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Abstract Detail

Leveraging the use of herbarium collections in modern systematics—examples from Pteridology

Vasco, Alejandra [1], Moran, Robbin [1], Tulig, Melissa [2].

Electronic Monographs.

Taxonomic monographs are the basis for many other studies in comparative biology. They often provide evidence to determine which species constitute a clade, the distributions and characteristics of these species, and how they differ from each other. Taxonomic monographs face two main challenges. First, they are often considered to have little intellectual content and are seen as a static descriptive science whose primary function is identification. Second, because taxonomic monographs typically contain a lot of information, many journals limit authors to presenting only part of the evidence used to compile the monograph. With these challenges in mind, we created two websites for our recent monographic projects: the “Elaphoglossum Pages” ( and “Megalastrum: an electronic monograph” ( These websites make publically available in a single location all the information that we have accumulated on the taxonomy and biology of these two genera. This is a good way to not only share all the evidence used in making taxonomic decisions, but also to generate collaborations and discussions with other researchers or the general public. The websites combine standing webpages with basic information that is updated regularly, and pages that display the information uploaded at the New York Botanical Garden collections management system, KEEmuTM. The pages contain information on all recognized species, descriptions, binomials, author names, pdf files of protologues, specimen examined (including the ability to map each specimen, or all the specimens collectively), images of spores, herbarium specimens, and/or living plants, and keys. The information uploaded to KEEmuTM is available in real time. These websites should be useful to many researchers—such as conservationists, foresters, taxonomists—and stimulate further research on the genera. They could also serve as a model for other researchers studying different groups of organisms.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Elaphoglossum pages
Megalastrum: an electronic monograph

1 - The New York Botanical Garden, 200th St. & Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, USA
2 - The New York Botanical Garden, Herbarium, 200th St. & Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458-5126, USA


Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY3
Location: Ballroom C/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 8:10 AM
Number: SY3002
Abstract ID:542

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