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Abstract Detail

Evolution, Ecology and Floristics in Northern California - Current Knowledge and Unexplored Realms

Ertter, Barbara [1].

The Evolution of Floristic Modeling in California.

THE historical development of botanical research in California provides an excellent illustration of the various stages in the evolution of floristic modeling, from the Age of Exploration to the Age of Information. Although floristics is largely perceived as an exercise in information compilation and management, it is more accurately understood as a massive, on-going, internationally collaborative effort to model biodiversity. The taxonomic components (e.g., species) are not free-standing static entities, but rather dynamic hypotheses that derive their identities from the larger floristic framework in which they are nested. Initial cataloguing by European expeditions established the initial species hypotheses, which were then repeatedly tested and revised in the face of new data resulting from subsequent collections. A new stage began with the founding of the California Academy of Sciences, followed by numerous other educational and research institutions throughout the state, which collectively supported an expanding cadre of resident botanists. Species hypotheses could now be evaluated using representative series and living populations within an ecogeographic setting rather than simply as isolated herbarium specimens, and morphological evidence became increasingly supplemented by ecological data, life history characters, and geographic range. These efforts were complemented by the rise of more overtly experimental approaches, whose roots in California can be traced from the early influence of Hans Hermann Behr; to the founding of biosystematics by Clausen, Keck, and Hiesey; to the more recent advent of molecular phylogenetics. Data from all these sources has been repeatedly synthesized in the form of increasingly sophisticated (and competing) floristic models that incorporate and summarize the latest ecological, biogeographic, biosystematic, and phylogenetic developments. The electronic era now allows an improved expression of the dynamic nature of floristic models, as exemplified by the Jepson Interchange (ucjeps.berkeley.edu/interchange.html) coupled with the Consortium of California Herbaria (ucjeps.berkeley.edu/consortium/about.html).

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Related Links:
Jepson On-line Interchange
Consortium of California Herbaria

1 - University of California, Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology, University and Jepson Herbaria, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg. #2465, Berkeley, California, 94720, USA

floristic modeling
history of botany
taxonomic hypotheses

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 38-1
Location: 170/Holt
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 8:15 AM
Abstract ID:107

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