Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Carboniferous

 

The Plant Species Data Fields

 

The plant species entity contains taxonomic, morphological, and ecological ("ecomorphic") data for each species of plant. In addition to the Data-Entry Authorization section, each species entry must be associated with at least one reference (which requires the fields ref.author_1 and ref.date). See Reference Data Fields.

Required fields for a plant species consist of:

Genus psp.genus
Species psp.species
Unique field psp.unf
Data Coordinator sau.coordinator
Data Authorizer sau.authorizer

Higher taxonomic information should be supplied for any genus that is new to the database. Later entries of congeneric species will be automatically supplied with the higher taxonomic information by the software, so it is not necessary to provide it in these cases. The taxonomic classifications used for plant species in the ETE database were obtained primarily from The Plant-Book (Mabberley, 1989).

Anti-Predation Devices

Existence and nature of observed anti-predation devices.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 4 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Existence and nature of observed anti-predation devices -- vertebrate, invertebrate, both, or none.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.anti_pred

ALLOWED VALUES

  Explanation
inv anti-invertebrate defenses
none  
vert anti-vertebrate defenses
v/i both kinds of defenses

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Canopy Height

The inferred canopy height for the species.

DATA TYPE

A real number (with optional decimal point).

DESCRIPTION

The inferred average canopy height for the species, in meters.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.canopy_ht

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Class

The Linnean class to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean class to which the species belongs.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.class

ALLOWED VALUES

Anthocerotopsida
Bryopsida
Cladoxylopsida
Cooksoniopsida
Dicotyledons
Lycopsida
Marchantiopsida
Monocotyledons
Progymnospermopsida
Psilopsida
Pteropsida
Rhyniopsida
Spermatopsida
Sphenopsida
Trimerophytopsida
Zosterophyllopsida

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Clonal Growth

The presence or not of clonal growth.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 1 character in length.

DESCRIPTION

The existence or not of clonal growth for the species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.clonal_grwth

ALLOWED VALUES

n
y

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Comment

A comment on the addition of a new species, or an update.
DATA TYPE

Character field not exceeding 255 characters.

DESCRIPTION

Each time a species is added to the database, the Data-Entry Authorization section (see the Overview) must be filled out. The same thing occurs whenever the data for the species are updated. Included in this part of the data fields is a comment field. Include here reservations about certain data, explanations of what some inferences were based on, what references were used for what data, and other miscellaneous useful comments on your work in preparing the data for entry. Be brief!

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

sau.comment

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Conductivity

The conductivity value for fossil wood.

DATA TYPE

A real number (with optional decimal point).

DESCRIPTION

The estimate of conductivity capability for fossil wood, given by the formula below. Conductivity capability (C) describes the amount of water that can be transported, and represents the water needs of a plant. It is calculated as:


where r = the mean or average vessel radius and D = the mean or average number of vessels per mm2. See Wolfe and Upchurch (1987).

According to Wolfe and Upchurch, "the highest C values are typically found in large trees. Indeed, C values >200 are found almost exclusively in medium-sized or large trees, and C values >500 are known only in large trees. These relations prevail in woody plants of both humid and dry habitats."

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.conductance

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Data Authorizer

The authorizer of the data.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 25 characters. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The name of the member of a research group who authorizes the entry of information into the database. This may or may not be the same as the Data Coordinator. It is intended that the currently empowered Authorizers be a small and restricted set of research group members who work closely with the database. Their job is to certify that the data prepared by the Data Coordinator(s) meet the current standards for scientific accuracy and have been entered logically. They are also responsible for catching major errors of a scientific nature, inconsistencies, and misunderstandings on the part of whoever filled out the datasheet. No datasheet can be entered without an Authorizer.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

sau.authorizer

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Data Coordinator

The name of the researcher preparing the data for entry.

