Food for Thought: Introduction to ontology

WorldFish Headquarters, Malaysia

Presentation Abstract:

CGIAR started developing and adopting existing ontologies to propose semantically organized reference lists of documented concepts (traits, agronomic parameters, units, etc.) used by scientists for inclusion into breeding and agronomic databases, as well as a nomenclature for naming the observed or measured variables that could easily be uploaded into electronic field books or Excel Forms for data collection.  The Community of Practice (CoP) of the CGIAR Big Data Platform recommended adopting or developing ontologies for Socio-Economics data, for Livestock Data, for Fish Data and for Water Management data.

During the webinar, Dr. Marie-Angélique Laporte will introduce what is an ontology and its purpose in knowledge modelling. Ms. Elizabeth Arnaud will then explain how ontologies are currently applied in CGIAR for multidisciplinary data, and the role of both the CGIAR Ontology Working Group and the Ontology CoP of Big Data Platform. To support the discussion for FISH CRP, we will introduce examples of the Crop Ontology, Agronomy Ontology, the new Ontology for Agricultural Household surveys that are all products of the CoP.


Speakers' Biography:

  1. Dr. Marie-Angélique Laporte joined Bioversity International in 2015 as a postdoc to work on the NSF-funded project Planteome, which aimed at developing a set of reference ontologies for plants. She is now an associate scientist working on various data related issues, including developing ontologies and metadata standards, and applying text-mining techniques to extract relevant agricultural information. She is involved with the Big Data Platform of the CGIAR and the Crop Ontology and Agronomy Ontology projects. Marie-Angélique holds a Ph.D. in ecology during which she worked on the integration of functional plant traits data. After her Ph.D., she worked as a postdoc at IRD in Montpellier on automatic classification of remote sensing images using ontologies and at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena on developing a semantic system to harmonise functional plant traits data.
  2. Ms. Elizabeth Arnaud holds a M.Sc. in Biology and a Master in Scientific data management techniques and communication and is based at Bioversity International’s Montpellier office, France. She coordinated the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS) and the CGIAR System-wide Information System on Genetic Resources (SINGER), the development of the Bioversity geospatial database for collected crop samples and since 2008, has led the Crop Ontology project developed with other CGIAR Research Centers and external partners. She is co-principal investigator for the NSF-awarded ontology project of Planteome.  She co-led the first phase of the Agronomy Ontology development. Since 2017, she leads the Ontology Community of Practice of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture. Elizabeth is the head of Bioversity's delegation in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Governing Body and she was member of the Scientific Committee from 2012 to 2018. In 2016, she chaired the GBIF/Bioversity Task group on GBIF Data fitness for use in Agrobiodiversity. For 2 years, she was member of the Advisory Committee of DivSeek Initiative and is now member of the Advisory Group of Excellence in Breeding Platform.


The recorded video from the Food for Thought webinar is available here for your viewing pleasure.