Thursday, August 9, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
A106, Oregon Convention Center
Aaron M. Ellison
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth
Aaron M. Ellison
The theme of the 2012 Annual Meeting is “Life on Earth: Preserving, Utilizing, and Sustaining our Ecosystems”. What is the diversity of life on earth? How do we preserve, use, and sustain it? Answering these questions begins with species identification. Ecologists need up-to-date keys and molecular-based tools to enable them to identify organisms in the field. Educators need accessible field guides to teach students how to recognize species in the field. Students and the broader public use field guides to enhance their appreciation of a variety of species. Everyone can use on-line applications to contribute new records and observations to evolving databases, visualize and analyze biogeographic patterns, and join growing networks of naturalists. New technologies for identification complement, and in some cases are beginning to replace, traditional book-form field guides.
This interdisciplinary session crosses the boundaries of ecological science, technology, computer science, learning and cognition to explore next-generation field guides and novel tools that ecologists can use to identify organisms from bacteria to big trees. Emerging innovations include interactive multiple-access keys, facial recognition software adapted to identify leaves, stand-alone “apps”, high-speed DNA barcoding, keys that can be customized to particular sites or regions, and on-line communities where people can share discoveries, checklists, and images. Speakers in this session will explore the uses of these tools in alpha taxonomy and rapid ecological assessment, informal and formal science education, and citizen-science initiatives. Taxonomic coverage spans microbes, vascular plants, insects, birds, and other vertebrates.