Plant Ecology

, Volume 192, Issue 2, pp 161-167

First online:

In search of a functional flora—towards a greater integration of ecology and taxonomy

  • Colin A. PendryAffiliated withRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Email author 
  • , Jan DickAffiliated withCentre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • , Martin R. PullanAffiliated withRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  • , Sabina G. KneesAffiliated withRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  • , Anthony G. MillerAffiliated withRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  • , Sophie NealeAffiliated withRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  • , Mark F. WatsonAffiliated withRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

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Large-scale biodiversity informatics projects will not properly address the needs of one important potential user group. Ecologists do not have ready access to datasets which allow them to assign plant species to functional types. We believe that information technology has developed sufficiently to allow taxonomists and ecologists to work together to address this need and develop specimen databases to combine taxonomic data with ecological and ecophysiological information so that this information will be assigned to the correct taxon in the future. Digital images provide a rapid and economical method of vouchering specimen data, reducing the need to store physical vouchers in herbaria.


Bioinformatics Taxonomy Databases Functional ecology Functional types