DATA TYPE

A character string not exceeding 25 characters. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The data for each entity are prepared by or under the supervision of a particular researcher (or group of researchers). This (these) person(s) is designated the Data Coordinator, and is the primary source of the information and is responsible for its accuracy. Data Coordinators may or may not also be Data Authorizers. Data Coordinators possess such rights over the data as the Consortium has decided in its general policy on the subject. Briefly, for entities designated as "private", the Data Coordinator's data are treated as a collection that the Data Coordinator is actively working on. Thus, the Data Coordinator must be consulted/informed when other researchers use the data in some project intended for publication. The Data Coordinator may deny permission for such use. The Data Coordinator may initially or at a later time designate the status of a species or locality as "public". In this case, the data become "public domain" and can be used by anyone with access privileges to the database, for any purpose, without informing or obtaining permission from the Data Coordinator. The Consortium has established a time period (5 years from date of entry or last modification) after which data of a particular entity will convert to "public" status, unless there are compelling reasons to retain private status.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

sau.coordinator

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Distribution

The characteristic distribution of the species in fossil deposits.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 9 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The characteristic distribution of the remains of this species in the deposits in which it is found (not necessarily in the original plant community that the fossil record sampled). The usual mode of occurrence should be specified.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.distrib

ALLOWED VALUES

clumped
dispersed

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Division

The Linnean division to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 20 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean division to which the species belongs. Divisions are listed below.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.division

ALLOWED VALUES

  Explanation
Angiosperms  
Bryophyta bryophyta
Charophyta chara; CaCO3 secreting algae
Chlorophyta green algae
Chrysophyta diatoms
Embryophyta  
Euglenophyta euglenoids
Fungi  
Phaeophyta brown algae
Polysporangiophyta  
Protracheophyta  
Pyrrophyta dinoflagellates
Rhodophyta red algae
Tracheophyta vascular plants

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Evapotranspiration

Adaptation to regimes of evapotranspiration.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 18 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

A field describing the morphological features of the species that indicate adaptations involving evapotranspiration.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.evapotrans

ALLOWED VALUES

dimorph_meso-hygro
dimorph_xero-meso
hygromorphic
mesomorphic
xeromorphic

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Family

The Linnean family to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean family to which the species belongs. It should, as usual, begin with an upper-case letter.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.family

ALLOWED VALUES

Any
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Genus

The generic name of the species.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The generic name of the species. It should, as usual, begin with an upper-case letter. Exception: Generic names may also be given as "cf." followed by a generic name, or the entries "gen." or "indet."

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.genus

ALLOWED VALUES

Any
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Growth Rate

Inferred growth rate.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 9 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Inferred growth rate of the species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.growth_rate

ALLOWED VALUES

fast
medium
slow
very_fast
very_slow

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Leaf Dissection

Leaf dissection.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 15 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

A description of the nature of leaf dissection.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.leaf_dissect

ALLOWED VALUES

palmately_cmpd
pinnately_cmpd
pinnatifid
simple
simple_palmate
simple_pinnate

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Leaf Margin

Leaf margin morphology.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 8 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

A description of leaf-margin morphology.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.leaf_margin

ALLOWED VALUES

drip_tip
entire
lobed
lobed+th
toothed

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Leaf Size

Class of leaf size for the species.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 10 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The leaf-size class of the species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.leaf_size

ALLOWED VALUES

macrophyll
megaphyll
mesophyll
microphyll
nanophyll
notophyll

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Life Form

Inferred life form of the species.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 12 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Inferred life form of the species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.life_form

ALLOWED VALUES

  Explanation
cespitose or tufted
decumbent base parallel to ground, tip ascending
emerg_aquat emergent aquatic
epiphyte  
float_aqu  
ground_cover  
herb  
herb_liana  
parasite  
perenn_herb perennial herb
procumbent aerial axes arising from a creeping axis, not rooted at nodes
prostrate aerial axis arising from a creeping axis, rooted at nodes
semi_self_su semi-self-supporting
shrub  
small_tree tree <5 m
tree  
woody_liana  

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Lifespan

Inferred lifespan of the species.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 21 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Inferred lifespan-class for the species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.lifespan

ALLOWED VALUES

annual
long_liv_perennial
monocarpic
short_liv_perennial

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Main Axis Diameter

Main axis diameter.

