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01.01.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 1/2014

Biodiversity and Conservation 1/2014

Lacunas: a web interface to identify plant knowledge gaps to support informed decision-making

Zeitschrift:
Biodiversity and Conservation > Ausgabe 1/2014
Autoren:
Dora Ann Lange Canhos, Mariane S. Sousa-Baena, Sidnei Souza, Letícia Couto Garcia, Renato De Giovanni, Leonor Costa Maia, Maria Beatriz Machado Bonacelli

Abstract

Scientists from megadiverse countries, such as Brazil, face huge challenges in gathering and analyzing information about species richness and abundance. In Brazil, speciesLink is an e-infrastructure that offers free and open access to data from more than 300 biological and data collections. SpeciesLink’s thematic network, INCT-Virtual Herbarium of Plants and Fungi  and the List of Species of the Brazilian Flora, are used as primary data sources to develop Lacunas, an information system with a public web interface that generates detailed reports of the status of plant species occurrence data. Lacunas also integrates information about endemism, conservation status, and collecting efforts over time. Here we describe the motivation and the functionality of this system, showing how it can be useful in detecting under-sampled plant species and geographic areas. We show examples of how knowledge can be extracted from biodiversity primary data using Lacunas. For instance, Lacunas report revealed that 111 angiosperm species (10.3 %), currently considered Data Deficient (DD) in the Official List of Threatened Brazilian Flora, have their distribution well characterized. In addition, the situation of Attalea funifera, a native palm classified as DD, was analyzed in detail, together with other use cases. Information presented in Lacunas reports can thus be used by scientists and policy-makers to help evaluate the status of species occurrence data and prioritize digitization and collecting efforts, as well as some features concerning its conservation status. As Lacunas offers a public online interface, it may also become a valuable tool for helping decision-making processes to become more dynamic and transparent.

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