This figure illustrates the three dimensions of biodiversity. This solicitation targets the area where all three overlap.

In its initial phase, the program will target three fundamental dimensions of biodiversity - genetic diversity, taxonomic diversity, and functional diversity. Genetic diversity includes but is not limited to nucleotide sequence diversity at neutral or coding loci or genomic (proteomic, transcriptomic) diversity. Taxonomic diversity refers to evolutionary lineages at and above the level of the population. Functional diversity includes but is not limited to aspects of ecosystem function such as energy flow, material cycling, or ecological resilience. (See examples listed below.) For this year's solicitation, research projects must integrate all three of these dimensions of biodiversity (Fig. 1) with the goal of understanding the interactions and feedbacks among these dimensions. Innovative approaches are encouraged in order to accelerate the characterization and understanding of these three dimensions of biodiversity and their relative importance; empirical, experimental, theoretical, and modeling approaches are all appropriate. Projects may incorporate the context provided by one or more drivers of biodiversity loss (e.g. climate change; over-exploitation of natural resources; planetary re-engineering such as land use change, water diversions, coastal development, fertilizer use; and the intentional or unintentional movement of species), although this is not a requirement of the solicitation. All projects must ensure that data and biological materials are collected, archived, digitized, and made available using methods that allow current and future investigators to address new questions as they arise. Funded projects must disseminate project data broadly, using widely accepted electronic data standards.  Rapid online access to data via existing resources (e.g. Genbank) is strongly encouraged. All PIs will be expected to adhere to community standards where these exist (i.e. Taxonomic Databases, genome sequence data).  Community standards and interoperability methods will be developed at a later phase of the campaign for areas where none exist and continued support of projects funded in this first year will be contingent upon adoption of those standards.

This figure appears in NSF 12-528, Dimensions of Biodiversity.