FSU leads botanical research into 21st century: Deep South Plant Specimen Imaging Project

re digitally imaged, annotated and posted online in the same way that DSPSIP plans to produce and present 100,000 more: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu/search-specimens.php.

Among the most threatened ecosystems in the East Gulf Coastal Plain are the longleaf pine-dominated wetlands and uplands that now encompass less than five percent of their original extent, according to Gil Nelson, a research associate at the FSU Herbarium and courtesy faculty member of biological science at FSU. A respected naturalist, botanical author and photographer of the region with expertise in computer programming and data management, Nelson will work with Mast as the project coordinator for DSPSIP.

His work will begin in earnest this spring. During phase one of the multi-institution collaboration -- conceived in 2005 at an FSU-hosted "Deep South eFlora" workshop that garnered national attention -- essential software will be built and installed on the FSU server, a special database will be created, an online "bulletin board" will go up to aid communication between technicians at DSPSIP institutions, and photographers will attend a digital imaging training workshop.

By next summer, the project will have produced 100,000 annotated digital recordings of plant specimens from across the ecoregion. Then, DSPSIP will ensure the broad distribution of those images by submitting them to Web sites such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility portal (www.gbif.org).

But most notably, they will be deposited in "MorphBank" -- the Webs gigantic repository of flora and fauna images paired with searchable digital annotations by expert biologists (www.morphbank.net). A range of FSU researchers -- including Mast as a co-principal investigator -- have contributed to MorphBanks creation and refinement.

Depositing images into the vast MorphBank will enable

Contact: Austin Mast
Florida State University

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