About this Research Topic
We live on a dynamic planet whose pace of change is being accelerated by human activity. Given that we share the planet with an enormous array of biological diversity, much of which influences our own survival and success, understanding how biological diversity is responding to change is a fundamentally important challenge. To better understand the effects of both anthropogenic and natural environmental change on biological diversity, the most rigorous approach will involve the creation of exactly repeatable benchmark surveys of life that may then be repeated in the future. Such surveys establish baseline measurements of species’ distributions, population sizes, community richness, and functional and genetic diversity in ways that allow current and future generations the opportunity to repeat those measurements and quantify change. In addition, well-executed benchmark studies also provide current opportunities to develop deep insights into the ecological and evolutionary processes at work in biological communities.
The aims of this Research Topic are to highlight fundamental insights into ecology derived from current benchmark studies, to motivate the establishment of networks of scientists and citizen scientists creating exactly repeatable benchmark studies of today’s biodiversity and genetic diversity, and to review rapidly developing techniques for analysis of benchmark studies.
We welcome submissions that explore:
• the philosophical basis for benchmark studies, highlighting the bequest value of science and contributions to ecological understanding from several noteworthy benchmark studies;
• the best practices for establishing biodiversity inventories to enhance their long-term ecological and societal value;
• the involvement of human communities through collaborative citizen science in the gargantuan task of benchmarking present-day biological communities;
• the development of genetic benchmark studies anticipating future advancement in genomic analytical techniques that may reveal fundamental insights into the ability of organisms to respond to changing environmental conditions; and
• the role of benchmark studies in revealing how human activities have reconfigured the roles of biodiversity on Earth.
Keywords: ecological interactions, biodiversity benchmarks, biological communities, citizen science, genetic diversity
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.