Collection Connection: MicroPlants

Record plant measurements online to help document biodiversity.

The world's biodiversity is diminishing rapidly and undergoing an extinction crisis. Biological collections of museums and academic institutions, documenting the fossilized and living members of the world’s ecosystems and their changes over time, are uniquely poised to inform the stewardship of life on Earth. Here, The Field Museum partners with leaders in online community science in an effort to help accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and documentation.

This community science project focuses on a group of early land plants called liverworts (Marchantiophyta) and includes the more familiar mosses (Bryophyta). Liverworts are pivotal in our understanding of early land-plant evolution and are ecologically significant, existing as important and conspicuous components of the vegetation in many regions of the world. This group of plants is an important environmental indicator and has been used as monitors of past climate change, to validate climate models, and as potential indicators of global warming.

Our online tool was developed to enable users around the world to rapidly measure very specific, defined morphological characteristics. The data generated by the community will then be used by an established collaborative network to document and describe the biodiversity of the target group of organisms. The data will then be used to help scientists distinguish between different species of liverworts.

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