The ferns, lycophytes and seed-free vascular plants commonly described as pteridophytes exhibit hyperdiversity in the insular vegetation that often characterizes Asian floras. Despite harboring biodiversity hotspots, these plants and their georegions have been poorly surveyed, particularly in Southeast Asia, where one third of the world's pteridophyte species are concentrated. More than 60 per cent of the approximately 4,500 species lack georeferenced records in GBIF and only 6 per cent have been DNA barcoded.
This project aims to increase the available knowledge on Asian pteridophytes by compiling a georeferenced occurrence dataset that includes images, DNA barcodes and other vouchering information from thousands of recent collections, building on the efforts of the Taiwan Pteridophyte Research Group and its Southeast Asian collaborators. The project team will set up a workflow incorporating next-generation sequencing for 1,500 Asian pteridophyte specimens from selected collections in Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries that can fill in taxonomic and geographic gaps and represent Asian pteridophyte diversity.
Mobilization of and access to these vouchered and georeferenced DNA-derived records will advance further research into the biogeography of pteridophytes and other terrestrial vegetation and support the development of novel approaches to monitor biodiversity along the spatiotemporal scale, including metabarcoding of the invisible diversity held in soil and spore banks.