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About the Chinese Virtual Herbarium (CVH)
发布日期:2009-07-12       作者:CVH   点击次数:7479

Chinese Virtual Herbarium
On-line access to herbarium specimen and botanical information
I. Background and Goals

China is one of the megadiverse countries in the world. With 6.4% of the land area of the earth, China contains 8% of the world’s plant species. This totals more than 30,000 species, many of which are endemic. As a result of an extensive synonomy, there are about 100,000 names for these species recorded in the national and regional floras. This synonymy is also reflected in the names on the sixteen million specimens housed in Chinese herbaria.

The Chinese Virtual Herbarium (CVH) is an on-line portal allowing access to herbarium specimen information and other botanical knowledge. CVH is a collaboration among more than 20 major herbaria in China (see list of participating herbaria at the end of this leaflets) with the aim of creating comprehensive and sustainable access to scholarly resources about China’s plant biodiversity. Its long-term goal is the production and maintenance of a comprehensive online database aggregating and linking information that is presently scattered around China, and the world. The database will dramatically improve access to this information for students, scholars, and scientists worldwide, and for public users as well. One of CVH’s initial goals is to encourage Chinese scholars and experts, mainly plant taxonomists, to collect data and organize specimens into botanical databases covering China’s plant species. Once included in CHV, it will be possible to access this information globally.

Ⅱ.Main Databases

A. Specimen Database. This database consists of the label data and specimen images. Currently there are data on more than 2.8 million specimens from participating herbaria in the database. The data include the scientific name, collection date, collector name & collection number, location, habitat (incl. topography), vegetation community, and plant features (e.g., color). The data have been digitalized and linked to the specimen images. An additional 724 0 type specimens deposited in Institute of Botany in Beijing(PE) are also available in the database. High-resolution images of type specimens are linked to their publication authorities. The current data mainly come from the herbaria supervised by the Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS) system (e.g., PE, KUN, IBSC) . The ongoing working schedule aims to cover other herbaria belonging to university and regional institutions. The database could contain as many as four million records by 2008.

B. Species Checklist (Catalog of Life China Plant). Establishing a list of biota species is the fundamental work in integrating biodiversity-related databases (e.g., databases on specimens, literature, geographic distribution, basic descriptions, ecology and protected plants). More than 34,000 accepted names of species native to China have been added so far. The completion of a comprehensive checklist, including all legitimate names and a full synonymy is being undertaken. When complete with ca. 100,000 names (by 2008), the checklist(Catalog of Life China Plant) will act as the nomenclatural backbone of the database.

C. Flora and Photographic Database. Each plant species name in CVH is linked with three main databases: the Specimen Database, Flora Database, and a Photographic Database. Examples of floras that have been digitized and included in CVH include the Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae (FRPS, 80 vols.), Iconographia Cormophytorum Sinicorum (ICS, five vols. and two supplements). With the as yet incomplete Flora of China, both are basic references for the study of Chinese plants. FRPS is available through CVH as a set of PDF files, while the full text of ICS is available for retrieval. These floras can be searched by Latin or Chinese name, and have become the top click in the website. The photographic gallery contains color photos of China plants. More than 50,000 color photographs covering 5,700 native Chinese species have been added so far. These photographs are mainly from the native plants in different parts of China.

D.Fern and Moss Multiple Databases. These two groups of cryptogam are arranged by special column in the website with aggregating information, including species checklist, terminology illustration, expert introduction and newsletter. The list of China bryophyte and pteridophyte contain 2407 species and 2676 species respectively.

E. Other Related Databases. Other databases digitalized from the essential references for the study of herbarium specimens can be searched through the CVH interface. Among the most useful are the database of collection gazetteer, database of Chinese herbaria, and a database of authors of plant names. The Collection Gazetteer contains a listing of specimen collection sites at end of the 19th century and early 20th century. Many of these site names are no longer in use, so the current site name along with its longitude and latitude have been added to the database. The Collection Gazetteer currently contains 2,000 entries of eleven provinces in China. The Herbarium Database contains the information from Index Herbariorum Sinicorum, and its updates. It covers more than 300 Chinese herbaria, including the name, acronym, address, contact data, features of the collection, and information on the staff associated with the herbarium. The database of Authors of Plant Names contains data on about 3,500 authors, including their full name, and standardized abbreviation (following Brummitt & Powell 1992). Some records include information on the institution, and taxa of expertise. The names of Chinese authors (919 entries) are also accompanied by their Chinese name and work institution.

In addition, an inquiry system and a registration system, which allows users to register to receive updates about CVS, are being developed.

F. Other Information and Services. The home page of CVH has links to the following areas: Introduction, News and Related Information. There are also links to other virtual herbaria, as well as pages where users can leave feedback and comments.

Ⅲ.Future Outlook

In order to meet the needs of its service community, CVH will have to be continuously updated and maintained. This includes the addition of new specimen data and species lists, and the revision of existing specimen data. For this to be successful, scholars must take the initiative to update the information in the databases. The site’s maintenance organization (Institute of Botany, CAS) has developed a mechanism to invite taxonomists to assist with this work. The next phase is to incorporate digitized data such as photos, morphological, ecological and literature data to the database. CVH’s Catalog of Life China Plant will be the major portal for accessing this information.

The current priority of CVH is to develop an English version as soon as possible. Furthermore, an uniform framework will be developed for the website, i.e., each participating herbarium will has a portal to receive requests and to deliver data to CVH. A common query interface will be used throughout. CVH will also provide advanced tools for searching, exploring, and analyzing its contents, especially the specimen information data. Other tools will allow images to be rotated and measured.

After completing the works mentioned above, CVH will be the primary a data-sharing platform for plant taxonomy in China, will serve as the national taxonomic standard for plant names, and will provide a solid foundation for future biodiversity studies.

Ⅳ.Participating Herbarium

Chengdu Institute of Biology,CAS

Kunming Institute of Botany,CAS

Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology,CAS

Shenyang Institute of Applied Ecology,CAS

South Chiuna Botanical Garden,CAS

Wuhan Botanical Garden,CAS

Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography,CAS

Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, CAS

Guangxi Institute of Botany, CAS

Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province and CAS

Lushan Botanic Garden, Jiangxi Province & CAS

Guangxi Institue of Medicine & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Guizhou Institute of Biologly

Hangzhou Botanical Garden

Hangzhou Normal University

Henan Normal University

Hunan University of Science and Technology

Inner Mongolia University

Nanjing University

Nankai University

Northwest A-F Science and Technology University

Sichuan University,

Sun Yat-Sen University

Ⅴ.Main Sponsors

Ministry of Science and Technology, People’s Republic of China

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Contact details:

Dr.Qin Haining

Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Xiangshan, Beijing, 100093, China

Tel :[86]10 62836023 Fax :[86]10 82593448

E-mail : hainingqin@ibcas.ac.cn

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