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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Barcelona, Julie Fenete [1], Nickrent, Daniel [2], Pelser, Pieter [3].

Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines: citizen science and volunteerism driving the documentation of Philippine plant diversity.

Launched in November 2011, the Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines website (CDFP; hosts a checklist of Philippine vascular plants started by the late Leonardo L. Co and continued by us. Co was a plant taxonomist who devoted his life to studying the plant diversity of his country. His legacy to botany was an updated version of Merrill’s “An Enumeration of Philippine Flowering Plants”. Sadly, Co’s life was tragically ended in 2010 before he could complete this checklist. The CDFP checklist currently links to over 63,000 photos of Philippine plants present on PhytoImages (, a website that features over 136,000 photos of plants worldwide. Together, these sites provide a continuously updated account of the 10,000 native and naturalized species of vascular plants in the Philippines with multiple diagnostic photographs for 267 (96%) of the families, 1592 (83%) of the genera, and 4143 (41.3%) of the species. Most efforts toward running both websites (photography, taxonomic identifications, checklist update, program development, and server hosting) are voluntary and without external funding. Our social media arm, the CDFP Facebook group, provides a venue for public discussions about taxonomy, ecology, and conservation status. It also serves as a platform for plant identification, sharing photos and contributing these to PhytoImages. In this way, Co’s contributions to Philippine botany are honored and his legacy of freely sharing botanical knowledge to stimulate biological education, research, and conservation is continued. In this presentation, we report on our efforts to photo-document the Philippine flora for the CDFP project. We also discuss the role of social media (i.e., Facebook) in motivating scientists and citizen scientists who use and contribute to the CDFP website. Examples will be provided of how plant photography projects can contribute to the discovery of new species, range extensions of existing ones, and rediscovery of species known only from their types.

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Related Links:

1 - Canterbury University, School of Biological Sciences, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand
2 - Southern Illinois University, Department Of Plant Biology, 1125 Lincoln Drive, Life Science II Room 420, Carbondale, IL, 62901, United States
3 - University of Canterbury, School of Biological Sciences, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand

vascular plants
plant checklist

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: EO1, Education and Outreach I
Location: Tucson C/Starr Pass
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2019
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: EO1006
Abstract ID:817
Candidate for Awards:None

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