Combining genomics and biodiversity
Biodiversity is used by scientists to gain a measure of the variation of life forms in a given ecosystem. The scientific information and communication platform developed by the 'Integration of genomics and biodiversity research: implementation of an international platform' (Molconnect) project involved researchers from Europe and Latin America. The platform enabled European experts in genomics to work closely with experts from biodiversity hotspots such as Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica to develop a new field of research. The collaboration helped scientists gain a better understanding of genetic resources of some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth. A database was created that was easy to use and keep researchers from different disciplines and continents connected. The easy to update and expand system was in English, Spanish and Portuguese to ensure optimal dissemination. Replication of research, networks and other initiatives was avoided by screening the available data, which was then used as the basis for building the information platform. The range of information was very broad and the consortium collected details of more than 500 individuals and institutions which were informed about the project's activities. The Molconnect platform helped to develop new ideas and initiatives based on the common ground between genomics and biodiversity research. The dissemination of information using the new database raised awareness of a new area for scientific study. In addition, the initiative improved communication and interaction between European and Latin American researchers.