MARS Workshop

BELSPO, Brussels, 7-11 May 2012

The MARS (Microbial Antarctic Resource System) workshop was organized in Brussels, BELGIUM, and was hosted by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). The main objective of the meeting was to develop the initial design of MARS, which is envisioned as an information system dedicated to facilitate the discovery, access and analysis of molecular microbial diversity (meta)data generated by Antarctic researchers. MARS will allow the discovery and integration of these microbial resources using the BELSPO-funded Antarctic Biodiversity Information Facility (ANTABIF).

The MARS workshop gathered 18 participants from different backgrounds (Microbiologists, Programme Managers, IT specialists, Biodiversity Informatics specialists,...). A full list of MARS participants can be found here.

The MARS workshop was organized in two main sections:

  1. Scoping and user needs capture (Day 1, all participants)
  2. Design of initial work and dataflows (Days 2-5, focused groups)

The MARS workshop produced a set of living documents which will be made available for discussion by the SCAR Open Science Conference (July 2012).

  1. MARS White Paper
  2. Polar_MiMARKS standard spreadsheet for submission to GSC/GBIF
  3. MARS Sequence Set template
  4. MARS Thesaurus
  5. MARS Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  6. MARS community survey
  7. Examples of MARS datasets on the ANTABIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit

By harboring this information directly at ANTABIF, Antarctic scientists will have the information archived and accessible through common language queries. There is currently NO exhaustive resource that provides the level of information and integration which is envisaged for the MARS initiative.

For the first time, MARS will make sequence-based Antarctic microbial diversity information discoverable through a single, integrated and open accesspoint on the Internet.