The Patterson laboratory has the role of developing web-based resources and tools in support of education and research in areas of microbial diversity, evolution and ecology. The laboratory contains considerable experience with the taxonomy of amoebae and flagellates. Staff here have been associated with descriptions of over 250 new taxa , and have been involved in high-level taxonomic surveys of eukaryotic life. We continue to contribute taxonomic skills to a variety of projects within the Bay Paul Center and outside.
We are developing the star*web sites as a distributed biological database system to enhance visibility of information about organisms on the internet. micro*scope is the inaugural star*site dedicated to delivery of images and descriptive information about microbes. Star*sites incorporate a comprehensive classification database scheme called CU*STAR as an organizational backbone. Information is attached to elements within that scheme. We work with the uBio project in exploring the use of taxonomic information on the web, and on how best to integrate name-based indexing systems with taxonomic initiatives world-wide.
In conjunction with International Census of Marine Microbes (ICoMM ), we are developing MICROBIS as environment to manage information about organisms in a form that can also be shared by OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System).
Through BEPO (The Bay Paul Center Education and Outreach group), we collaborate with staff of the center to enhance awareness and improve education in areas of microbial diversity, evolution and ecology.
We partner with Montana State University in assembling a digital library of educational resources for the Microbial Life (educational resources) web site. This is a component of the National Science Digital Library program, and is concerned with improving on-line access to information. MLER currently emphasizes resources that relate to microbes of extreme environments and will soon expand its coverage to microbes of marine environments. We create original teaching materials about microbes for use by teachers.
These initiatives overlap and inter-weave with the dominant threads being taxonomy and biodiversity informatics. This demands a strong spirit of co-operation – and the high level of interaction between all staff is apparent within the Patterson lab.