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Tropical Biology Section

Hollowell, Tom [1], Funk, Vicki A [1], Richardson, Karen [2], Ferrier, Simon [3].

Using GIS to Apply Museum Collections Data to Biodiversity Studies and Conservation in Guyana..

Biological data are needed so that conservation decisions can be based on reliable information. Expeditions are expensive, time consuming, and there are few people willing to undertake such difficult journeys. There is a need for methods to more accurately target the location of expeditions. The Smithsonian's Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield Program (BDG) has been collecting specimens in the Guianas since 1985. In the late 1990's attempts were made to utilize these data using selected genera of plants and animals. Presence/absence points for these taxa were totaled in 0.1 degree (approx. 11 km) grid cells and grouped into classes. To reduce biases, expected species distributions were modeled using other available environmental data: 1) the digital elevation model for South America, 2) the Vegetation Map of Guyana, and 3) the mean monthly rainfall of the driest month. A similarity map was produced which was used to improve the species richness map. In the current phase, a “Survey Gap-Analysis Tool” has been developed as an ArcView extension. An analysis was made using lithology with four climatic variables, elevation, vegetation classes and geographic distance. A p-median based Environmental Diversity measure was generated across continuous space, the site with the highest p-median value was selected, and the index recalculated. This was run for 10 iterations so each group of organisms had ten sites selected where surveys should add the greatest amount to the knowledge of Guyana’s biodiversity. Field work is planned in Guyana to test the predictions of the “Survey Gap Analysis” model for plants. A resident collector in Guyana can potentially carry out 10 expeditions to targeted areas in a 2 year period and it should take ca. 1-2 years to identify most of the material. The use of p-median to select survey sites may save time and money.

Related Links:

1 - Smithsonian Institution, US National Herbarium, MRC166, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA
2 - Cooperative Research Centre for Rainforest Ecology and Management, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, 4072, Australia
3 - New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation, P.O. Box 402, Armidale, New South Wales, 2305, Australia

Guiana Shield

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: 32-140
Location: Special Event Center (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
Time: 12:30 PM
Abstract ID:651

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