A typical problem with printed identification resources that cover extensive geographic regions is that their large species coverage leads to a resource that is difficult to navigate, with dichotomous keys so complex that they are useful to only well-trained biologist. It would be extremely beneficial to be able to rip apart a printed guide and quickly rearrange the text to cover only the immediate area of interest. Virtual environments have the benefit of being able to geographically subdivide an area into smaller, more manageable research areas with reduced complexity. If an area has not been formally inventoried, users have the ability to dynamically build species lists directly from the georeferenced specimen records. The user can utilize specimen distribution data to exclude species that have never been collected within the area of interest, and create a custom inventories that is far more manageable to navigate.
Custom species lists are created using the specimen search engine and rendering the results in the checklist format. To exemplify this, the first link below will dynamically open the search engine in the checklist display mode for Tumamoc Hill located near downtown Tucson, AZ. Note that as the default, the taxonomy of these lists are not immediately resolved. If two specimens are filed within the collections under synonyms of the same species (e.g. Berberis repens, Mahonia repens), both names will occur on the list. Selecting a taxonomic filter from the pulldown will resolve these taxonomic discrepancies and present the results as a unique list.
The Dynamic Key Builder uses the same concept to dynamically build an identification key for any specific locality as chosen by the user. Upon panning, zooming and clicking on a point within a Google map, specimen data is analyzed to generate an identification key for the species collected within that immediate area. If the area is determined to be poorly collected, a larger radius will be sampled in an effort to generate as complete of a list as possible. Use the link below to gain firsthand experience on how this identification key works within SEINet region.