Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Concept relations in practical use: Taxonomic checklists in the context of Red Lists of endangered species
Patrick Plitzner, Andreas Müller, Anton Güntsch, Walter Berendsohn

Building: Computer Science
Room: Computer Science 3
Date: 2016-12-09 11:15 AM – 11:30 AM
Last modified: 2016-11-18


Red Lists are taxonomic checklists that report the threatened status of species within a certain region or globally. These checklists are of high practical importance for conservation, depicting the threats to species biodiversity. They are updated regularly and thus serve to keep track of the change in species occurrence and coverage. This allows prediction of tendencies in the species’ distribution and needs for ensuing conservation measures.

Taxonomic concepts (the circumscription of species) may change over time as a result of new taxonomic evidence. This directly affects the usability of the Red Lists. Such changes have to be tracked, assessed with regard to their impact on the degree of threat of the affected species, and – where necessary –the measures taken have to be updated to represent the latest state of knowledge. In an information system, this is handled by concept relations between the versions of the checklist. Concept relations basically describe the relation between two taxa by means of the set relationships used in set theory: congruent, included in, includes, overlapping, excludes.

The EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy is such a system. The Platform is based on the Common Data Model (CDM), which covers the entire domain of taxonomic research. The CDM provides an object-oriented model for storing and editing taxonomic data, including the support of concepts and concept relations. A programming library offers a service-oriented application program interface (API) and a Drupal-based Data Portal is used to publish data on the Web. We here present a web service-based checklist editor for the EDIT Platform, which specifically addresses the handling of concept relations in a simplified and fitting manner. The editor is implemented using Vaadin, a high performance web-application framework, which allows us to provide a state-of-the-art user interface leading the user step-by-step through the work process and masking the complex background model and operations.