Rubenstein Fellows Program

Program Overview
The EOL Rubenstein Fellows program supported the research of a diverse group of scientists committed to online collaboration and outreach. The Fellows program was made possible through a generous donation by David M. Rubenstein to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

This international program supported original biodiversity research and open online dissemination by researchers at all stages, from graduate students to retired scientists. EOL Rubenstein Fellows funds provided partial support for up to one year. Fellows were encouraged to engage in collaborative and synthetic work with a community of colleagues. Fellows also helped EOL develop effective strategies for engaging and supporting the scientific community.

Class of 2013
This year's program sought to support the use of EOL resources in biodiversity research by scientists. We solicited ideas from the research community about particular areas in which EOL content, properly queried, could illuminate large scale questions in biology and advance biological research. Eleven specific requests were advanced by the research community and selected by the EOL curator community as the most promising, tractable and potentially impactful projects. The 2013 program funded projects to extract from the EOL collection at the time, the data requested by the community, and advance the corresponding inquiry in one or several of the Wishes.

1. Chantal-Marie Wright, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, USA

Using the Encyclopedia of Life to Explore Altitude Specificity of Flower Coloration

Image analysis of flower photos on EOL will reveal whether different colors dominate at different altitudes.

Collaborator: Katja Seltmann, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, USA

2. Jorrit Poelen, Oakland, CA, USA

“Unleashing EOL's Species Interaction Datasets—Integration, Visualization, and Analysis”

This project eventually became part of the data hub Global Biotic Interactions, EOL's premier data source for interaction data.

Collaborators: Chris Mungall, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Berkeley, CA, USA; Robert Reiz, Berlin, Germany; James Simons, Center for Coastal Studies, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, TX, USA

updates at Jorrit's blog

3. Jonathan Chang, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

“Using massively crowd-sourced data to examine morphological impacts of extinction risk in ray-finned fishes”

Remote participants will mark up and measure fish photos on EOL to reveal patterns in anatomy and extinction risk.

Collaborator: Michael Alfaro, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

updates at Jonathan's blog

4. Jose Ferrer-Paris, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Caracas, Venezuela and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Cape Town, South Africa

“Using web-content for the assessment of macroecological patterns in butterfly-hostplant associations at a global scale.”

Butterfly-plant associations from EOL text will be compared and combined with other sources to assess the state of our knowledge of this ecological relationship.

Collaborator: Ada Sanchez Mercado, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), Caracas, Venezuela

5. Congtian Lin, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

“Using the multiple classifications harvested by EOL for analysis to obtain the degree of coverage and congruence among hierarchies and nomenclatures.”

This project became the Taxonomic Tree Tool, still in use by EOL for internal analyses, and freely available to all

Collaborator: Jiangning Wang, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

6. Barbara Banbury , University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA

Reol: Developing an R interface to EOL

Numerical data will be made available to scientists in the standard desktop analysis tool “R”, so they can analyze patterns in biodiversity information, such as “Which groups of mollusks have images available and which have common names in French?”

Collaborator: Brian O'Meara, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA

7. Evangelos Pafilis, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC), Crete, Greece

ENVIRONMENTS: Discovering habitat terms in EOL Contents

Habitat descriptors, like “coral reef”, “desert”, “tundra” and so on will be extracted from EOL articles into meaningful tags, which will allow us to index species by habitat type.

Collaborators: Christina Pavloudi, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Crete, Greece ; Julia Schnetzer, Bremen, Germany; Lucia Fanini, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Crete, Greece ; Lars Juhl Jensen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Sarah Faulwetter, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Crete, Greece ; Sune Pletscher-Frankild, , University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Umer Zeeshan Ijaz (University of Glasgow, United Kingdom); Aikaterini Vasileiadou (University of Patras, Patras, Greece)

Class of 2012
The 2012 EOL Rubenstein Fellows were sixteen early and mid career scientists from institutions around the world. As in previous years, this group of Fellows hails from around the world. Their research specialties range from the birds of Papua New Guinea to the urban flora of New York City.

