Budget Cuts Shutter Biodiversity Program

The US Geological Survey’s database, a compendium of biodiversity information, will be shut down this month due to a slashed 2012 budget.

Jan 16, 2012
Edyta Zielinska

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, ANIL MAHAJAN

The US Geological Survey’s National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) program was closed its popular website yesterday (January 15) after the budget was slashed from $7 million in 2010 to zero in 2012.  The program gave researchers a “one-stop shopping” for environmental data, species taxonomy, and disease propagation—information that was collected from a number of government agencies, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The closure came as a surprise to many institutions who consider the database a vital resource for their researchers.  While the Geological Survey is working to create an archive of the information that could still be accessed, NBII Deputy Director Michael McDermott said that even if they are successful, the information will still be more difficult to locate.

For now, however, researchers will have to return to searching each individual agency for the information they need.  "It just makes the search for the information and data that much more time-consuming, if it can be done at all," Frederick Stoss, an associate librarian at the University at Buffalo told The Chronicle.