Transcript Slide 1

Field Work, Floras, Monographs, and
other Resources for Plant Systematics
Spring 2010
• Science of organismal diversity
• Discovery, description and interpretation of
biological diversity
• Discovery and description of the
evolutionary tree of life (phylogeny)
• Synthesis of information in the form of
predictive classification systems
• Production of identification tools (e.g., keys,
floras and faunas, monographs, databases,
What systematists do
(when they are not doing phylogenetics)
• Field work
• Specimens/herbaria
• Databases, keys
• Floras, monographs, websites
Important steps in doing field work
• Figure out where the plants grow
(herbarium specimens, databases)
• Make contacts in those countries
• Solicit appropriate collecting and
export permits
• Find the funds to do the field work!
• Get the proper equipment (either take it
with you or get it when you arrive)
Important steps cont’d.
• Arrange for transportation (and lodging if
visiting a field station)
• Collect the specimens (take any necessary
measurements in the field; take photos)
• Process the specimens (drying, sorting into
• Make and distribute the labels (including
• Arrange for shipping of your duplicates to
your institution
Buds and leaves preserved
In alcohol for anatomical study
Leaves in silica gel
for DNA extraction
Appendix Two, Figures 1 and 2
Ada Hayden Herbarium
Iowa State University
Chusquea latifolia
Chusquea serpens
(Costa Rica)
Collections of Chusquea serpens from Costa Rica
Map of C. latifolia
strict consensus
of 3,425 trees
rpl16 intron
sequence data
(gaps removed,
978 characters)
and binary indel
data (20 characters)
(Arundinaria appalachiana)
Writing Keys
• Parallel information for all taxa is
needed; a table of taxa by characters is
a good way to start
• Dichotomous keys (still the most
widely available) require mutually
exclusive choices
• Characters need to be precisely defined
and use measurements instead of
general terms like “small” and “large”
Writing Keys cont’d.
• Use characters that are as easily
available/observable as possible
• Couplets start with a noun followed by
• Leads should be strictly parallel and
use positive contrasting conditions
• Keys do not need to track phylogeny,
they simply need to discriminate
among the taxa
Appendix Two, Figure 3
Grasses of Iowa
Ada Hayden Herbarium
Iowa State University
Flora of North America