A Joint Collections Database of the Botany and Paleobotany Departments
Pteridophytes (ferns and fern allies) were once a principal component of terrestrial ecosystems dominating the Carboniferous landscape and are of great evolutionary significance. Pteridophytes remain of great ecological significance and form the dominant and most conspicuous part of the vegetation in many ecosystems throughout the world. Some are significant weeds and agricultural pests. The well known bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn), produces arsenic-based compounds toxic to cattle and forms large aggressively spreading colonies. Many ferns are well known as ornamental plants and play an important role in many cultures throughout the world.
The pilot project is a joint collaboration between Ian Glasspool (Paleobotany) and Matt von Konrat (Botany) and supported by the Grainger Foundation and The Field Museum.
The Great Lakes Region is here defined as the eight U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. The project is currently working towards databasing and digitizing all extant collections from this region in our collections. Because the data represents collections from paleobotany and extant specimens, detail in the data might be different. Some terms (e.g., type designations, like figured and referred) are different between the two collections representing differences in protocol between the botanical and paleobotanical community.
All of these fields can be searched for both disciplines with the exception of the collection event data for fossil ferns.
Databasing and digitizing extant and extinct fern collections: We are currently at the height of unprecedented interest into the phylogenetic relationships among major groups of living and extinct plants. We are in a pilot phase databasing and digitizing pteridophyte fossils from the Mazon Creek assemblage of Illinois (i.e., 315 million years ago) as well as extant fern specimens from the Great Lakes Region. This represents a novel and exciting inter-disciplinary initiative, offering an innovative synthesis of extinct and extant pteridophytes. The project will greatly increase the accessibility of the collections, making them available online to the scientific and broader community, with far reaching applications. 5000 fossil and extant pteridophyte specimens will be digitized, which will expand the already 400 digitized fern specimens from the Chicagoland area.
Detailed Search |
Taxonomic Search |
Extant Ferns with Images |
Fossil Ferns with Images