DATA TYPE

A real number (optional decimal point).

DESCRIPTION

The average diameter of the main axis of a plant in centimeters.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.axis

ALLOWED VALUES

Any
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Order

The Linnean order to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean order to which the species belongs. It should, as usual, begin with an upper-case letter.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.lorder

ALLOWED VALUES

Any
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Organs

A list of one or more organs represented by the plant species.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 16 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Fossil plant taxa often refer only to one or more organs, rather than whole plants. In order to preserve this information we allow the listing of those organs to which a particular species name refers. Any or all of the choices below may be included as a list for the species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

porg.organ

ALLOWED VALUES

axis
b_cone
b_inflorescence
f_cone
fertile_axis
f_inflorescence
flower
fruit
gametophyte
infructescence
leaf
m_cone
megasporangium
megaspore
microsporangium
microspore
m_inflorescence
pollen
root
seed
sporangium
spore
wood

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Phenology

Inferred phenology.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 9 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Inferred phenology.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.phenology

ALLOWED VALUES

deciduous
evergreen

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Pollen Aggregation

Pollen aggregation.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 20 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Pollen attributes.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.pol_agg

ALLOWED VALUES

monad
other

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Pollen Size

Pollen size.

DATA TYPE

A real number (with optional decimal point).

DESCRIPTION

Pollen size in micrometers.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.pol_size

ALLOWED VALUES

Any


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Pollen Surface

Surface of a pollen grain.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 20 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Pollen attributes.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.pol_surf

ALLOWED VALUES

sculptured
smooth

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Pollen Vector

Inferred pollen vector.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 6 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Inferred pollen vector.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.pol_vector

ALLOWED VALUES

animal
water
wind

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Predation

Existence of evidence of predation.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 1 character in length.

DESCRIPTION

Is there evidence of predation? Details can be briefly entered in the Comment field.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.predation

ALLOWED VALUES

n
y

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Seed Dispersal

Seed dispersal mechanism.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 11 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The mechanism inferred for seed dispersal.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.seed_dispers

ALLOWED VALUES

endo-animal
exo-animal
none
water
wind

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Seed Length Seed Width Seed Height


Mean seed size for the species, expressed in three fields -- length, width, and "height" as a third dimension.

DATA TYPE

A real number (with optional decimal point) in each field.

DESCRIPTION

Seed size, expressed as estimated mean seed length, seed width and seed height (mm). All three measures do not have to be specified; ultimately, the point of having the complete (orthogonal) three would be for calculation of estimated seed volume. However, only one or two measures may be available. The best convention would be to enter the longest seed dimension as length, and (if available) the second largest as width, and the third as height.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.sdl, psp.slw, psp.sdh

ALLOWED VALUES

Any


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Seeds/Diaspore

The average number of seeds per diaspore.

DATA TYPE

An integer.

DESCRIPTION

The average number of seeds per diaspore.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.sds_s_diasp

ALLOWED VALUES

Any


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Seed Size Class

Size class of the seeds of the species.

DATA TYPE

An integer.

DESCRIPTION

Seed size class to which the species' seeds belong. Size classes are those of Baker (1972).

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.sd_size_cl

ALLOWED VALUES

Any


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Species

The species epithet of the species.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The species name of the species. It is always entirely in lower case. Species may also be recorded as "sp.", "indet.", or preceded by "cf." to indicate different levels of uncertainty in assignment. These three strings are the only ones that the graphical interface recognizes as alternatives to Linnean names. "sp." implies that it is known that this is a new or separate species, but that it currently has no formal taxonomic name; use "indet." for a species that is not identifiable at the species level. "cf." is to indicate any of the many tentative assignments (including "aff.", "near", ? species, etc.). "cf." entries always are recorded as separate species, not as instances of the referred species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.species

ALLOWED VALUES

Any


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Sporophyte Cost

A measure of the cost of sporophyte production.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 7 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

