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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Daru, Barnabas [1], Park, Daniel S. [2], Willis, Charles G.  [3], Kennedy, Jonathan [3], Davis, Charles C. [4].

Assessing fine-scale sampling bias in herbarium specimens .

Herbarium specimens contain a wealth of information about the distribution and ecology of plant species, and offer our best hope of documenting biodiversity. While herbarium collections are meant to document the diversity of a region’s flora, several factors can contribute to biases in these collections that render their application to various research questions challenging. We investigate three of the most comprehensive digitized regional herbarium records—South Africa, Australia, and New England in the United States—to assess fine-scale patterns of plant sampling bias along trait, spatial, and temporal axes. Our analyses identify strong trait sampling bias: perennial plants are more represented compared to annuals, and woody plants are better represented relative to herbaceous plants. We also demonstrate striking geographic biases in collection efforts: plant specimens are overwhelmingly collected in proximity to roads and academic institutions, including near universities and natural history museums. And finally specimen collection is temporally centered around biological spring much more so than expected by chance. These results provide key insights for developing better predictive models using herbarium data and provide a way forward to guide strategic sampling efforts for the continued growth and broader utilization of herbarium collections.

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1 - Harvard University, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
2 - Harvard University, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States
3 - Harvard University Herbaria, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology , Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
4 - Harvard University, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States

Herbarium specimens
ecological bias
sampling bias
South African plants
Australian virtual herbarium
New England flora.

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P, Recent Topics Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT034
Abstract ID:1227
Candidate for Awards:None

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