The Early Land Plants Today project (ELPT)

A community-driven effort documenting the biodiversity of liverworts and hornworts

There are three fundamental components to the project: 1) a worldwide checklist of liverworts and hornworts; 2) regional or local distribution checklists; and 3) the synthesis of the taxonomy, systematics, and nomenclature on a taxonomic group-by-group basis. The latter, in particular, represents the first endeavour of its kind and will appear as a series of forthcoming papers in Phytotaxa, where ELPT collaborates closely with taxonomic specialists validating and verifying nomenclatural and type data, authorities, original citations, as well as auxiliary data associated with specific taxonomic groups. A brief account of the compilation of regional or local checklists is also provided; these also will be published periodically.

The project in its current form has received funding from the Global Biological Information Facility (GBIF) and is receiving supplementary funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF) with related synergistic activities. The project recently received sponsorship from the Encyclopedia of Life (see http://www.eol.org) for a large international meeting of 31 liverwort taxonomists worldwide to further consolidate the projects aims and objectives. This was held at the Field Museum, Chicago, U.S.A., between 26 and 29 May, 2009. The meeting was significant as it 1) secured the liverwort communities commitment to produce a worldwide checklist by the end of 2010; 2) received the support of specialists to act as custodians with the objective of producing a taxonomic and nomenclatural synthesis of various taxonomic groups—the concept outlined in this paper; and 3) underscored the desire of the liverwort community to have open access to the powerful data sets created by Söderströmand Hagborg.

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