biodiversity information management biodiversity modelling portals spatial analysis species endemism species richness


Email Paul

+61 8 9219 9067

Facsimile
+61 8 9334 0327
Street Address
17 Dick Perry Avenue, Technology Park, Western Precinct, Kensington WA 6151, Australia
Postal Address
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983, Australia

Profile

I am currently a Principal Research Scientist (Information) and manager of the Ecoinformatics Unit, in DPaW’s Science and Conservation Division. My primary roles include:

  • managing the Division's digital data assets
  • contributing to corporate biodiversity information management policy and practice, at state and national levels
  • the deployment and management of biodiversity portals (e.g. NatureMap, BioSys, WACensus)
  • the development and maintenance of tools supporting the biodiversity information life cycle
  • collaborative research into patterns of plant biodiversity in Western Australia

Expertise

  • Business analysis
  • Biodiversity informatics
  • Enterprise biodiversity information management
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) spatial analysis
  • Relational databases

Database

  • Oracle, SQL*Plus, Microsoft Access

GIS software

  • ArcGIS ArcInfo, Geoprocessing, Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst

Programming in the following languages:

  • Python, Oracle PL/SQL, Delphi/Pascal, Visual Basic and VBA, Javascript, C, R

Application development within a range of environments including:

  • Oracle Forms, Delphi, Visual Studio .NET

Brief CV

Academic Qualifications

a) Undergraduate

Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Engineering (Curtin University, 1981)

b) Postgraduate

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Geography) at UWA, 1996

Positions Held

  • 1981-1983: Contract Programmer, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • 1984-1987: Computer Systems Officer, Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM)
  • 1987-2000: Research Scientist, CALM
  • 2000-2007: Senior Research Scientist, CALM, Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC)
  • 2007-current: Principal Research Scientist (Information), DEC, Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW)

Research Experience

I am currently a Principal Research Scientist (Information) and manager of the Science Applications Unit within DPaW’s Science and Conservation Division. I have been with DPaW since 1981 (then the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife). I was initially contracted for three years by Dr Stephen Hopper to develop a species distribution plotting program, one of an early breed of geographic information systems (GIS). I subsequently became a permanent Computer Systems Officer, supporting field biologists in data management. In 1987 I moved sideways for computer support per se to the science stream, first as a Research Scientist, then Senior Research Scientist, and now Principal Research Scientist. My first fifteen years were centred in a field-biology work environment, the next seven within the WA Herbarium, and the remainder focusing on divisional- and departmental-wide biodiversity information management. This reflects, over a thirty year period, a gradual migration away from information technology to a passion for a) conservation and b) supporting the whole biodiversity information life cycle.

Spatial analysis
GIS has always been a primary interest of mine, as a tool for research and land management. This interest was spurred in 1983 with a secondment to the SIG Rural Joint Project on the applications of GIS within a rural context - one of the first projects of its kind in WA. That interest culminated in the completion of a Post Graduate Diploma in Science (Geography) at UWA in 1996, with my thesis focusing on the applications of GIS in catchment management and sustainable land-use principles.

Later, with the start of the Western Australian Regional Forest Assessment in 1997, I became interested in the use and application of environmental modeling tools such as BIOCLIM and SpModel for predicting species distribution. The project resulted in the predicted distribution of over 1400 vascular plant species within the RFA project area, one of the comprehensive achievements of it kind in Australia at the time. This work was subsequently published in the Journal of Biogeography (Gioia & Piggot, 2000).

Over the last decade I have been working with Professor Hopper exploring patterns of plant diversity within Western Australia. Early results were published in 2004, describing plant species richness and endemism for the south-west, as well as proposing a new bioregionalisation based on floristic data (Hopper and Gioia, 2004). We are currently updating this research by comparing herbarium datasets 10 years apart, investigating the effects of sampling effort on revealed patterns and recalculating the biodiversity indices and regionalisation.

Data management
Biodiversity data presents a number of challenges to traditional relational database development and management. Over thirty years I've gained a detailed knowledge of the information life cycle within both systematic survey and collections management environments, at both a project level and within an institutional framework. Both envirnoments present different challenges, in particular the management of unstructured, evolving data, and a key area of specialisation: the handling of taxonomic nomenclature. As new knowledge comes to hand our understanding of biological entities within nature changes, resulting in new taxon concepts and new names. This, combined with a comparatively cumbersome Linnaean structure (though, of course, in Linnaeus' time it was a substantial  improvement), presents many potential pitfalls in creating a supportive IT environment for scientific research, conservation planning and environmental impact assessment.