  • Rosario Castañeda , Harvard and the Smithsonian Institution, USA Anolis lizards
  • Norbert Cordeiro , Roosevelt University, USA Tree, shrub, and liana regeneration characteristics in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania
  • Kathryn Hall, Queensland Museum, Australia Marine sponges of the Indo-west Pacific
  • Kathy Hill, University of Connecticut, USA Cicadidae genera and selected species from USA, New Zealand and Australia
  • Jiri Hulcr, North Carolina State University, USA Integrating global information resources on Xyleborini ambrosia beetles
  • Fernando Jerep, Smithsonian Institution, USA Fishes of the Tetragonopterinae and Cheirodontinae from Neotropics
  • Christian Jersabek , University of Salzburg, Austria Phylum Rotifera
  • Seena Karimbumkara , Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, India Species pages for Dung Beetles (Scarabaeinae) of the Indian subcontinent
  • Meiying Lin, Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Cerambycidae from China
  • Nathan Muchhala , University of Nebraska, USA Pollination and explosive diversification in the Tropical Andes
  • Kelly O'Donnell , Columbia University, USA Urban Plant Life of New York
  • Chitra Ravi, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, India Collaborating for Open Access to Biodiversity Information in India
  • Christian Sardet , Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche sur Mer, France The Plankton Chronicles
  • Joanne Taylor , Museum Victoria, Australia Squat lobsters: World Species of the Superfamily Galatheoidea
  • Katerina Tvardikova, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic The birds of Papua New Guinea
  • Carlos Viquez , Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, Costa Rica Arachnids of Central America

Class of 2011
The 2011 EOL Rubenstein Fellows were seventeen early career scientists from institutions around the world. One of the hallmarks of the EOL Rubenstein Fellows program is the diversity of its participants. This group of Fellows hails from around the world and their research specialties cover taxa from fungi of Egypt to Afrotropical birds.

  • Ahmed Abdel-Azeem, University of the Suez Canal, Egypt Fungi of the Middle East and North Africa. Mentor: Dr. David W. Minter, Cybertruffle
  • Stijn Cooleman, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium Afrotropical Birds in the Royal Museum for Central Africa Dr. Michel Louette and Dr. Patricia Mergen, Royal Museum for Central Africa
  • Elizaveta Ershova, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Arctic Zooplankton. Mentor: Dr. Russell Hopcroft, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and Dr. Ksenia Kosobokova, Moscow State University
  • Carlos Garcia Robledo, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History Taxonomy, Ecology, and Evolution of plant-herbivore Associations: Cephaloleai beetles and Zingiberales plants. Mentor: Dr. John Kress, Dr. Charles Staines, and Dr. Terry Erwin, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Victor Gonzalez Betancourt, USDA Agricultural Research Services, Bee Systematics Laboratory Megachilid Bees . Mentor: Dr. Terry Griswold, USDA Agricultural Research Services, Bee Systematics Laboratory
  • Harold Greeney, Yanayacu Biological station and Center for Creative Studies Ecology and Natural History of Ecuadorian Birds and Lepidoptera . Mentor: Dr. Lee Dyer, University of Nevada
  • Matthew Heinicke, Villanova University Gekkotans of the World . Mentor: Dr. Aaron M. Bauer, Villanova University
  • Roger Hyam, Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, Scotland Rhododendrons from the Edinburgh Monographs . Mentor: Dr. Mark Watson, Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Rebecca Johnson, California Academy of Sciences Chromodorid Nudibranchs of the World . Mentor: Dr. Terrence M. Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences
  • Pavel Klimov, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Astigmatan Mites . Mentor: Dr. Barry O'Connor, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
  • Francesca Leasi, Imperial College London Marine Rotifera of the World: an International Collaboration . Mentor: Dr. Diego Fontaneto, Imperial College London, U.K., Dr. Willem De Smet, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Joaquin Mengual, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History Flower flies (Diptera: Syrphidae) . Mentor: Dr. F. Christian Thompson, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Shabnam Mohammadi, Old Dominion University Snake Species of the World . Mentor: Dr. Roy W. McDiarmaid, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Sally Rouse, Heriot Watt University, U.K. Marine Bryozoa of the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean . Mentor: Dr. Joanne Porter, Heriot Watt University, Dr. Mary Spencer Jones, The Natural History Museum London
  • Eli Sarnat, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Ants: Global invaders and Local Endemics . Mentor: Dr. Brian Fisher, California Academy of Sciences
  • André Sartori, Field Museum of Natural History Marine bivalves (Veneridae, Cardiidae, and Pholadomyoida) . Mentor: Dr. Rüdiger Bieler, Field Museum of Natural History, Dr. Paula Mikkelsen, Museum of the Earth
  • Cameron Siler, University of Kansas Amphibians and Reptiles of the Philippines . Mentor: Dr. Rafe M. Brown, University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute

Class of 2010
The 2010 EOL Rubenstein Fellows were selected for their scientific achievement, promise for continued accomplishment, and the diversity and relevance of their research. This year's seventeen recipients were chosen from eighty-five graduate and postdoctoral applicants. The 2010 EOL Rubenstein Fellows specialize in a variety of taxonomic areas, ranging from African electric fishes to global terrestrial slug fauna.

