In April 1999, the Allegheny Institute of Natural History
made a formal proposal to various Senators and Representatives in
AINH had determined that
For efficiency of time, money, effort, and in the interests of biodiversity conservation and economic viability, AINH had determined that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania needed to develop one uniform, comprehensive, easily usable biodiversity database that is widely available to state and local government, industry, consulting firms, environmental groups, educational and scientific institutions, and the general public.
Consequently, AINH proposed to spearhead the effort to formulate a strategic plan and to develop a
comprehensive, Web-accessible biological database, that would be available for
general use by both the public and private sectors, of the ecological
communities and flora and fauna of
The proposal received initial funding in the form of a Office of Economic and Community Development Grant.
In the meantime, the Pennsylvania Biodiversity Partnership (PBP) was formed. Dr. Thomas Pauley, Director of the Allegheny Institute of Natural History, was invited to join and serve on the board. He continues to be active in PBP and is serving as vice-chair of the board and as a member of the Science Task Force.
Consequently the Bioinformatics Task Force asked the PBP
board to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to “Develop a Directory of
Biodiversity Databases in PA,” with the mission of compiling a directory of the
biodiversity databases in the state; i.e. develop a database of biodiversity
metadata. The board awarded the RFP on
Since AINH had already received PA funding in the form of a Office of Economic and Community Development Grant to begin work on a comprehensive directory of PA biodiversity databases, it provided the “database of biodiversity databases” free to PBP.
AINH developed a web-based questionnaire that individuals having biodiversity databases, either specimen-based or ecological, could complete and submit on line. Over 1200 individuals were contacted in PA, including members of PBP; biologists at all colleges and universities; museum curators; staff at governmental agencies at the county, state, and federal level; members of clubs and organizations interested in the biota of the state; and private individuals and companies that might have a species database of their landholdings. AINH also requested that those surveyed who had no biodiversity data respond by submitting the “no biodiversity metadata to report” form.
The inventory of biodiversity database information collected
by AINH was incorporated into "Snapshot 2002: Biodiversity in
The Pennsylvania Biodiversity Partnership is now addressing
many of PA’s issues concerning lack of biodiversity information; duplication of
effort in cataloging the biota, lack of information sharing, and difficulty in
gaining access to biodiversity information.
Consequently, AINH is no longer independently pursuing its original
mission of developing a uniform, comprehensive, web-based, biodiversity
database of ecological communities and the flora and fauna in