I had some discussions with Pier earlier this week and have had the
opportunity to discuss the draft versions of theses definitions. In my
opinion they look good and serve to clarify the pragmatic goals of the
Once there has been some debate - and if the rest of the group is in
agreement - it would be good to see them included.
On 11 Feb 2011, at 15:17, Pier Luigi Buttigieg wrote:
> Dear all,
> During our meeting in Dagstuhl, the need to revise the definitions of
> biome, environmental feature, and environmental material was
> recognised. I
> would like to propose the following definitions:
> Biome: A biome is comprised of characteristic, recognisable ranges of
> interacting biotic and abiotic entities and phenomena that persist,
> continuously or discontinuously, through space and time. When
> describing an
> entity's environment, a biome is understood to broadly establish the
> that defines the scope of potential ecological inputs that entity
> may be
> subject to.
> Environmental feature: An environmental feature is a prominent or
> distinctive aspect, quality, or characteristic of a given biome. When
> describing an entity's environment, an environmental feature is
> to describe a distinctive range of biotic and abiotic entities and
> phenomena that are more local to that entity than its biome.
> Environmental material: Environmental material is any substance in a
> out of which something is, or may be, composed. When describing an
> environment, environmental material is understood as the substance
> immediately surrounding that entity and acting as the primary
> of ecological forces to and from it.
> Rationale follows:
> The biome definition suffered a historical bias and thus a lack of
> generalisability to environments outside of those studied by Bailey,
> Udvardy, or the WWF. The prime function of the biome term in the EnvO
> triplet (biome, feature, material) is to establish an entity’s
> on a broad scale; however, children of this term must be
> ‘recognisable’ –
> implicitly enjoying enough rounded-offness to warrant a term. The
> idea of
> continuity or discontinuity in space and time stems from the
> treatment of
> environments as occurring within such dimensions, however, not
> all at once. That is to say a ‘tropic rainforest biome’ environment
> emerge in several places at several times and EnvO’s treatment of this
> biome would be similar as long as the ranges of variables behaved in
> same characteristic and recognisable fashion. Biome is, of course,
> interchangeable with ‘ecosystem’ at any scale (which is generally
> however, by establishing that this term should indicate the 'scope of
> potential ecological inputs that entity may be subject to', users
> are more
> likely to choose terms that reflect how 'deeply' their chosen entity
> relates to its environment.
> In this scheme, the feature term is treated much in the same way as a
> biome, however, gathers a recognisable collection of variables that
> more local to an entity than a biome. I believe that stating this
> between feature and biome is quite important to preserve the
> flexibility while preventing its misuse by casual users, submitters
> biocurators. To be clear, “aspect, quality, or characteristic” are not
> intended to be sub-classes, but persist in feature definitions
> this ontology: i.e. marine feature: “A prominent or distinctive
> quality, or characteristic of a marine biome.”
> Environmental material is also rooted in a biome-level context, but
> even ‘closer’ to the entity whose environment is being described. Many
> entities are subject to more than one material at a time, however,
> often be annotated with only one. The idea of ‘primary transmitter’
> prompt users to make the difficult choice and deliver an annotation
> models as much ecological data as possible.
> Looking forward to the discussion!
> Best regards,
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Dr Norman Morrison
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