A key strategy in navigating these pitfalls was to create a species name management system that accomodated standard taxonomic workflow while addressing user needs for accessibility and functionality. Together with Alex Chapman and WA Herbarium staff, I designed a data model suitable for supporting complex data rules. I then developed and implemented WACensus, an Oracle-based system for managing both plant and animal names. This system has become the pediment for many related biodiversity information systems within DPaW and externally. WACensus, together with a number of data protocols, has been at the forefront of like systems within Australia for nearly 20 years.

To support the workflow associated with species data collection and management, I have also developed tools to support field data collection and the management of names data. Most recently, I've supervised the development of Max, a Microsoft Windows application that incorporates a plant specimen electronic collecting book, and name checking facility. While better tools are being developed that will be available over the next few years, Max is still one of the most widely used tool for this purpose within Western Australia.

Consulting and advice
I have been employed as an information consultant on various occasions, including the Queensland Herbarium and the State Herbarium of South Australia, to advise on strategic planning for their herbarium information systems. I have also represented the department and provided expert advice on numerous occasions, at both state and federal levels. Recent representation includes membership of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) Ecoinformatics Facility Data Providors Reference Group. Previous membership includes executive level IM governance commitees.

A strategic framework for biodiversity information management
Working within a conservation agency prompted the development of a more holistic framework for biodiversity information management (IM). In 2005 I conducted a study tour of five sister agencies within eastern Australia, to compare approaches. The resultant report (Gioia, 2005) made a number of recommendations to DEC Corporate Executive, calling for a radical shift in how IM skills, infrastructure and governance were implemented. This report was a crucial step in the subsequent implementation of a department-wide enterprise architecture process, which resulted in a review and transformation of existing IM governance and processes. In 2007 I developed these ideas further within the context of climate change and the need for access to longitudinal datasets, and the role institutional processes and personal attitudes to data management played in either hindering or promoting access to suitable data (Gioia, 2007).

Biodiversity Portals
In response to a historical lack of access to biodiversity data collected within the agency (both internally and externally), I prototyped and subsequently implemented NatureMap, an award-winning web portal targeted towards industry, consultants, conservation planners, researchers, community groups and the general public. NatureMap is a collaborative project with the Western Australian Museum (WAM), and warehouses the majority of major species biodiversity datasets within DPaW and WAM. There are current over 1500 registered users, with the largest proportion comprising industry and consultants.

While other excellent online resources like the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) have subsequently become available with the assistance of considerable federal funding, NatureMap still provides the most comprehensive resource available on WA biodiversity.


Projects

  • Examining patterns of plant biodiversity within south-west Western Australia
  • Online GIS biodiversity mapping

Publications (59)

Departmental Publications (59)

Found 59 items

2016

Gioia P (2016). ALA or State portal? A guide to selecting the right portal for the job (ABSTRACT). In Atlas of Living Australia Science Symposium: Tuesday 10 May 2016 to Friday 13 May 2016, Keiran McNamara Conservation Science Centre, Kensington, WA p. 17

Gioia P (2016). ALA or State portal? Selecting the right portal for the job. PowerPoint presentation at the Atlas of Living Australia Science Symposium: Tuesday 10 May 2016 to Friday 13 May 2016, Keiran McNamara Conservation Science Centre, Kensington, WA. 20 p.

2013

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2013). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2013: table 1, conspectus of families and genera with statistics. Available at https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/statistics/. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 9 p.

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2013). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2013: table 2, families ranked by number of species. Available at https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/statistics/. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 1 p.

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2013). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2013: table 3, genera ranked by number of species. Available at https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/statistics/. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 4 p.

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2013). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2013: table 4, size of vascular plant divisions. Available at https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/statistics/. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 1 p.

2012

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2012). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2012: table 1, conspectus of families and genera with statistics. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 9 p.

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2012). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2012: table 2, families ranked by number of species. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 1 p.

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2012). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2012: table 3, genera ranked by number of species. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 3 p.

Chapman A, Gioia P (comps) (2012). Census of the vascular plants of Western Australia, 1st June 2012: table 4, size of vascular plant divisions. Available at https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/statistics/. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 1 p.

