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Abstract Detail

Big Data and the Conservation of North America's Flora

Maschinski, Joyce M [1], Clark, John R [1], Heineman, Katherine [1].

Integrating plant conservation data at multiple scales to inform plant conservation recovery priorities.

To meet the pressing challenge of conserving endangered plants for the future will require that we integrate new approaches to accomplish coordinated and efficient conservation actions with limited resources. Much of the solution to this coordination lies in how data is input, managed, and shared. The Center for Plant Conservation and its participating institutions are committed to ex situ conservation that supports species survival in the wild. Because we work at local, regional, national and international scales, we exemplify a model of such integration. Working with partners in their regions, CPC scientists identify species of concern, their threats, and possible solutions for the species’ recovery. While making seed collections from wild rare plant populations, they note population level data: location, numbers of individuals, and numbers of reproductive individuals. As part of standard protocols for storing seed, they test seed to determine viability, the rate and percent germination. Ensuring consistency in data collection and efficiency in data assimilation is a challenge for this type of cross-institutional collaboration. To improve the speed and quality of data sharing among institutions, we have created a system of online forms that automatically populates a cloud database, which can be accessed by our partners for state and national level analyses. For example, data kept by individual participating institutions to track accessions can collectively inform whether goals of California Plant Rescue have been met. This state-wide effort aims to secure ex situ collections of seed from at least 75% of the rarest California plant species by 2020 in support of Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. A centralized database populated from online forms enables broad-scale tracking and planning for future seed collections. Sensitive information in the database is only available to member institutions, while generalized information about the species that have been collected is available to the public. Collating CPC institutional data on national and international scales allows us to examine patterns of rare plant attributes and conservation actions across ecosystems, taxa, and time. A key component for all new initiatives will be to make the forms themselves useful at multiple scales so that data transfer is seamless and easily converted for analysis. So doing will leave more time for essential plant conservation – the whole point after all.

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1 - Center for Plant Conservation, San Diego Zoo Global, Plant Conservation, 15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido, CA, 92027, USA

ex situ
rare plant

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY5, Big Data and the Conservation of North America's Flora
Location: Sundance 5/Omni Hotel
Date: Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: SY5006
Abstract ID:384
Candidate for Awards:None

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