Linking FAIR biodiversity data, NEW article collection in BDJ

Supported by the EU-funded Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library (BiCIKL) project, the collection at Biodiversity Data Journal will provide APC waivers for up to 100 publications

A new article collection, dedicated to linked FAIR biodiversity data was announced by the EU-funded Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library (BiCIKL) project.

The BiCIKL project is dedicated to building new communities of key research infrastructures, researchers, citizen scientists and other stakeholders by using linked and FAIR biodiversity data at all stages of the research lifecycle, from specimens through sequencing and identification of taxa, to final publication in advanced, human- and machine-readable, reusable scholarly articles.

Supported by BiCIKL, the upcoming collection at BDJ will provide an exciting opportunity for biodiversity researchers to enjoy free and technologically advanced publication for up to 100 scholarly articles.

The collection will welcome research articles, data papers, software descriptions, and methodological/theoretical papers that demonstrate the advantages and novel approaches in accessing and (re-)using linked biodiversity data.

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The journal is still looking for guest editors to join the core team. If you are interested, please let us know at bdj@pensoft.net.

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In this collection, the authors will need to ensure that their narratives comply with the community-agreed standards for terms, ontologies and vocabularies. Additionally, they will be required to use explicit persistent identifiers, where such are available. 

Here are several examples of research questions concerning semantically enriched biodiversity data: 

  1. How linking taxa or OTUs to external data in my study will contribute to a better understanding of the functions and regional/local processes within faunas/floras/mycotas or biotic communities?
  2. How mine and other researchers’ data and narratives (e.g. specimen records, sequences, traits, biotic interactions etc.) can be re-used to support more extensive and data-rich studies? 
  3. How to streamline taxon descriptions and inventories, including such based on genomic and barcoding data? 
  4. How general conclusions, assertions and citations in my article can be expressed in a formal, machine-actionable language? 
  5. Other taxon- or topic-specific research questions that would benefit from richer, semantically enhanced FAIR data.

Conditions for publication and types of articles:

  • Manuscripts must use data from at least two of the BiCIKL’s partnering research infrastructures. Highly welcome are also submissions that include data from research infrastructures that are not part of BiCIKL.
  • Taxonomic papers (e.g. descriptions of new species) must contain persistent identifiers for the holotype, paratypes and the majority of the specimens used in the study.
  • New species descriptions using data associated with a particular Barcode Identification Number (BIN) imported directly from BOLD via the ARPHA Writing Tool are encouraged.
  • Individual specimen records imported directly from BOLD, GBIF or iDigBio into the manuscript are strongly encouraged.
  • Hyperlinked in-text citations of taxon treatments from Plazi’s TreatmentBank are highly welcome.
  • Other terms of value hyperlinked to external resources are encouraged.
  • Tables that list gene accession numbers, specimens and taxon names, should conform to the Biodiversity Data Journal’s guidelines.
  • Theoretical or methodological papers on linking of FAIR biodiversity data are eligible for the BiCIKL collection if they provide examples and use cases.
  • Data papers or software descriptions are eligible if they use data from the BiCIKL’s partnering research infrastructures, or describe tools and services that facilitate access to and linking between FAIR biodiversity data.


You can find full information about the eligibility criteria in the Open Call published on the BiCIKL’s website, or can contact us at bdj@pensloft.net.

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Curvature values, a new aspect in the morphology of grapevine seeds

Guest blog post by Dr Emilio Cervantes

Grape seeds have a characteristic oval or pear-like shape. It has been long recognised that this form is variable, and that, in general, wild-type seeds are smaller and more rounded, while the seeds of cultivated varieties tend to be more elongated in one side, or pear-shaped.

Recently, seeds belonging to 38 cultivars stored in the collection of IMIDRA were classified in ten morphological groups, each corresponding to a new morphological model. The models are geometric figures defined by equations, and similarity to each model is evaluated by quantification of percent of the area shared by the two figures, the seed and the model (J index).

The groups thus defined were: Listán Prieto, Albillo Real, Moscatel, Doña Blanca, Hebén, Tortozón, Sylvestris, Teta de Vaca, Airén and de Cuerno.

A seed of Vitis vinifera and a graphic showing curvature values in the seed apex. Image by Dr Emilio Cervantes

An article just published in the open-access, peer-reviewed Viticulture Data Journal by the same research groups at IRNASA-CSIC, Department of Mathematics of Salamanca University and IMIDRA, presents an analysis of the curvature – the degree of variation in the points of a curve – in the apex of the cultivars. A set of points along the surface of the seed image are marked and used to obtain the Bézier curves corresponding to seed profiles. The curvature values along the curves are then calculated in Mathematica and represented. Then, the cultivars are classified according to the variation of their curvature and distribution of maximum curvature values. The groups formed based on the curvature analysis are related to the classification based on geometrical figures.

The process of obtaining the curvature values in the seed apex in the program Mathematica.
Vide by Dr Emilio Cervantes

The results show the peduncles of Vitis seeds can be ordered in three groups: 1) Acute, with a unique point of maximum curvature; 2) Plane, with two equivalent points of maximum curvature, and 3) Intermediate. According to this result, the groups based on geometric models are divided by the curvature analysis in two series:

The seeds in most of the cultivars had their pedicels flat at their apex. In consequence, representations of Bézier of their profiles had a plane form with two maximum curvature values. This type was observed in a total of 23 cultivars, including all but one of the 23 cultivars in four groups, and with the addition of Airén. The cultivars with a flat pedicel are predominant in groups Listán Prieto (Listán Prieto and Tortozona Tinta), Albillo Real (Alarije, Albillo Real, Cayetana Blanca, Graciano, Juan García and Tempranillo), eleven of the twelve cultivars of group Moscatel (all of them except Moscatel de grano menudo), the three cultivars of group Doña Blanca (Doña Blanca, Monastrell and Pedro Ximénez) and Airén.

The seeds with an acute apex belong to six cultivars in four groups: Hebén (Macabeo and Zalema, but not Hebén itself), Tortozón (Imperial and Tortozón), Airén (Mazuela) and de Cuerno.

The morphological difference between the seeds of wild grapes and cultivars of Vitis has been known for a long time, but biochemical and structural properties associated with these types remain to be investigated. Considering that lignin is an important component of the cell walls, it is possible that adaptation to agricultural conditions is associated with changes in lignin composition. Pedicel thickening and lignin synthesis may be increased in the cultivars that have their beaks plane in comparison with those varieties that present acute beaks.

Original source:

Cervantes E, Martín-Gómez JJ, Espinosa-Roldán FE, Muñoz-Organero G, Tocino Á, Cabello Sáenz de Santamaría F (2021) Seed apex curvature in key Spanish grapevine cultivars. Viticulture Data Journal 3: e66478. https://doi.org/10.3897/vdj.3.e66478