Progress report to NBII, March, 2011

Cooperative research on biodiversity informatics:
Creation of web-based tools for invasive species identification, reporting
mapping, and other biodiversity information

Cooperative Agreement
The Polistes Foundation

John Pickering
University of Georgia, Athens

Progress Report for period 16 December 2010 - 15 March 2011
Submitted 20 March, 2011

Updated: 24 March, 2011

Identification Guides
This quarter we continued our efforts on wildflowers and moths.


  • Expansion of North American plant guides (Identification Guides)
  • Customized Plant Guide for pilot sites (Outreach)
    • The customized guide for Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado now resolves to 5 species, to allow user to compare images.
    • We are close to completion of scoring the "front page characters" for the states of Georgia and Maryland.
Identification Guides - Other:
  • We continue building moth guides and are currently working on the Noctuidae.
Deliverable: Field station partners - providing support for pilot study sites
  • We have added five additional study sites. The pages for these are accessible from the master study site page, along with a map with live links for each.
    See: Study Sites
  • From these new sites we have incorporated 20 checklists of plants, birds, butterflies, mammals, fish, lichens, for many of our study sites, and have checked names on all of these.
Deliverable: Mapping and data integration:
  • Resolve taxonomic homonyms issue by taking into account scientific name and family names to disambiguate:
    • We continue building a database to reconcile generic problems across different taxonomic codes. This database now has over 1200 genera (up from 350 as of last report) that correctly use the same name in different families (as in Stelis).

      Becka Walcott has manually corrected name error occurrences, reconciling Discover Life names with authorities, and correcting synonyms, incorrect families, and misspellings. Only 200 names remain, waiting for information from taxonomic authorities in the Mollusca.

  • John Pickering and Rebecca Walcott have cleaned up the Dicotyledon guide so that it will become a valid management tool for unusual species (mainly exotics/ invasives) rather than a dumping place for invalid names.
  • Encyclopedia of Life partnership
    • Encyclopedia of Life will display our maps on their species pages. Once we resolve issues with correct species names, EOL will be ready to go live with our maps.
  • Incorporation of photographs from Flickr accounts
    • We now have the capability to incorporate photographs and species names from Flickr accounts and have gained 15,000 new species photographs in this manner, some of rare species. These species photographs will be added to our ID guides and species pages.
  • National Coodinated Bioblitz
    • The Ecological Society of America SEEDS National Coordinated BioBlitz has adopted Discover Life protocols for collecting photographic data. Participating students will collect data in April on 12 college campuses across the continent and in Puerto Rico.

Deliverables table from SOW, for reference:

Identification Guides 1,000-2,000 diagnostic photographs taken by students, for expansion of North American Plant Guides OCT 2010
Incorporation of photographs by expert cooperators (e.g. Les Mehrhoff) into Discover Life guides JUN 2011
External Web site integration into plant guide mashups; 5 new sites NOV 2010
External Web site integration into plant guide mashups; additional 5 new sites JUN 2011
Smart Phone Compatibility Pilot version of iPhone identification guide JUN 2011
Conversion of species checklists into handheld-friendly format JAN 2011
Pilot version of Global Mapper in handheld-friendly format JUN 2011
Pilot version of Image Album in handheld-friendly format NOV 2010
Outreach Customized plant guide for pilot sites MAY 2011
Teach photography protocols AUG 2010
Moth Party event AUG 2010
Lead plant photography field trip OCT 2010
Organize Bee Hunt event SEP 2010
Conduct surveys of lichens MAY 2011
Biological Field Station outreach presentation SEP 2010
Report on additional Field Station partners FEB 2010
Mapping and Data Integration Resolve taxonomic homonyms issue by taking into account scientific name and family name to disambiguate JUN 2011
Progress Reports First Quarter Technical Progress Report30 SEP 2010
Second Quarter Technical Progress Report30 DEC 2010
Third Quarter Technical Progress Report30 MAR 2010
Final Technical Progress Report30 JUN 2010

Discover Life | All Living Things | IDnature guides | Global Mapper | The Polistes Foundation | Report & Proposal