Background and Objectives

Background

Digital imagery has offered us the opportunity to focus our passion for travel and exploration on helping to document the world’s biodiversity by developing this website as an adjunct to formal scientific collections. Along the way we are focusing on families and genera that have a biogeographical story to reveal and on pollination relationships when the opportunity arises.

Objectives

  • Develop and maintain a freely available and helpful website for botanically oriented users.
  • Maintain and expand a content of digital images curated to generally accepted professional standards and supported by vouchered herbarium specimens whenever possible.
  • Include a minimum of one genus per family and, with continued development, several to many genera.
  • Accompany plant images with images of surrounding habitats.
  • Attempt to record diagnostic characteristics of taxa.

The site currently includes all but 44 angiosperm families as recognized in APG III, about 3500 genera, and perhaps 14,000 species from all continents and 36 countries. Our focus has been on biodiversity hotspots (so far, California, northern Andes, SE Spain, Viet Nam, West Africa, Madagascar, Borneo), but not exclusively, and because we never find everything we look for the first time, it is usually necessary to make repeat trips. Metadata attached to each image is constantly updated or upgraded to keep names current and to provide GPS locations where these were initially missing on images published at the beginning of the website (2008). This is a work in progress and will essentially never be completed, but we do what we can to keep up with name changes. Our goal is to be maintained at a level comparable to a standard well-curated herbarium.

The site currently includes all but 44 angiosperm families as recognized in APG III, about 3500 genera, and perhaps 14,000 species from all continents and 36 countries. Our focus has been on biodiversity hotspots (so far, California, northern Andes, SE Spain, Viet Nam, West Africa, Madagascar, Borneo), but not exclusively, and because we never find everything we look for the first time, it is usually necessary to make repeat trips. Metadata attached to each image is constantly updated or upgraded to keep names current and to provide GPS locations where these were initially missing on images published at the beginning of the website (2008). This is a work in progress and will essentially never be completed, but we do what we can to keep up with name changes. Our goal is to be maintained at a level comparable to a standard well-curated herbarium.

For the future. We offer the opportunity for others to share their documented images on our website. The project encompasses a great deal more than we two can possibly achieve and our hope is that we can encourage others to join us while maintaining professional standards. Our site is building links to Tropicos, the well-established Missouri Botanical Garden taxonomic database, and eventually all our content will be available there as well.