Gioia P, Chapman AR (2012). Atlas of living Australia: where to now for state-based online systems? (ABSTRACT). In Program and Abstracts: Australasian Systematic Botany Society Conference 2012: Local Knowledge, Global Delivery: 23-28 September, Perth, Western Australia p. 29

2011

Bayliss B, Glossop B, Gioia P, Hogben J, Rick A, Richardson J et al. [Gamblin T] (2011). The Avon Native Vegetation Map Project. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 181 p.

Gioia P (2011). The native garden: reconnecting home and place. Landscope 27(1), pp. 48–51

2010

Gioia P (2010). Managing biodiversity data within the context of climate change: towards best practice. Austral Ecology 35, pp. 392–405

McKellar R, Midgley GF, Yates CJ, Abbott I, Gioia P, le Maitre D (2010). The need to develop a coherent research approach for climate change vulnerability impact assessment and adaptation in high-biodiversity terrestrial ecosystems. Austral Ecology 35, pp. 371–373

2009

Gioia P (2009). NatureMap: mapping Western Australia's biodiversity.

Gioia P (2009). NatureMap: mapping Western Australia’s biodiversity. Available at https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/about-us/science-and-research/publications-resources/111-science-division-information-sheets. 26/2009, 2 p.

2008

Gioia P (2008). NatureMap: a new online window into Western Australia’s biodiversity. Bushland News 68, p. 5

Gioia P (2008). NatureMap. PowerPoint presentation at NGO Industrial Environment Forum, 4-5 December 2008, Western Australian Herbarium and Perth Zoo. 14 p.

2007

Gioia P (2007). The management of network and communications infrastructure to effectively support core business requirements: a discussion paper. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 21 p.

McKellar R, Abbott I, Coates D, Gioia P, Keighery G, Maslin B et al. [Williams M, Yates C] (2007). Detailed editorial review of 'The implications of climate change for land-based nature conservation strategies by Odile Pouliquen-Young and Peter Newman, Murdoch University, 1999': prepared for the Australian Greenhouse Office. Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, WA. 49 p.

2005

Gioia P (2005). Improving information management within CALM: the results of a study tour in March, 2005 of five other conservation agencies within mainland Australia. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Kensington, WA. 53 p.

Hopper SD, Gioia P (2005). Scaling up: floristic hotspots and their uses for conservation (ABSTRACT). In Advances in Plant Conservation Biology: Implications for Flora Management and Restoration: Symposium Program and Abstracts 25-27 October 2005 p. 6

2004

Hopper SD, Gioia P (2004). The southwest Australian floristic region: evolution and conservation of a global hot spot of biodiversity. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 35, pp. 623–650

2002

Gioia P (2002). Database ownership and access issues: a discussion paper. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 85, pp. 147–150

2001

Spooner A, Gioia P (2001). Gaps in our knowledge of the distribution of our flora. Plant Press: Western Australian Regional Herbaria Newsletter 9, p. 4

2000

Beard JS, Chapman AR, Gioia P (2000). Species richness and endemism in the Western Australian flora. Journal of Biogeography 27, pp. 1257–1268

Gioia P, Pigott JP (2000). Biodiversity assessment: a case study in predicting richness from the potential distributions of plant species in the forests of south-western Australia. Journal of Biogeography 27, pp. 1065–1078

1999

Gioia P (1999). Mapping the future of the herbarium: the role of geographic information systems in enhancing the value of our vouchered science (ABSTRACT). In Dampier 300: Biodiversity in Australia, 1699-1999 and Beyond, 6 to 10 December 1999: Program and Abstracts p. 44

1998

Gioia P (1998). Biological informatics: the application of information science to the biological sciences: report on a conference held at the Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, 6-8th July 1998. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 7 p.

Gioia P (1998). Species biodiversity assessment: a case study in modelling plant species distributions in the forests of south-west Western Australia (ABSTRACT). In Biodiversity, Biotechnology and Biobusiness: 2nd Asia-Pacific Conference on Biotechnology: Perth, Western Australia, 23-27 November 1998: Programme and Abstracts p. 70

Gioia P, Pigott JP, Chapman AR (1998). Declared rare & priority flora: south west forest region, comprehensive regional assessment. - Scale 1:1 300 000 (MAP). Department of Conservation and Land Management, 1 map

Gioia P, Pigott JP, Chapman AR (1998). Species richness: comprehensive regional assessment, south west forest region. - Scale 1:1 300 000 (MAP). Department of Conservation and Land Management, 1 map

Gioia P, Pigott JP, Chapman AR (1998). Species richness: comprehensive regional assessment, south west forest region. - Scale 1:500 000 (MAP). Department of Conservation and Land Management, 1 map

Gioia P, Pigott JP, Cranfield RJ, Chapman AR (1998). Distribution mapping and key ecological attributes of plant species in the south-west forest region: final report: Western Australian Regional Forest Assessment. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 26 p.