  • Diana Marcela Bolaños Rodriguez, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia Tropical Polyclad Flatworms (Platyhelminthes: Polycladida) . Mentor: Marian Litvaitis, University of New Hampshire
  • Elizabeth Borda, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Amphinomida (Fireworms) of the World . Mentor: Gregory W. Rouse, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Simone Nunes Brandão, University of Hamburg, Germany Ostracods (Crustacea), Living Encyclopedias of Life. Mentor: Ivana Karanovic, University of Hamburg, Germany, Moriaki Yasuhara, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Maria Lourdes Chamorro-Lacayo, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History New World Cryptocephalus and Stegnocephala Leaf Beetles . Mentor: Terry Erwin, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Simon Coppard, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Echinoderms of Panama Harilaos Lessios, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Melissa Frey, Marine Invasions Laboratory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Marine Invaders of the Northeast Pacific . Mentor: Greg Ruiz, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
  • Kenneth Hayes, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History Architaenioglossa (Ampullariidae, Viviparidae, Cyclophoridae) . Mentor: Ellen E. Strong, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Gisele Yukimi Kawauchi, Harvard University, Department of Organismic Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Comparative Zoology Phylum Sipuncula (Peanut-worms). Mentor: Mary Rice, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Christopher P. Kenaley, University of Washington Lightfishes (Stomiiformes) and Anglerfishes (Ceratioidei). Mentor: Theodore W. Pietsch, University of Washington
  • David Kenfack, Center for Tropical Forest Science Research Fellow, The Arnold Arboretum of the Harvard University Tree species of the Korup National Park, Cameroon. Mentor: W. John Kress, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Stuart Davies, Center for Tropical Forest Science
  • Megan Paustian, University of Maryland, College Park Global Terrestrial Slug Faunas. Mentor: Robert Hershler, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  • Adam Smith, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Sweat Bees (Halictinae). Mentor: William Wcislo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Seán Brady, National Museum of Natural History
  • John P. Sullivan, Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates Congo River and African Electric Fishes. Mentor: Melanie L.J. Stiassny, American Museum of Natural History
  • Thor-Seng Liew, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation Malaysian Terrestrial Molluscs. Mentor: Menno Schilthuizen, National Museum of Natural History - Naturalis, Netherlands
  • Jann E. Vendetti, California State University, Los Angeles Cataloging Diversity in Sacoglossan Molluscs. Mentor: Patrick J. Krug, California State University, Los Angeles
  • Breda Zimkus, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology Sub-Saharan Amphibians. Mentor: Simon Loader, University of Basel, James Hanken, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology

Class of 2009; EOL Fellows Pilot Program
The eight scientists selected for the EOL Fellows Pilot Program were funded partly through the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

  • Gail Ashton; Caprellidae: Ghost Shrimp. Mentor: Gregory Ruiz
  • Myra Hughey; Amphibians of Panama. Mentor: Steve Paton
  • Kristin Hultgren; Alpheidae: Snapping Shrimp. Mentor: Nancy Knowlton, Emmett Duffy, Arthur Anker
  • Trond Larsen; Neotropical Scarabaeine: Dung Beetles. Mentor: Terry Erwin, Jerry Louton
  • Rong Li; Plants of Tibet. Mentor: Jun Wen
  • Rebecca Ritger; Phylum Nemertea. Mentor: Jon Norenberg, Frank Crandall
  • Jadranka Rota; Metalmark Moths of the World. Mentor: Scott Miller
  • Jessica Ware; Odonata: Dragonflies. Mentor: Terry Erwin
The Encyclopedia of Life partnered with CRDF to help administer the EOL Rubenstein Fellows program. Established in 1995 by the National Science Foundation, CRDF (www.crdf.org) promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, and training.