Welcome to the Electronic Distribution Maps of Georgian Fungi.
The Caucasus is famous as a biodiversity hot spot. It is, accordingly, important to have information about the occurrence and distribution of all groups of organisms from this area and, indeed, a considerable body of information already exists. For the fungi (including lichen-forming species), most of that information is either on labels in dried reference collections, or as scientific literature published in the Cyrillic alphabet, generally in Russian. For people outside the area and, in particular, for people outside the Russian-speaking countries, all of that information is in practice inaccessible. The present work, therefore, had the objective of opening that information to the scientific world at large, by computerizing as many records as possible, ensuring that the electronic version has the information stored in the Latin alphabet (in English) in parallel with the original Cyrillic data, and publishing the information in an easily-read electronic format (in this case as HTML files available on the internet and readable by standard internet-browsers).
This work had its origins in an earlier UK Darwin Initiative project Biodiversity Information in the former Soviet Union, running from 1999-2002, one objective of which was computerizing Cyrillic alphabet fungal records. Among other outputs, that Darwin Initiative project resulted in over 45,000 computerized database records from Georgia, each representing an individual observation of a particular organism. A little over half of these records relate to fungi. Most of the remainder are of the plants with which these fungi occur. For some of these records, the only locality information available was the fact that the organism was observed in Georgia. For many others, however, information is much more detailed. Most of that information was derived from the following publication: Nakhutsrishvili, I.G. (1986). Флора Споровых Растений Грузий (Конспект) [Flora of Spore-producing Plants of Georgia (Summary)]. 888 pp. Тбилиси [Tbilisi]; "Мецниереба" ["Metsniereba"], Институт Ботаники им. Н.Н. Кецховели, Академия Наук Грузинской ССР [N.N. Ketskhoveli Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR].
Further work during a subsequent UK Darwin Initiative project increased the number of computerized records for Georgia to over 55,000 of which over 30,000 relate to fungi, and made possible production of electronic distribution maps of all Georgian fungi in that database. The user should note that acquisition of data is continuous, with an editorial process involving several stages. The records used for the current work are those which have reached the stage of entering the main Biological Records Database. This means they are all identified with a fungus name known to the Nomenclatural & Taxonomic Database. It does not mean that this name is accepted, nor does it necessarily mean that name has itself been fully edited. Many examples will be found of names which are patently wrong, or well known to be synonyms of other names. Checking and editing takes time, and there is a policy of trying to effect a continuous improvement of the data: the quality of successive outputs is gradually improving.
The objectives of the present project were as follows.
The following notes assume a familiarity with the field structures and data standards used in the database for biological recording. For information about these field structures and data standards, see Data structure for biological recording. The database was queried to obtain all records where [CloxAccouA] (English version of accepted name for country equalled "Georgia".
This selection was then edited to ensure that all records contained consistent information in [CloxAcstaA] (English name of oblast), [CloxAcparA] (English name of raion) and [CloxAcplaA] (English description of exact locality). Care was taken to ensure that information in [CloxAcplaA] was correctly structured, with largest place first, and with subsequent more detailed place names separated by semi-colons.
A second query was then run, to obtain all records where [Cco0AccnaA] (text link to the currently accepted organism name) contained the name of a fungus at a taxonomic rank of species or lower. This was the subset from which all distributional information for individual maps was derived.
These records were then sorted alphabetically by [CloxAcplaA] and, using internet and printed gazetteers and maps of Georgia, latitude and longitude information was calculated to a level appropriate for the accuracy of the information in [CloxAcplaA]. In many cases it was possible to be accurate to the nearest minute, while in other cases an accuracy to ten minutes or even only to the nearest degree was possible. Latitude information for each record was then entered in [CloxLat__A], and longitude information was entered in [CloxLong_A].
After that work was completed, electronic maps were prepared for Georgia fungi showing the distribution of species and subspecific taxa. DMAP was the mapping software used. Some difficulties were encountered in acquiring information about raion and town council boundaries for Georgia, and there are consequently many inconsistencies and inaccuracies with boundary data in the present version. Access to maps is through the scientific name of the organism.
Citing this work
This work may be cited as: Gvritishvili, M.N.; Hayova, V.P.; Krivomaz, T.I.; Minter, D.W. (2007). Electronic Distribution Maps of Georgian Fungi. www.cybertruffle.org.uk/gruzmaps [website, version 1.10].
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