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Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization

Serrano Estrada, Bernardo [1], Murguia Romero, Miguel [2], Ortíz Bermúdez, Enrique [2], Villaseñor, José Luis [2].

AbaTax: A website to consult and build collaboratively taxonomic identification keys and taxonomic descriptions.

Introduction. To better know the biodiversity, we require specialized taxonomic knowledge; linked to a classification system building, the identification process is an activity that also requires specialized knowledge. Taxonomic identification, the task to assigning a taxonomic name to a biological specimen, is supported by the identification keys. Therefore, to count with robust and well-structured keys is also a condition to better know the biodiversity. Objective. To build a web system that provides tools for taxonomic identification both to people who needs to assign the name to a specimen, and the taxonomist who wants to build a taxonomic key and make it available universally on the internet. Methods. Based on a “dynamic identification model” a website to build and use computerized identification keys was designed. The model establishes two directional processes: (1) to identify starting from specifying the character states observed in the specimen under analysis, and (2) to identify by proposing a taxon as an identification hypothesis. The model thus describes a dialectic process guided by the user alternating between one each of the two directions, trying to corroborate its own hypothesis, or rebutting the hypothesis when a character states is incongruent. Results. A website was designed to both, build a taxonomic key or make them functional through an implementation of the “dynamic identification model”. Several keys are publicly available at the AbaTax website (; for example the FAMEX key to families of flowering plants of Mexico. The system provides an interface easy to use to build keys at the same website, by specifying the list of taxa, the list of character states, and the data matrix relating both lists. A set of images could be associated to the taxa and to the character states; drafts of taxonomical descriptions could be automatically generated from the information of the data matrix. Through the AbaTax App for mobile devices the keys can be downloaded for subsequent offline use, useful in the field or places where connection to internet is not available. Conclusions. The AbaTax website allows taxonomists to bring universally the identifications keys that they could built in the same platform, with the possibility of collaborating remotely with other taxonomists in the edition of the same data matrix.

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Related Links:
FAMEX polykey

1 - SERES Sistemas Especializados, Mexico, DF, MEXICO
2 - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Biologí­a, 3er Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Mexico, DF, 04510, México

FAMEX polykey
plant identification
taxonomic monograph  
taxonomic descriptions.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BIHDI, Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization I
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 1:45 PM(EDT)
Number: BIHDI006
Abstract ID:459
Candidate for Awards:None

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