Newsletter 1 - Announcement (20.2.2007)

This letter is to inform you about a new project that will provide a web-distributed revision of the Compositae tribe Cichorieae (= Lactuceae) As an expert in this field, we would like to invite you to participate in building a global network of Cichorieae specialists (tentatively titled the International Cichorieae Network). This project is part of Work Package 6 (WP6), an important component of EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy), a network of excellence funded by the European Union over the next four years (see background information attached).

Within WP6, we are planing to build a web revision of a core of the Cichorieae, and to set the ground for the remainder by providing the basic data as well as providing the structure for continuous expansion and updating. At the BGBM Berlin-Dahlem we have been starting with the subtribes Crepidinae (c. 440 species, microspecies excluded) and Lactucinae (c. 230 species), while Scorzonera s.l. of the Scorzonerinae (c. 175 species) is co-centred in Bratislava (Slovakia) with the working group of Karol Marhold. The first results of this project will be available shortly, once the extant taxonomic data sets have been fully integrated (e.g. the taxonomic back-bone and distribution data for Europe and the Mediterranean from the Euro+Med Plantbase) and expanded.

We invite you to participate in building the International Cichorieae Network:

– By treating taxa of whatever rank in the web based taxonomic revision of the Cichorieae, worldwide or on a national or regional scale.
– By providing data (e.g. phylogenetic, distributional, regarding typification) and documents (e.g. illustrations, photos) that will be included in the above mentioned treatments.
– By building co-operative structures for the treatment of further subtribes or entities (e.g. Hieracium and Taraxacum).
– By giving bibliographical, nomenclatural and taxonomic advice, or acting as a referee for contributions to the web revision.
– By testing tools for the working platform on the web.

This project is meant to initiate the building of a large network of researchers working on Cichorieae. The project also aims to collect distributed data and to display them on the web. Beyond that it is intended to contribute to a fundamental change and improvement of the way taxonomic research is done world-wide. The International Cichorieae Network will make full use of the advantages that the web provides for taxonomists as well as for the public. The revisionary web-platform will make the taxonomic work process more efficient by enabling the taxonomist, to access scattered data from protologues and type images to phylogenetic, cytological, palynological and molecular data (to name only a few). The web platform will also benefit those without easy access to libraries and herbaria within larger institutions. As part of the working platform, a community tool (currently under construction) will facilitate communication and data exchange within the network.

We would be delighted to welcome your participation at any stage of the project. If you are interested in any kind of co-operation please do not hesitate to contact us and specify your interest. If you, for the time being, would appreciate just to be kept informed about the progress of the Cichorieae Group's work, please inform us correspondingly.
Please find the preliminary concept of the web revision attached, as well as the background of the EDIT project that contains further detailed information. We will be happy to answer any further questions you might have concerning the project.

Please feel free to forward this letter to any of your colleagues who might be interested in this project.

The Berlin EDIT WP6 Cichorieae Team
(Norbert Kilian (co-ordinator), Birgit Gemeinholzer, Ralf Hand, Eckhard von Raab-Straube)