Biodiversity Information Science and Standards : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Aligning Standards Communities: Sustainable Darwin Core MIxS Interoperability
expand article infoRaïssa Meyer, Pier Luigi Buttigieg§, John Wieczorek|, Thomas Stjernegaard Jeppesen, William D. Duncan#, Yi-Ming Gan¤, Maxime Sweetlove¤, Saara Suominen«, Task Group Sustainable Darwin Core MIxS Interoperability»
‡ Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremen, Germany
§ Helmholtz Metadata Collaboration, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
| Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, United States of America
¶ Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Secretariat, Copenhagen, Denmark
# Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, United States of America
¤ Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium
« Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, IOC Project Office for IODE, Oostende, Belgium
» TDWG Genomic Biodiversity Interest Group (GBWG), San Francisco, United States of America
Open Access


Biodiversity is increasingly being assessed using omic technologies (e.g. metagenomics or metatranscriptomics); however, the metadata generated by omic investigations is not fully harmonised with that of the broader biodiversity community.

There are two major communities developing metadata standards specifications relevant to omic biodiversity data: TDWG, through its Darwin Core (DwC) standard, and the Genomic Standard Consortium (GSC), through its Minimum Information about any (x) Sequence (MIxS) checklists. To prevent these specifications leading to silos between the communities using them (e.g. INSDC: an internationally mandated database collaboration for nucleotide sequencing data [from health, biodiversity, microbiology, etc.] using the MIxS checklists; OBIS and GBIF: global biodiversity data networks using the DwC standard), there is a need to harmonise them at the level of the standards organisations themselves.

To this end, we have brought together representatives from these standardisation bodies, along with representatives from established biodiversity data infrastructures, domain experts, data generators, and publishers to develop sustainable interoperability between the two specifications. Together, we have:

  1. generated a semantic mapping between the terminology used in each specification, and syntactic mapping of their associated values following the Simple Standard for Sharing Ontology Mappings (SSSOM), and
  2. created an example MIxS-DwC extension showing the incorporation of unmapped MIxS terms into a DwC-Archive.

To sustain these mechanisms of interoperability, we have proposed a Memorandum of Understanding between the GSC and TDWG. During our work, we also noted a number of key challenges that currently preclude interoperation between these two specifications.

In this talk, we will outline the major steps we took to get here, as well as the future activities we recommend based on our outputs.


metadata standards, omics, biodiversity, eDNA, semantics, data policy

Presenting author

Raïssa Meyer

Presented at

TDWG 2021


We would like to thank all members of the TDWG/GBWG Sustainable DarwinCore MIxS Interoperability Task Group for their contributions to the work presented here.

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