Integrating Biodiversity Data into Botanic Collections
2016, Biodiversity Data Journal
- Date: 20 May 2016
Today's species names are entry points into a web of publicly available knowledge and are integral parts of legislation concerning biological conservation and consumer safety. Species information usually is fragmented, can be misleading due to the existence of different names and might even be biased because of an identical name that is used for a different species. Safely navigating through the name space is one of the most challenging tasks when associating names with data and when decisions are made which name to include in legislation. Integrating publicly available dynamic data to characterise plant genetic resources of botanic gardens and other facilities will significantly increase the efficiency of recovering relevant information for research projects, identifying potentially invasive taxa, constructing priority lists and developing DNA-based specimen authentication.
To demonstrate information availability and discuss integration into botanic collections, scientific names derived from botanic gardens were evaluated using the Encyclopedia of Life, The Catalogue of Life and The Plant List. 98.5% of the names could be verified by the combined use of these providers. Comparing taxonomic status information 13 % of the cases were in disagreement. About 7 % of the verified names were found to be included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, including one extinct taxon and three taxa with the status "extinct in the wild". As second most important factor for biodiversity loss, potential invasiveness was determined. Approximately 4 % of the verified names were detected using the Global Invasive Species Information Network, including 208 invasive taxa. According to Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe around 20 % of the verified names are European alien taxa including 15 of the worst European invasive taxa. Considering alternative names in the data recovery process, success increased up to 18 %.