Data sharing

Katherine D. Heineman, Christa Horn, Naomi Fraga, Cheryl Sevilla, Heather Schneider, Vanessa Handley, Holly Forbes, Brett Hall, Evan Meyer, Tony Gunroe, Shannon Still, David Magney, Stacy Anderson, Bart O’Brien, Joyce Maschinski

Center for Plant Conservation, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, University of California Botanic Garden, University of California-Santa Cruz Botanic Garden & Arboretum, University of California-Los Angeles, Mildred E. Mathias Botanic Garden, San Diego Botanic Garden, University of California-Davis, Botanic Garden & Arboretum, California Native Plant Society, Regional Parks Botanic Garden

California is home to one third of the globally rare plant species in the United States. To secure this incredible flora, ten botanical institutions in California have joined together to form the seed banking collaborative, California Plant Rescue. By sharing our accession data and integration of combined dataset with our natural heritage database, we created a suite of tools in support of seed collections. These tools include a web-based accessions database, a mapping application for collections targeting, and a web-app that prioritizes species for collection based on location, conservation status, and phylogenetic diversity. From our dataset, we also conducted a gap analysis of current collections in order to direct our seed strategy moving forward. Our analysis evaluated the spatial, phylogenetic, landownership, and ecological patterns of seed collections in California. Some patterns were intuitive: Our seed collections were heavily biased toward Southern California where the majority of our permanent seed banks, including our most prolific collector, is located. Ecological patterns were somewhat less intuitive: despite high interannual variation in population size, annuals are more likely to be represented in seed collection than perennials perhaps owing toward larger seed set and lower incidence of recalcitrance. Finally, our landownership analysis demonstrated that the greatest potential for seed collection in California is on US Forest Service land, which has the highest density of extant rare plant occurrences. We identified five specific National Forests which are home to 20 or more uncollected rare species, an insight that will be crucial for prioritizing permitting and relationship building with agency collaborators. In 2019, California Plant Rescue was awarded $3.6 million by the State of California to seed bank the remaining 650 rarest plant species in California. We will leverage these tools and insights to take full advantage of this exciting opportunity.

Date Recorded: 
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Matthew Albrecht, Missouri Botanical Garden

Monitoring is a central component of reintroduction programs, but often receives less attention from practitioners than the preparation or implementation phases of a project. A well-designed monitoring program can detect changes in the environment over time, identify new threats that emerge at the reintroduction site, determine drivers of growth rates in reintroduced populations, and inform adaptive management. This presentation highlights the ten key components of a well-designed monitoring program based on the CPC's Best Plant Conservation Practices.  Topics discussed includes monitoring objectives and designs for short- and long-lived plant species, threat detection, evaluating fecundity and dispersal, comparisons with wild reference populations, types of data analyses, and best-practices for data management and sharing.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 3, 2019

Anne Frances, NatureServe

The NatureServe Network comprises 80+ member programs in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Each member program has been “tracking” rare plants for over 30 years. Tracking entails surveying, mapping, monitoring, protecting, and assigning conservation statuses. As a network, NatureServe has standard methods and a shared data model to “roll-up” jurisdictional datasets into one central database. NatureServe maintains the central database, providing the taxonomic framework, exchanging data with each member program, and making changes to the data model as necessary. The consolidated central database allows NatureServe central to assign National and Global Ranks, as well as conduct Red List Assessments. This presentation will focus on lessons learned from network-wide data-sharing and explore current challenges and opportunities that result from new technology and increased access to data. We will discuss ways to share data among multiple networks for more effective and efficient plant conservation.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

Michael Way (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK), Clara Holmes (Greenbelt Native Plant Center, USA), and Sean Hoban (The Morton Arboretum)

