Thanks again to David Tarrant for today’s photograph from Mexico.
Douglas Justice and I were discussing the numbers cited about the Asteraceae in yesterday’s entry after I mentioned to him that many of the plants that David photographs in Mexico have little or no presence online. Today’s photograph is another example; of the few search engine results, many only have scant information on this Mexican endemic (e.g., checklists or name databases). Fortunately, Mexico’s Conabio provides a detailed factsheet and comprehensive photographs, otherwise this scanned text from the “Trees and Shrubs of Mexico” is some of the best information available online (via Botanicus). To be fair, the original description of the plant by de Cavanilles is available online in this PDF from the University of Valencia in Spain (pages 18 and 83, by the way), but it isn’t exactly what I would call accessible. It truly helps one begin to understand the scope of projects like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, where huge efforts are required to construct and maintain only the barest subset of all published information about plants. The Encyclopedia of Life project will, one day, provide “an online reference source and database for every one of the 1.8 million species that are named and known on this planet, as well as all those later discovered and described”. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and support this ambitious venture.
Environment resource link: EarthPortal is a “comprehensive resource for timely, objective, science-based information about the environment. It is a means for the global scientific community to come together to produce the first free, expert-driven, massively scaleable information resource on the environment, and to engage civil society in a public dialogue on the role of environmental issues in human affairs.”. See “Conservation and Management of Rare Plant Species” and “Global Marine Biodiversity Trends” for two stellar examples.