Abstract Detail



Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC: Where we've been, where we are, & where we are going

Weakley, Alan [1].

The Flora of the Southeast.

The flora of the unglaciated Southeastern United States has long been known for its diversity and relictual nature, retaining many ancient lineages while also reflecting dynamic evolutionary generation of new taxa, with high leveles of paleo- and neo-endemism.  While celebrating the diversity of the region, the profound alteration and stresses to the region (high levels of human population growth, development, and alteration of natural ecosystems to human-dominated systems) raise concerns about the persistence of these biodiversity values.  The combination of high endemism and high alteration of the region has resulted in designation of the Southeastern North American Coastal Plain as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot; inland portions of the unglaciated Southeastern United States are similarly rich in imperiled plant (and other) biodiversity.  The SERNEC project has greatly facilitated an increase in our understanding of the region’s plant species, their taxonomy, habitats, distribution, rarity, and imperilment by making the extensive herbarium collections more accessible to researchers and conservationists and by facilitating collaborations by experts in the region leading to enhanced and more efficient naming of new species.  Those benefits have provided the foundation for an arguably even more important outcome of the SERNEC project: the development of numerous “flora” tools at regional, state, and more local levels that facilitate public understanding of the flora, professional (academic, agency, and NGO) inventory, management, and interpretation of the flora, and engaged citizen science in the region.  With collaborators around the region, we are developing regional flora manuals (Flora of the Unglaciated Southeastern United States), state flora manuals (Virginia, Arkansas, Delaware, wetland plants of Tennessee), park units (Shenandoah National Park, other units in the Piedmont/Cumberland Network), wildflower guides aimed at a broader public (Wildflowers of the Atlantic Southeast), and phone/tablet apps (Flora of Virginia, southeast-wide FloraQuest).  Developing a sophisticated and modern taxonomy of the region based on more than two centuries of data, and making that readily available to a broad diversity of users, has been a major benefit of the SERNEC project.  Additional enhancements to SERNEC portal that would additional value include digital annotation and taxonomic concept mapping to facilitate rapid improvement of the digitized dataset.


1 - UNC Herbarium (NCU), NC Botanical Garden, UNC-Chapel Hill, CB 3280 / UNC-Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599-3280, United States

Keywords:
digitization
flora
southeastern USA
endemism
apps
collaboration
taxonomic concepts.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number:
Abstract ID:827
Candidate for Awards:None


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