Chief of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. She represents the UK on the Programmes Board of GEO, the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations. Dr Pettorelli co-founded Soapbox Science, a global science communication initiative now running events in >15 countries, including Tanzania.
Paul Kersey is Deputy Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Following a Ph.D. and post-doctoral work in the molecular biology and genetics of fission yeast, Paul has worked in bioinformatics since 1999. At the European Bioinformatics Institute, he managed several big data resources providing genomic information to the scientific community, especially databases for non-vertebrate species (including plants, fungi, and insects) as part of the Ensembl system. He has been involved in several large scale genome sequencing and annotation projects and has coordinated and contributed to activities focused on data standards and integration across the UK, Europe and globally. He was joint coordinator of the Plant Sciences community within the ELIXIR data infrastructure from 2015-2018. His research group is currently working on the simultaneous visualisation of data from many genomes, and he is heavily involved in two major genomics projects at Kew: PAFTOL (which aims to establish the evolutionary history of plants and fungi) and the Darwin Tree of Life (a major UK programme to determine the genomic sequence of all British species).
Dr. Eslpeth Haston has experience in taxonomic research, curation systems and digitisation. Her work has included the development of tools, processes and workflows to aid with curation in herbaria. Her current focus is on large-scale digitisation, including looking at integrating digitisation into curatorial and research processes. Dr. Elspeth Haston is leading a digitisation programme at the Royal Botanical Garden of Edinborough which has included the development of tools, processes and workflows for digitising herbarium specimens and related images and documents. The curation of herbarium specimens actively aids taxonomic and other research. She worked with David Harris, James Richardson, Peter Stevens and Mark Chase to produce the Linear Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (LAPG) II sequence of families as well as the updated version based on APG3. At RBGE, she was responsible for reorganising the herbarium at RBGE to follow the LAPG II family sequence as well as a more systematic arrangement of the non-angiosperm major groups. This was the first large herbarium to move to the APG system. Dr. Elspeth Haston carried out systematic research on the Peltophorum group (Leguminosae) based on molecular and morphological data. She has also undertaken research on floral development in the Gesneriaceae, with particular emphasis on the genera Saintpaulia and Streptocarpus.
Donat Agosti (Plazi)
Dr. Donat Agosti is president of Plazi, Berne, Switzerland. He is a cyber-biologist with a strong research background and commitment to let nature have a voice. He had research positions at the Natural History Museum London, University of Zurich, American Museum of Natural History New York and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Since 2008 he is founding president of Plazi, a Swiss NGO promoting open access to scientific results. In the 1990s he was involved in developing a biodiversity research program at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), initiating a widely used standard sampling protocol for ants to monitor biodiversity, and fostering open access to biodiversity data. This followed in 2002 by the creation of one of the first online cyber-catalogues for a megadiverse taxon (ants), and digitization of the ant taxonomic literature. A series of research project awards to model taxonomic literature lead to the foundation of Plazi in 2008. The creation of terms like taxonomic treatment, or material citations or the TaxPub/JATS schema to annotate and FAIRize data imprisoned in publications are now widely used in publishing and GBIF, opening up the richness of data in legacy literature. The establishment of TreatmentBank to process publications and joint foundation of the Biodiversity Literature Repository together with Pensoft and the Zenodo repository at CERN to provide open and FAIR access to taxonomic treatments, figures and enriched metadata of the source publications, is now recognized as an EU research infrastructure. In 2014 he co-initiated the Bouchout Declaration on Open Biodiversity Knowledge Management. He has been involved in various functions in the EU-funded projects pro-iBiosphere, EU-BON, GLOBIS-B and most recently BiCIKL.