4D4Life (Distributed Dynamic Diversity Databases for Life) and i4Life
4D4Life (May 2009 – April 2012) is a Scientific Data Infrastructures Project of the European Commission's e-Infrastructure Programme, itself part of the Capacities Programme of Framework 7. One of its main aims is to develop the Catalogue of Life, a coherent classification and species checklist of the world’s plants, animals, fungi and microbes that is fundamental for accessing information about biodiversity. The Catalogue of Life provides a dynamically updated global index of validated scientific names, synonyms and common names integrated within a single taxonomic hierarchy growing rapidly. At the time of the writing of this deliverable it covers over one million species.
4D4Life will aims also to implement a number of specialized taxonomy services, such as a synonymy service, taxon name-change, and download services, and include educational material. The data produced will also be made available for different media, such as the hand-held devices. A continuation of 4D4Life, i4Life, is currently under negotiation. It aims at improving the content and quality of Species Databases and to broaden the geographical reach of the programme beyond Europe towards a Multi-Hub Network integrating data from China, New Zealand, Australia, N. America and Brazil.
During the World User Meeting organised by the D4Science-II project in November 2009 a discussion was initiated with the D4Life coordinator on how the Catalogue of Life under development by the 4D4Life project might be exploited as D4Science resource and how, vice-versa, D4Science access to Grid-based computing and VRE mechanisms might help in achieving the 4D4Life objectives. During Spring 2010 the D4Science-II PMB members decided to allocate some project resources to initiate an in dept investigation of the costs required to perform the integration of Catalogue of Life in the D4Science e-Infrastructure. 4D4Life technical representatives agreed to provide the necessary information for such analysis. As a result of such investigation, a plan for a progressive integration of this resource in the D4Science infarstructure was prepared. In particular, it was decided that in the current phase of the D4Science-II project the Catalogue of Life would have been added as a static resource. This solution, which has required a limited development effort, has provided a good initial basis for experimenting the use of this rich taxonomy in the current VRE scenarios.
D4Science, through its FARM partners, can offer to 4D4Life a mean to widen the exploitation of its produced resources to other UN systems.
Plans for the future
Catalogue of Life can be exploited to enhance the functionalty of many of the existing D4Science services. Progressively, these services, will be customized to fully exploit it.