Session Organizers:

  • Anne Thessen, Oregon State University
  • Ramona Walls, University of Arizona
  • Chris Mungall, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Pier Luigi Buttigieg, Max Planck Institute


Disciplines such as biodiversity science, environmental science, biomedicine and phylogenetics, need to make assertions about characteristics of entities and processes. These characteristics have been referred to as traits, phenotypes, diseases, and qualities, sometimes interchangeably or inconsistently. Each community has developed its own design patterns, classes, and properties for representing characteristics, sometimes in isolation. Clarity is needed on why and how communities of practice are representing characteristics to avoid and remove unnecessary silos. Examples of topics of interest in this session include:

  • Utility of different character types in inferencing
  • Strategies for representing characters and why these are appropriate
  • Discipline-specific usage and modeling
  • Modeling and integrating character derived from sensor data
  • Aggregating and de-aggregating character data without loss of information
  • Representation of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV)
This session will start with presentations and end with a group discussion. The product of this session will be a paper that describes current usage and recommends best practices.