In 2017, we established a ‘gap analysis working group’ to assess and report the availability and usefulness of online native seed collection data from seven leading online data sources in order to help native seed collectors optimise their targets for additional collections. Volunteers reviewed online data sources and responded to a standardised list of questions to capture their experience of the depth and functionality of the data source. To visualise our findings we transformed results to simple numerical scores and projected on a six-node radar graph within a draft report. In addition, we asked curators of the data sources to fact-check our conclusions. We recommend that collection holders cooperate to publish standardised collection data that can be discovered, mapped, and evaluated using online tools. This will require enhanced cooperation between curators of botanical names, herbarium and seed curators, together with quality communication with the users of seed collections amongst the research, conservation and ecological restoration community. We discuss several innovative solutions addressing these recommendations that include Creative Commons, generalizing longitude and latitude data for widespread dissemination, analysing user communities to develop better tools for collectors, elucidating Seed Transfer Zones, and engaging seed collectors in the development of additional tools to assist seed collections.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dennis Whigham and Julianne McGuinness, North American Orchid Conservation Center

The North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC) was developed by the Smithsonian and the U.S. Botanic Garden to conserve the diversity of native orchids in the U.S. and Canada. NAOCC ecologically-based conservation model has three guiding principles: Preservation through seed and fungal banks, Propagation, Education. NAOCC has a growing network of public and private collaborators working to collect and store seeds of native orchids to further the understanding their ecology, preserve genetic diversity, and provide material for use in research that supports propagation and restoration efforts. NAOCC's collaborative model for orchid conservation is guiding a new project to develop best practices and storage protocols for orchid seeds and their fungal associates. To address the urgent need for evidence-based standardized procedures, NAOCC and a number of its collaborators will study storage practices, conduct germination tests, and develop protocols for each species. Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) took the lead on a grant application to the IMLS for funding for this project. NAOCC joins CBG, the New England Wild Flower Society, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Illinois College, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank, and the Naples Botanical Garden to conduct the first systematic analysis of its kind regarding seed storage practices for North American native orchid species.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

Rowan Blaik, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Has another institution already solved a plant dataset issue you currently face? Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) has written several small, modular computer scripts for use in managing and verifying plant collections records and plant checklist data. Instead of only sharing finished datasets, BBG is trialling the sharing of the tools and methodologies used to compile the data itself, using the GitHub code sharing platform. BBG has not previously made code available under open source licenses, and doing so will allow others to collaborate and make improvements to the scripts for the benefit of all. As this trial in ongoing, we would appreciate contributions and feedback from the community. In this presentation we will discuss some of the challenges encountered so far and the procedures and formatting for sharing code online.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

David Remucal, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

We have been struggling with a propagation database. This has been of particular interest as our orchid conservation program has grown, we have needed a way to track individual maternal sources or populations from seed to potted plant as they go through different treatments and use different media. We began with an excel spreadsheet, but within a couple of years this spreadsheet has become an unwieldy monster. We need to move to a database that can handle our accessions, our inventory, and our propagation efforts, both orchid and non-orchid. We had originally tried to keep the database in-house. To that end, we worked with knowledgeable volunteers to develop an architecture for a database. We are now leaning towards using a pre-built product BUT the process of developing the framework for our own database was extremely informative and useful. It aided us not only in thinking about what we want in a database, but in many other ways, such as how we collect data, how we label our plants, and what we want to say with our data. It was a long process, but I feel we are much better equipped to find the right kind of database for our needs, or adjust the closest product we can find to suit our needs.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

Jennifer Neale, Denver Botanic Gardens

As scientific programs at Denver Botanic Gardens continue to grow we are working to standardize data collection across all projects to enhance and improve data utility. We have developed uniform protocols for documenting biodiversity for all studies whether they regard demographic studies, ecological monitoring, seed conservation, or floristic surveys. Collection of specimens and associated tissue samples has been incorporated into all studies, along with a methodical approach for tracking field photography, to ensure robustness, consistency, and cross-application of data. With the implementation of these new protocols we are readily able to share data with larger platforms such as the Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN), Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018