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Abstract Detail

Integrating Plant Systematics

Mast, Austin [1].

Digital images in the emerging cyberinfrastructure for systematics.

Humans have been interpreting information in images far longer than we have been interpreting strings of technical terms or mathematical equations used to describe that information. Often, persons outside of narrowly defined domains of science (including other scientists) find images to be invaluable for interpreting domain specific knowledge. Digital images broaden the possibilities for communication and manipulation of image-based information on the web and in existing and planned components of cyberinfrastructure. I will draw from my experience with two projects, the Deep South Plant Specimen Imaging Project (DSPSIP) and MorphBank, to explore the current and future role of digital images in systematics. DSPSIP is currently a proof-of-concept collaboration among five institutions with the goal of jump-starting the collection of digital biodiversity information for the East Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion. Stretching from Florida to Louisiana, the ecoregion is one of North America's biodiversity hotspots. Digital imaging is the first step in a workflow designed to digitally deploy information from a tightly coordinated sampling of 100,000 herbarium specimens (ca. 20,000 at each institution). I will discuss the efficiencies made possible by managing the digital representation of the physical specimens from the earliest part of the workflow. The second project that I will discuss, MorphBank, is both a repository for digital images and a collaboratory – a digital environment for collaboration on projects involving image-based information. The tools in the MorphBank collaboratory are constantly expanding, and I will focus on the subset relevant to systematics. In particular, I will discuss the digital object collection interface (called “My Collection”) and the annotation interface. The annotation interface allows users to associate digital images with each other and with other digital objects (e.g., scientific names, character states) in a structured way. I will illustrate how these interfaces provide efficiencies for taxonomic and morphological phylogenetics workflows.

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Related Links:
Deep South eFlora Workshop
Mast Faculty Page

1 - Florida State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Tallahasse, Florida, 32306-1100, USA

Digital images
Deep South Plant Specimen Imaging Project

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C03
Location: Boulevard C/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 3:15 PM
Number: C03007
Abstract ID:2194

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