Talk, 6th Workshop on Vegetation Databases: 2007-02-28 - 2007-03-01
Data on lichens have been collected in the context of the BIOTA Southern Africa project, subproject S04 (www.biota-africa.org), in order to assess the diversity of lichens forming biological soil crusts, to identify the indicator value of lichen communities, and to develop a long-term monitoring strategy using lichens as bioindicators. Lichens forming biological soil crusts are an important component of arid and semi-arid ecosystems, but are frequently neglected in ecological studies due the difficulty in identifying them to species levels, so that they have hitherto been poorly investigated in Southern Africa. It is therefore essential to get information on the occurrence and distribution of lichen species and to create suitable identification tools. The following data types proved to be relevant for the project: 1) data on reference collection samples of lichens; 2) data on diagnostically relevant descriptive characters; 3) vegetation data; 4) digital images of specimens and of vegetation sampling areas. Data have been gathered and stored in PostgreSQL and MS SQL server database components of the following Diversity Workbench suite (www.diversityworkbench.net): DiversityCollection, DiversityDescriptions,and DiversityTaxonNames. For platform-independent remote data entry, maintenance, flexible data query and analysis, modularized Java- and .Net-based database rich clients have been developed as well as various JSP web services.