Cyperaceae species page fields and style guidelines

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This document is a field list for all of Cyperaceae -- no longer just Carex -- as it was decided at our discussion at IBC (July 2011, Melbourne) that Cyperaceae will share a single Scratchpad in eMonocot. The field list below was vetted by the Carex BioSynC membership, then reviewed by Jeremy Bruhl, Wayt Thomas, and David Simpson with respect to the remainder of Cyperaceae. It may be that additional fields will be needed down the road, but our hope is that this field list will pretty well do the job.

The guidelines below were drafted by Andrew Hipp (16-18 August 2011) and are meant as the beginning of a style guide. The goal is not to enforce rigid stylistic guidelines on the species pages, but to provide some guidance that will reduce inconsistencies among species pages. These can (and should) be revised as writing proceeds. Any participants who want to help edit this page should contact Andrew for a log-in; wiki editing has been restricted b/c of vandalism that occurred by anonymous editors in July 2011.


**Associated fields**

None of the fields in this section need to be filled out as such; they are associated data that are linked at the time the species page is written


** Overview **

An overview of the biology of the taxon, e.g. behavior, reproduction, dispersal. This can either be comprehensive or introductory, the latter if greater detail is provided in later fields.
A comprehensive or introductory description of the characteristics of the taxon. To be used as an introductory description when a more comprehensive description is provided in the atomized description fields; to be use as the primary description when many of the subject categories are treated together in one object, but at length.

** Description **

These fields contain the detailed descriptions of the plant body. Species descriptions should be atomized as much as possible into the fields below. However, there is no reason to fill out any fields that are not needed. Any fields not filled out will simply not be included in the description, so feel free to ignore any fields that you either don't have data for or that don't apply (e.g., perigynia for all the other sedges). Please note that if you have an entirely undifferentiated description, the whole thing can be shoved into the Description field under Overview above.

There will certainly be unavoidable variation in style and even placement of descriptions among species treatments (e.g., the apportioning of spike number and disposition could go into Inflorescence or Spikes). The guidelines here are intended to provide a modicum of consistency.

As a group, we have not settled on a standard glossary of terms. However, the Flora of North America Glossary is an excellent place to begin, and I propose using this as a working glossary for species descriptions. Likewise, I would propose utilizing the Flora of North America Editorial Handbook as our basic guidelines for abbreviations (p. 9), numbers and measurements (p. 10), and sequence of structures (Appendix B, pp. 17-18). Descriptions should, in general, work from the base of the plant / structure toward the tip, with the structure followed by the descriptor. Measurements should be in metric units and abbreviated (m for meters, mm for millimeters, cm for centimeters).

Any aspects of habit and growth form that are not applicable solely to any single structure listed below. Most sizes (e.g., culm length, leaf width) do not belong in this field. Characteristics of the plant base should typically not be placed here, but rather under "culms" (if culm bases) or "leaves" (if basal sheaths).
Below-ground structures 
Roots, rhizomes, any below-ground structures.
Vegetative shoots 
This field should be used to describe any aspects of vegetative culms or more generalized vegetative shoots. Descriptions of leaf blades and sheaths should not be placed here unless they are unique to the vegetative shoots.
Culm habit (e.g., "lax", "erect"), size (length, thickness), texture (e.g., "pubescent", "scabrous just below the lowest spike"), color etc.
Includes sheaths, ligules, blades. Descriptions of the bracts should not be included here.
Includes bracts (and their sheaths), peduncles, internodes, and anything else that is not attributable to the spikes themselves.
Spikes should generally be designated as lateral versus terminal, with the terminal spike always singular. Where there is a distinction between the lower and upper (more than one) spikes, the terms proximal and distal should be used in lieu of (or addition to) lateral and terminal.
Pistillate scales 
Scales subtending the pistillate (female) flowers.
Staminate scales 
Scales subtending the staminate (male) flowers.
Floral scales 
Reserved for bisexual flowers (outside of Carex). Please avoid using this where you can use a more specific term.
Generally will not be needed, at least in Carex, but provided in case there are aspects of the entire flower / floret that need to be mentioned.
Only describes the anthers, not the entire stamen. If there are aspects of the entire stamen that require describing, include that information under Flowers.
Only include information about the perigynia themselves here. Any information about pistillate scales, achenes, or other structures should go under the appropriate field.
Information about the fruit and its associated stipe, bristles, style, etc. Please note that I have removed style as a separate field. Number of stigmatic lobes should go under stigmas.
Number of stigmatic lobes, plus any other details about shape, color, texture, length etc.
Additional characters 
Any additional characters needed to identify the species that do not fall under the above. Please note that long, undifferentiated descriptions should not be put here, but in the Description field under Overview.
Diagnostic description 
A description sufficient to distinguish this taxon from all other Carex or at least close relatives (this is the author's choice, but should be made clear, e.g. by writing, "Distinguished from all other members of section Acrocystis by ..."). This field is deliberately left free-form so that it can be written as long or as short as is needed.
Other taxa that this taxon may be confused with, and how it is distinguished from them. A thorough look-alikes field may be more useful than a diagnostic description for the field practitioner, but these are not identical fields.
Field identification 
Tips for identifying / recognizing the taxon in the field. This field guide-style description may overlap with the main body of the description as well as "Diagnostic description" and "Look-alikes." This field is likely to be redundant with those in the information it holds, but perhaps geared toward the field practitioner. If the diagnostic description and look-alikes fields are being written carefully, this field identification will probably be a lower-priority field to write.
Inherits from 
This is a new field, a place-holder that we should discuss as a group. What I'm trying to get at here is creating a field that allows us to designate a parent taxon whose characters apply to the species. We want this to be explicit, not implicit in the taxonomy, b/c taxonomy will change. Systematics2011 18:14, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Should not be filled out. These are handled as images associated with a name in Scratchpads. Can also be images associated to a specimen, that is then associated to a name. -- 13:06, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Type image 
Likewise, should not be filled out. The Scratchpads "method" allows an image to be designated as a type by associating it with a specimen record. The workflow would be (once the taxonomy is in place): add a specimen (including type status), then add an image of the specimen making an explicit link to that specimen. It may seem like more work but allows for images of the types of junior synonyms to be handled elegantly. -- 13:05, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Voucher specimens 
Again, we'll want to follow the workflow indicated under Type image on this: add specimens, add images of the specimens, then link these to the species.

