Today we meet Urmas Kõljalg, from Estonia.
Can you introduce yourself?
I am a taxonomist working in Estonia, at the University of Tartu and I represent an infrastructure called PlutoF. PlutoF is basically a data management system where biologists or even collection managers can manage their data. Our infrastructure covers most data classes.
BiCIKL is working so you can develop databases on observations, specimens, sequences, living cultures, etc., and of course very important is DNA sequence parsing. Actually, our infrastructure started when we provided services for people working with DNA sequences and trying to identify unknown organisms from soil, water, and other environmental samples.
Our service is available online. Everybody can register and start using it, the service is free. We have users from more than 100 countries and more than 7000 users right now and many of them are very, very active and developing large databases.
What's important in BiCIKL for PlutoF?
BiCIKL itself is very important for PlutoF because here there are partners with whom we have been already collaborating and now we can do very specific work and we have very specific ideas on how to move forward with the services. For example, we are working together with the European Nucleotide Archive to make the services available so that everybody can come and make third-party annotations of DNA sequences in the European Nucleotide Archive.
What's the added value?
All the people in BiCIKL are great experts, not just on the European level but globally. And all the infrastructures involved in BiCIKL are opening very important data services for the world, not just for Europe and I really enjoy the environment and the people involved.