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Advancing access to biodiversity data using the SALIX method and digital field guides

Description

The Arizona State University Herbarium began in 1896 when Professor Fredrick Irish collected the first recorded Arizona specimen for what was then called the Tempe Normal School - a Parkinsonia

The Arizona State University Herbarium began in 1896 when Professor Fredrick Irish collected the first recorded Arizona specimen for what was then called the Tempe Normal School - a Parkinsonia microphylla. Since then, the collection has grown to approximately 400,000 specimens of vascular plants and lichens. The most recent project includes the digitization - both the imaging and databasing - of approximately 55,000 vascular plant specimens from Latin America. To accomplish this efficiently, possibilities in non-traditional methods, including both new and existing technologies, were explored. SALIX (semi-automatic label information extraction) was developed as the central tool to handle automatic parsing, along with BarcodeRenamer (BCR) to automate image file renaming by barcode. These two developments, combined with existing technologies, make up the SALIX Method. The SALIX Method provides a way to digitize herbarium specimens more efficiently than the traditional approach of entering data solely through keystroking. Using digital imaging, optical character recognition, and automatic parsing, I found that the SALIX Method processes data at an average rate that is 30% faster than typing. Data entry speed is dependent on user proficiency, label quality, and to a lesser degree, label length. This method is used to capture full specimen records, including close-up images where applicable. Access to biodiversity data is limited by the time and resources required to digitize, but I have found that it is possible to do so at a rate that is faster than typing. Finally, I experiment with the use of digital field guides in advancing access to biodiversity data, to stimulate public engagement in natural history collections.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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The Phoenix Four Rivers Flora, Maricopa County, Arizona

Description

ABSTRACT The Phoenix Four Rivers Flora is an inventory of all the vascular plants growing along the Salt, Gila, New and Agua Fria Rivers, and their tributaries in the

ABSTRACT The Phoenix Four Rivers Flora is an inventory of all the vascular plants growing along the Salt, Gila, New and Agua Fria Rivers, and their tributaries in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area during the years of the study (2009-2011). This floristic inventory documents the plant species and habitats that exist currently in the project area, which has changed dramatically from previous times. The data gathered by the flora project thus not only documents how the current flora has been altered by urbanization, but also will provide a baseline for future ecological studies. The Phoenix Metropolitan Area is a large urbanized region in the Sonoran Desert of Central Arizona, and its rivers are important for the region for many uses including flood control, waste water management, recreation, and gravel mining. The flora of the rivers and tributaries within the project area is extremely diverse; the heterogeneity of the systems being caused by urbanization, stream modification for flood control, gravel mining, and escaped exotic species. Hydrological changes include increased runoff in some areas because of impermeable surfaces (e.g. paved streets) and decreased runoff in other areas due to flood retention basins. The landscaping trade has introduced exotic plant species that have escaped into urban washes and riparian areas. Many of these have established with native species to form novel plant associations.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011