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A multiple access interactive key to identify the genera of weeds occurring in São Paulo State, Brazil (monocotyledons, except Poaceae)

Grant number: 05/02297-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2005
Effective date (End): October 31, 2006
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Plant Taxonomy
Principal Investigator:Maria Do Carmo Estanislau Do Amaral
Grantee:Manuela Baldave Carli
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Weeds are a large and heterogeneous group of plants which spontaneously grow in places of economic importance (cities, gardens, agroecosystems, etc.) or invade natural ecosystems. The erradication of weeds in agroecosystems and urban regions is very expensive and the invasion of natural ecosystems by these aliens can cause severe ecological damage. There exist some illustrated books to identify weedy plants in Brazil. These are organized by botanical families, however, and considerably knowledge of plants is needed to be able to use them efficiently. This obviously makes their use difficult for amateurs and non-taxonomists. Furthermore, several weedy species even common in the Campinas region are not included, especially when of restricted importance for agriculture. The present project aims to elaborate an illustrated interactive multi-access key to identify the genera of weeds of monocotyledons (except Poaceae) of São Paulo state. Compared to printed dichotomous keys, multiple access interactive keys have many advantages: The user can freely choose the characters to identify a certain organism, she can examine illustrations of characters and taxa, "ask" the key which character would be more efficient to conclude the identification process more efficiently, and include an error margin to allow the correct identification even if making one or more mistakes. New characters and taxa can be easily added to an interactive key, which can be very troublesome in the case of dichotomous keys. The proposed project has as its principal objective the elaboration of a multi-access internet key of the weeds of São Paulo state, using the software Lucid3. When finished, the key will be immediately available on the website of the Instituto de Biologia da Unicamp. Two different versions of the key will be produced: one for amateurs and students with only a very basic knowledge of plant morphology and plant terminology. The other version for professional taxonomists and more advanced students of biology.