[Taxacom] Early Land Plants Today - Announcing a project to unite Liverwort Taxonomy, Nomenclature, & Geography.

Matt von Konrat mvonkonrat at fieldmuseum.org
Mon Feb 25 23:51:20 CST 2008

Announcing a new project funded by the Global Biological Information
Facility (GBIF).

We are excited to announce the launch of a project entitled Early Land
Plants Today: Uniting Liverwort Taxonomy, Nomenclature, & Geography.

Project Summary: Liverworts (Marchantiophyta) are pivotal in our
understanding of early land plant evolution. They form a conspicuous and
important component in many terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world.
The objective is to unify the vastly scattered biological literature on
liverwort taxonomy, nomenclature, and geography. We have already developed
a preliminary dataset, derived from over 3000 publications and
contributions from the bryological community. This represents the most
comprehensive catalogue of liverworts worldwide, including systematic and
taxonomic information for approximately 30,000 names and synonyms
representing over 9000 taxa, coupled with over 360,000 distribution
records derived from almost 450 geo-political units. The unification of
nomenclatural, taxonomic, and geographical data has many implications and
useful applications, including the study of species richness, patterns of
diversity, and conservation. GBIF funding will allow the first phase to be
completed and data to be migrated into the Field Museum's Collection
Database (KE EMu). New data will be recorded and added as they are
synthesized, and, combined with the extensive information already
gathered, it will all be made public through the internet. Significantly,
our databasing efforts will contribute data to other international
databasing activities such as GBIF, Species 2000, MoST TROPICOS, NSF and
other scientific programs, as well as the Encyclopedia of Life project.

Community Participation: In recognition that the documentation of
synonymies and distribution ranges on a global scale is a massively
challenging task, we actively seek and encourage contributions from the
bryological community to improve the quality of the data and to reach a
consensus on "accepted" taxa. The quality of the data lies strongly on
collaboration between institutions and the bryological community in
general. Through an earlier phase of the project we received contributions
from over 20 colleagues throughout the world, providing valuable feedback
and contributing towards synonymy and distributional data. We wish to
continue to foster this endeavour, inviting and encouraging community
participation. We have a variety of media to provide feedback and the
provision of data, including pass-word protected web access to aspects of
the data and a google group/message board.

If interested in contributing please contact: Matt von Konrat, Ph.D.
Department of Botany, The Field Museum. 1400 South Lake Shore Drive,
Chicago, IL  60605-2496, U.S.A.
Email: mvonkonrat at fieldmuseum.org

Acknowledgements: The compilation and maintenance of the data is being
directed by Anders Hagborg (The Field Museum, Chicago) and Lars Söderström
(Department of Biology, NTNU, Norway). John Engel (The Field Museum,
Chicago) is a leading consultant and contributing vast resources. However,
acknowledgement of the broader community is warranted because it has been
their contributions that have helped create this opportunity. Primary
collaborators include: Robbert Gradstein (University of Göttingen,
Göttingen, Germany); Rui-Liang Zhu (East China Normal University,
Shanghai, China); Matt Renner (University of Sydney, New South Wales,
Australia). Critical participants have included: Elizabeth Brown
(University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia); Barbara
Crandall-Stotler and Raymond Stotler (Southern Illinois University,
Illinois, U.S.A.), Gregorio Dauphin (Missouri Botanical Gardens, Missouri,
U.S.A.), David Glenny (Landcare Research, New Zealand), Jochen Heinrichs
(University of Göttingen, Germany), Aino Juslén (University of Helsinki,
Finland), Robert Magill (Missouri Botanical Gardens, Missouri, U.S.A.),
David Meagher (University of Melbourne), Sinikka Piippo (University of
Helsinki, Finland), Tamás Pócs (Eszterházy College, Hungary), Elena
Reiner-Drehwald (University of Göttingen, Germany), Li Zhang (The
University of Hong Kong), and Dulip Daniels (Scott Christian College, India).

Matt von Konrat, Ph.D.
Collections Manager (Bryophytes and Pteridophytes)
Department of Botany
The Field Museum
1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL  60605-2496, U.S.A.
Phone: (312) 665-7864
Fax: 312 665-7158
Email: mvonkonrat at fieldmuseum.org

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