A measure of the relative cost of sporophyte production, or the proportion of energy put into reproduction. Its units are degrees of "r" or "K" - ness, with "r+" indicating a strong r-strategist and "K+" a strong K-strategist.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.sporophyte_s

ALLOWED VALUES

K+
K-
r+
r-
r-K
unknown

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Status

The current status (public or private) of a species record.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 15 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Every species or locality record in the Database at any moment is assigned a status, which indicates the level of access permitted to that record. Currently, the value "public" indicates that the record is essentially "public domain" and will be made available without restriction in the public domain version of the ETE Database. The value "private" indicates that the record will be accessible only to those researchers who have access to the ongoing working database. Records will ordinarily be entered with "private" status until the members of the Project (q.v.) that has generated them releases them to the public. The Data Coordinator (q.v.) for each record is ultimately responsible for any changes of its status. Additional values for status may eventually be added if it becomes necessary to specify in finer detail the access level of an entity.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.status

ALLOWED VALUES

private
public

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Unique

Makes the species entry unique.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

At times the occurrences of the same species at different localities will still differ in some ecologically meaningful way. For example, the same named species may be of substantially different size in different fossil localities. In order to record the size appropriate to each locality, one must somehow separate the two species occurrences -- as if they were two separate species. At other times, adequate identifications may be unavailable, or systematic work needs to be done, such that the best one can do is to identify to some higher taxon (e.g., Somegenus sp.). In such a case, "Somegenus sp." is what the computer will search on when a species list is entered. But there may be many undescribed species of Somegenus, each different in ecologically meaningful ways, and found in a variety of localities. Yet, they all have the same generic and specific name as far as the computer is concerned. They need to be treated individually.

The unique field is the way to do this. In addition to Genus and Species, this field is also searched when a species name is input as part of a species list. In effect, the ETE Database uses "trinomial" designations for its "species". Thus, to separate occurrences of Somegenus, all one has to do is to specify an entry in the unique field. It might be a letter or a number, or an abbreviation for a locality, or any string of 30 characters or fewer that will serve to identify it uniquely. Remember that other people might be working with Somegenus as well, so naming a species "Somegenus sp. A" (i.e., the unique field = "A") might inadvertently identify it incorrectly as another one already in the database. One fairly safe solution would be to include some kind of locality, regional, or temporal designations within the 30-character string -- increasing the probability that the unique field will really be unique.

Data Coordinators must keep track of their own usages and assignments using this field, and they should become aware of the ways in which the species (or close relatives) that they are working with may have already been entered by other workers. The computer cannot sort out a nomenclatural mess where two different things have been given the same name by mistake. On the other hand, excessive use of the unique field, resulting in a situation where all or most occurrences of a species are distinguished as unique, should also be avoided. This is surely unnecessary, takes up valuable storage space, and can also become confusing to other workers.

There are, however, a number of common situations that require the use of the unique field for a plant species. These include cases where some plant species lack a formal taxonomic name, although they can still be traced from locality to locality. In order to preserve this distribution information, it is recommended that information connoting the uniqueness of the species be entered into the unique field associated with the taxonomic data. The following unique field identifier is recommended as a standard to be used for the plant species unique field so that each will be given unique labels: [locality name][year of publication][first initial(s) of last name(s) of author(s)][plate and figure number(s)]. The format for denoting plate and figure numbers is p##ƒ## where p=plate, ƒ=figure and ##=numbers/letters of plate figure. It is important to remember that this unique designator should retain its significance for an unnamed species. Therefore, a person collecting information for the database should check other referenced localities for unnamed species to determine if a unique designator is needed or if the species has already been referenced with another unique name. (Note: When a specimen has not been published, the standard museum abbreviation and the specimen number substitute for the author name, year of publication, and plate and figure numbers.)

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.unf

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Vulnerability

The vulnerability value for fossil wood.

DATA TYPE

An real number (optional decimal point).

DESCRIPTION

The vulnerability value for fossil wood. It is calculated as

where d = mean vessel diameter, and D = mean number of vessels/mm2. See Carlquist (1978), Wolfe and Upchurch (1987).

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

psp.vulnerable

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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