** Taxonomy **

Nomenclature in Scratchpads is not handled via the Taxon Description but through a separate taxonomy manager. Fields relating solely to the name should be added through this system. -- 12:59, 14 June 2011 (UTC) Stated another way, these fields are filled out in the course of dealing with names, not in writing species descriptions, though these components of the process may often be undertaken by a single person for each taxon.

Taxonomic notes
Taxon name status

** Ecology and Distribution **

Covers ranges, e.g., a global range, or a narrower one; may be biogeographical, political or other (e.g., managed areas like conservencies); endemism; nativity or exotic status across its range (e.g., "Native to western North America, adventive east of the Mississippi river" provides information about both range and the nativity). Does not include altitudinal distribution, which belongs under elevation. At this point, we are not coding this precisely, but we will likely want to discuss as a group adding an additional field that allows us to standardize coding of geographic ranges.
This is a catch-all for any aspects of ecology that don't fit under habitat, pollination, associations, etc.
As defined here, we are including both the abiotic niche (e.g., climatic envelope) and the microhabitat.
This is admittedly problematic, as elevation shifts systematically across the species' ranges. The field is deliberately left free-form to allow for these kinds of refinements where they are available and applicable.
Fossil record 
Not likely to be filled out much at the species level in sedges.

** Life History and Behavior **

Descriptions and lists of taxa that interact with the subject taxon. Includes explicit reference to the kind of ecological interaction: Predator/prey; host/parasite, pollinators, symbiosis, mutualism, commensalism; hybridisation, etc.
Description of biorhythms, whether on the scale of seconds, hours, days, or seasons (e.g., periodic appearance of seed banking species, diurnal opening of flowers) -- states or conditions characterised by regular repetition in time. Life cycles and seasonal reproduction are treated separately.
methods, circumstances, and timing of dispersal.
Any aspects of pollination biology may fit here, including pollination syndrome, selfing, outcrossing, etc.
Seasonal timing of life-cycle events (e.g., flowering, fruiting, first shoots, germination).
Life cycle 
This was described in the EOL documentaion as "Obligatory developmental transformations." For plants, this may be any aspects of life-cycle events that are not seasonal and better placed under Phenology (e.g., periods of seed dormancy).
Life expectancy 
Any information on longevity, including the average period an organism can be expected to survive.
Population Biology 
Includes abundance information (population size, density) and demographics (e.g. age stratification).

** Evolution and Systematics **

Anything on the phylogenetic placement of the taxon, or, for higher-level taxa, phylogenetic circumscription of or relationships within the taxon. An open question right now is how phylogenies for the taxa will be housed within eMonocot / Scratchpads.
Anything on the evolution of the taxon that is not strictly about the phylogenetic placement.

** Physiology and Cell Biology **

Cell biology

** Molecular Biology and Genetics **

Molecular data 
This is a place-holder for right now. I would expect that there should be a way of importing genetic data and linking it to specimens, in the same way that images are linked to specimens. We'll find out about this.
Information on the genetics of the taxon, including anything known about functional genetics, genome size, barcoding status, whole genome sequencing status, etc. Information on ploidy probably belongs under cytogenetics, though this may be ambiguous at times -- genome size data provides evidence about polyploidy, but probably still fits better here than under cytogenetics.
Here we are using cytogenetics in the narrow sense, to mean anything on chromosomes: counts, karyotypes, ploidy, etc.

** Conservation **

A catch-all: anything having to do with the conservation of the taxon that is not captured under conservation status, management, threats etc.
Conservation status 
A description of the likelihood of the species becoming extinct in the present day or in the near future. Population size is treated under Population Biology, and trends in population sizes are treated under Trends. However, this is the preferred element if an object includes all of these things and details about conservation listings.
Invasive status and ranking.
Legal regulations, statutes, and legal status of the taxon. Includes legal protections or strictures (the latter for invasives).
Describes techniques and goals used in management of species, either because it is invasive or at-risk.
Threats to the taxon.
Any indication of whether a population is stable, or increasing or decreasing.

** Relevance **

Includes ethnobotany
Description of diseases that the organism is subject to. Disease-causing organisms can also be listed under associations.
Risk Statement 
Negative impacts on humans, communities, including weediness.

Deleted fields

The following fields have been deleted b/c they are redundant or confusing

originally the first field under Description, this really belongs under the part of the plant being described
Taxon biology 
originally under Description, this is redundant with "biology" under Overview
nothing here that wouldn't fit under "dispersal"
Trophic strategy 
not a complicated or very interesting topic for most sedges.
should be covered under pollination, phenology, population biology.
not clear what would be in this field that isn't covered under the other fields
redundant with Management
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