April 12th Notes: Katja Seltmann

N.C. State University Entomologist and Evolutionary Biologist Katja Seltmann led this discussion.

 

Seltmann is a member of the Deans biology lab at NCSU.  With the Deans Lab, she’s working on building an anatomical ontology for Hymenoptera wasps.  See the HAO Group.  This ontology can be used, in turn, to greatly speed the formal description of the thousands- hundreds of thousands? – of unidentified species of wasps.  Seltmann & co. are working closely with the Hymenoptera community to ensure the quality and relevance of their ontology.

 

Click on this image to view Katja's presentation...

The wide-ranging discussion that followed included the difficulty of defining biological entities such as species or families, the varying quality of systematics sources, and the growing shortage of taxonomists qualified to formally describe new species.  Katja described her group’s experemental work using ‘folksonomy’ – layperson tagging of high resolution imagery of wasps – to accelerate the process of biological systematics.

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