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The Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) database: synthesizing data on the geographic distribution of ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Guénard, B., Weiser, M.D., Gómez, K., Narula, N. & Economo, E.P.

Abstract: The global distribution patterns of most vertebrate groups and several plant groups have been described and analyzed over the past few years, a development facilitated by the compilation of important databases. Similar efforts are needed for large insect groups that constitute he majority of global biodiversity. As a result of this lack of information, invertebrate taxa are often left out of both large-scale analyses of biodiversity patterns and large-scale efforts in conservation planning and prioritization. Here, we introduce the first comprehensive global database of ant species distributions, the Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) database, based on the compilation of 1.72 million records extracted from over 8811 publications and 25 existing databases. We first present the main goals of the database, the methodology used to build the database, is well as its limitations and challenges. Then, we discuss how different fields of ant biology may benefit from utilizing this tool. Finally, we emphasize the importance of future participation of myrmecologists to improve the database and use it to identify and fill holes in our knowledge of ant biodiversity.

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