Abstract Detail

Floristics & Taxonomy

Barkworth, Mary [1], Valles, Kristian [2], Billings, Garrett [3], Dyreson, Curtis [4].

New approaches to the maintenance and preparation of floras.

Regional floras are incredibly valuable resources. Using them, students learn to identify plants that they have not seen before; become familiar with botanical terminology; develop their understanding of taxa and their distribution; learn their local flora; and are introduced to nomenclatural concepts. Moreover, by stimulating interest, they lead to the discovery of new taxa, thereby playing a role in outdating their content. Floras differ in the extent to which they address these areas, but their importance as gateways to understanding plant diversity is hard to overestimate and easy to overlook. They are also time-consuming and expensive to produce. Taxonomic revisions appear to impact a larger proportion of the content but they often have minimal impact on significant portions, such as the descriptions, distribution maps, and illustrations. Our approach involves identifying the individual components of an ideal flora and evaluating how best to develop/maintain them. For example, geographic distribution information is best provided by herbarium- and image-based records as done by Symbiota networks. Nomenclatural information and usage are effectively summarized in Tropicos. Permission to use published descriptions, illustrations, and images can often be obtained by agreeing to acknowledge the source. Symbiota networks can integrate such resources. Identification, the primary use of most floras, can be approached via structured, semistructured, and unstructured keys. Structured keys, such as dichotomous keys, are most familiar. KeyBase enables sharing these, viewing them in three different formats, and linking terminal taxa to taxon pages. Semistructured keys present used with several alternatives at each step, the alternatives presented depending on the previous choices. Symbiota can generate such keys from either a prepared or dynamically generated checklist. Unstructured keys, also known as multiaccess, keys, allow users to select the characters used at each step. DELTA and LUCID are programs for generating such keys. The impediment to use of both semi-structured and unstructured key is the need to develop an underlying morphological database for the taxa involved. Wikipedia suggests an effective approach to addressing terminology, the bane of all botany students (and their teachers). Our presentation will demonstrate how existing software is being used to start implementing this approach in revising the online treatment of North America grasses and in developing a Flora of Northern Utah. We shall also discuss the developments needed to make the approach described more valuable to preparation of floras and other projects.

Related Links:
KeyBase: teaching old keys new tricks
Tropicos: connecting the world to botanical data
OpenHerbarium: a Symbiota network for sharing herbarium information
Wikipedia: a free, online encyclopedia
Wikipedia: a free, online encyclopedia
Intermountainbiota: connecting to herbaria contributing to the SEINet network
Symbiota2: software for synthesizing collection-related biodiversity information

1 - Utah State University, Department Of Biology, 5305 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT, 84322, United States
2 - 7560 South Hwy 89, Willard, UT, 84340, United States
3 - Weber State University, Botany Department, 1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2504, Ogden, UT, 84408, USA
4 - Utah State University, Computer Science Department, 4205 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT, 84322-4205, USA

Northern Utah
North America
Biodiversity Informatics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: FT1, Floristics & Taxonomy I
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2020
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: FT1FT002
Abstract ID:319
Candidate for Awards:None

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