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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
Doing Business As Name:George Mason University
PD/PI:
  • Mark Uhen
  • (703) 993-2295
  • muhen@gmu.edu
Award Date:07/30/2015
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 115,394
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 115,394
  • FY 2015=$115,394
Start Date:09/01/2015
End Date:08/31/2018
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:EarthCube IA: Collaborative Proposal: Enhancing Paleontological and Neontological Data Discovery API
Federal Award ID Number:1540929
DUNS ID:077817450
Parent DUNS ID:077817450
Program:EarthCube
Program Officer:
  • Eva E. Zanzerkia
  • (703) 292-8556
  • ezanzerk@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:4400 UNIVERSITY DR
City:FAIRFAX
State:VA
ZIP:22030-4422
County:Fairfax
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:11

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:George Mason University
Street:4400 University Drive
City:Fairfax
State:VA
ZIP:22030-4422
County:Fairfax
Country:US
Cong. District:11

Abstract at Time of Award

Understanding future environmental change requires researchers to access and integrate data from the geological and biological sciences, in order to answer questions about how environmental change will affect life on Earth. In many cases the data needed to answer these questions already exists but, unfortunately, technology has not kept pace with research needs. This places increasing demands on researchers, who have to search for and download data from multiple separate online databases; compile published information from many different literature sources; and track down specimens housed in museum and other collections scattered around the world. The time needed to search and retrieve this information is enormous and, once found, the data often have to be standardized before they can be used. This project will tackle this problem by developing software tools to connect three established, well-supported, and critically important data sources: the Paleobiology Database (PBDB, paleontological, literature based), iDigPaleo (paleontological, specimen based) and iDigBio (neontological, specimen based). This project will allow users of any one of these databases to access and query the others at the same time, returning a much richer, combined set of data to the user. Connecting these resources will open up a whole host of research questions that are currently difficult to answer, even by multiple researchers working as a team. The development of this system will allow scientists to ask and answer new research questions affecting fields as diverse as biogeographic/niche modeling, systematics, functional morphology, evolutionary biology, ecology, climatology, conservation biology, oceanography, and petroleum geology. This project will fundamentally change the nature of the research questions that can be addressed by the scientific community. The connectivity between modern and fossil, and specimen and literature-based resources does not currently exist. The digital infrastructure provided by the composite ePANDDA application programming interfaces (APIs) will streamline and normalize data acquisition, including retrieval from disparate data sources, and will facilitate coordination with future data initiatives. Rather than creating another portal for the aggregation of data, ePANDDA will unify results that normally would have required multiple searches on numerous platforms. For the researcher, this eliminates a significant barrier to data collection and processing. Researchers will now have the ability to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to study earth system processes and the nature of biotic response to environmental change across both space and time. Linking publications to specimens will enrich the potential of museum collections and augment their value for both research and education. The ePANDDA project also provides an opportunity to build collaborative programs that leverage existing education and outreach activities in addition to the primary research goals.

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