The comparative approach, whether applied to traits, genes, or trees, forms the foundation of biological research. Moving these data into a semantic framework enables their integration and provides the potential for powerful new computational tools to aid discovery.
For example, trait similarities can be quantified, assessed against trees to determine whether based in homology or homoplasy, and linked back to candidate genes. Another example is the ability to automatically construct a matrix on the fly, for a user-selected set of traits and taxa.
Challenges with the approach include annotation of the vast biodiversity legacy data, though new data may be born semantic.