Algal taxonomic data: embracing new protocols and analyses

Taxonomic data are the foundation of bioassessment and much basic and applied research. Difficulty in morphological species identification, evolving and varying taxon concepts, and nomenclatural changes can lead to significant inconsistencies in taxonomic datasets across analysts and through time. These taxonomic inconsistencies can mask or confound taxon/parameter relationships leading to questionable conclusions, a weakening or loss of species and community signal, and can even constrain the use of large-scale species datasets that do not pass traditional quality control metrics or which cannot be easily merged with other relevant data. The taxonomy of microorganisms can be particularly and uniquely problematic and various protocols have been developed to address these issues prior to and after data collection on project, regional, and national scales. The intent of this session is to introduce some of these efforts, through oral presentations and subsequent discussions, to facilitate better analytical practices and foster communication and collaboration among analysts and researchers across the globe. This session will present new concepts and expand upon those presented in previous meetings with a focus on algal taxonomic data, although the topics may be widely applicable. The session will include work being done to increase precision and accuracy in soft algal and diatom data collection (e.g., image vouchers, certification, intercalibration and identity confirmation exercises), statistical and analytical methods to utilize existing data sets (e.g., statistical harmonization, genus-level metrics), as well as innovations in data collection such as DNA metabarcoding and AI/machine learning techniques. Please contact Julianne if you would like to be a speaker in this special session at [email protected]

Oral Presentations (TBA)