Gioia P, Podger FD (1998). Development of protocols for priority setting in management systems essential to the protection of native biota threatened by Phytophthora. In Control of Phytophthora and Diplodina Canker in Western Australia: Final Report to the Threatened Species and Communities Unit, Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia, December 1998 Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, WA. pp. 11–20

1997

Gioia P, Chapman AR, Podger FD (1997). Development of GIS-based decision support tools and the databasing of Phytophthora-sensitive taxa. In Control of Phytophthora and Diplodina Canker in Western Australia: Final Report to the Threatened Species and Communities Unit, Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia, May 1997 Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, WA. pp. 80–97

1996

Bailey R, Chapman A, Dunn J, Gioia P, Moss J, Pearce C et al. [Soong P] (comps) (1996). The Internet and the CALM web: information and guidelines, browsing the Net, glossary. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 14 p.

Chapman AR, Gioia P (1996). Critical assessment of the Plant Biodiversity Information System: consultancy report: prepared for the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and State Herbarium. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 150 p.

Gioia P (1996). Supplementing geographic information systems with expert systems in catchment planning. In Conference Proceedings: 10th Annual Australia and 5th Annual South Asia ESRI and ERDAS User Conference: 4-6 September 1996, Radisson Observation City Hotel, Perth, Western Australia ESRI and ERDAS User Conference Committee, Perth. pp. 1–4

Gioia P (1996). The role of GIS and expert systems in developing catchment plans based on sustainable land use principles. Thesis (Postgrad.Dip.Sc.Geog.) -- University of Western Australia. 156 p.

Gioia P, Chapman AR (1996). Development of GIS-based decision-support tools and the databasing of Phytophthora-sensitive taxa. In Control of Phytophthora and Diplodina canker in Western Australia : progress report to the Endangered Species Unit, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, October 1996 Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, WA. p.

1995

Chapman A, Gioia P (1995). The smart collection. Landscope 10(4), pp. 49–53

Choo HC, Chapman AR, Gioia P (1995). WASPP user manual. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, WA. 716 p.

1994

Gioia P, Burgman M (1994). User manual for the Threatened Flora Database Management System. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, WA. 29 p.

Wills R, Conacher A, Chapman A, Gioia P, Behn G (1994). Development of GIS-based decision-support tools and the databasing of Phytophthora-sensitive taxa. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, WA. 2 p.

1993

Chapman AR, Gioia P (1993). Queensland Herbarium (BRI): analysis of strategic priorities and database recommendations. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 15 p.

Gioia P (1993). SEDIT for Paradox (DOS) user guide. Version 1.2. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 64 p.

Gioia P (1993). WACENSUS: the census of Western Australian plants: data dictionary. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 11 p.

Gioia P, Burgman M (1993). User manual for the declared endangered flora database management system. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 26 p.

1992

Gioia P (1992). Network user notes. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Woodvale, WA. 35 p.

Gioia P (1992). Networking Science and Information Division. CALMScience News 1/92, p. 22

Gioia P (1992). Standardising species names and codes (ABSTRACT). p. 6

1991

Gioia P (1991). Computers, research and pretty pictures. Australian Ranger Bulletin 6(2), pp. 19–20

Gioia P (1991). Herbie: version 2.11: a plant specimen labelling utility. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 35 p.

1990

Gioia P (1990). D.E.F. administration manual. - Rev. 2.0. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 7 p.

Gioia P (1990). Species codes, the census and other problems: a discussion paper. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 9 p.

1984

Gioia P (1984). The atlas of Western Australian flora: pilot project : FLORAPLOT, a computer based data management and graphic display system. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Woodvale, WA. 105 p.

1983

Crook I, Moore S, Gioia P (1983). Department of Fisheries & Wildlife. In Land Information System Advisory Committee: SIG Rural: Rural Joint Project February-November 1983: Technical Report Land Information System Advisory Committee, Perth. pp. 91–111