Digital flora la Selva Biological Station An International Team pi's

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An International Team

  • PI's

    • Donald E. Stone, Duke University
    • Charlotte M. Taylor, Missouri Botanical Garden
    • Deedra McClearn, La Selva Biological Station


  • In 1979 only 710 species were recorded.

  • Duke University (Wilbur & collaborators) started the plant inventory project in the late 70's, this initiative compiled a plant list of 1,678 species and 20,000 + specimens in 1988.

  • In the late 90’s the students and researchers demonstrated the need for an easy tool to identify plants.

  • In 1999 La Selva staff started the project.

  • From 2000-2003 proposals were submitted with no success.

  • In 2003 MBG was invited to collaborate.

  • 2004 NSF and CR-USA approved two complementary proposals; marking the official start of the Flora project in collaboration with MBG.


  • Inventory all the plant species (2,000+) known from La Selva.-- never fully done before, and not a simple task.

  • Compile information, including phenology, photos and observations of living plants, and ecology -- many of the species are barely known to science.

  • Create a web site and electronic tools for identification of the La Selva plant species -- for the first time. This includes four main components:

    • Species Web pages
    • Interactive electronic keys
    • Image gallery
    • Search engine on images and taxonomy
  • To complete La Selva's reference herbarium

A Digital Flora Advantage:

  • Compared to traditional printed botanical texts, this tool allows:

  • Frequent updates, to add changes and information.

  • Access to the data available now, without waiting for every last part to be finalized.

  • Includes digital tools, such as interactive keys, dynamic lists, search engines, images gallery.

  • Has extensive and flexible content for one price, because space is not limiting.

  • Direct download of information to handhelds, laptops, etc.

  • Links to other web pages with additional information.

La Selva Plant Composition

Products Up to Date

  • 228 new species added (1,834 in Aug. 2003 vs. 2,062 species May. 2008)

  • 120 Family treatments (61 edited), + 15 family summaries of the 161 families: taxonomy, morphology and descriptions are illustrated with images.

  • 20,000+ images representing 1,638 species, equivalent to 79% of total species, 92% of all genera and 99% of all families.

  • A multiple access electronic key to families of angiosperms and gymnosperms of La Selva, besides more than 30 electronic dichotomous keys to genera.

  • Around 2,100 new botanical collections, consisting of 4,800 specimens. (50% located at La Selva´s herbarium and the remaining were sent to other herbaria)

  • 23,500 records with data available in TROPICOS of the plant specimens collected in La Selva at previous years.

  • Close to 2,500 digitalized herbarium specimens, representing ~1,500 spp., also available in TROPICOS. With this the image gallery illustrates ~ 1,900 spp.

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