Center for Biodiversity Informatics
Center for Biodiversity Informatics

The Center for Biodiversity Informatics (CBI) at the Missouri Botanical Garden seeks to provide innovative technology solutions to the global community of life science scholars in order to mobilize, integrate, and repatriate data about the world’s biodiversity.

Biodiversity informatics is defined as the creation, integration, analysis, and understanding of information regarding biological diversity. Currently, efforts are underway to make the vast, decentralized resources of global biodiversity information available in digital form. Imposing consistency and compatibility among the scores of searchable databases on the world’s biota is an enormous challenge within the field.

Biodiversity informatics is a relatively young field, with the term being coined in 1992. There are hundreds of practitioners around the world, including numerous people involved with the design and construction of taxonomic databases. “Biodiversity informatics” is a term generally used in the broad sense to apply to computerized handling of any biodiversity information. The broader term “bioinformatics” is often used to describe the computerized handling of data in the specialized area of molecular biology. 

For more information, contact: 
Chuck Miller
CIO & VP of IT, Director of CBI

Projects and Sponsors

Tropicos

Tropicos
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Tropicos® is the world's largest single repository of scholarly botanical information made freely available online. Tropicos contains more than 4.4 million plant specimen records documenting the occurrence of the world’s plant species, as well as 1.3 million plant names with their published taxonomic information and relationships, 160,000 publications, and 400,000 specimen images. Originated in 1982, the development of Tropicos has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Living Collections Management System

Living Collections Management System
The Garden's Living Collections Management System is a web-based database and GIS system that manages the records of the entire living collection of over 28,000 accessions.  Utilizing mobile tablet computers, individuals can use the system while in the garden or greenhouse to accurately and efficiently map new plants, inventory plant collections, and prepare tree assessment surveys. It allows the tablet's camera to photograph plants and create and read QR codes that can then be incorporated into accession tags and plant labels for inventory management and outreach purposes. The Living Collections Management System has been sponsored by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Fidelity Fund, and the Kemper Foundation.

World Flora Online

World Flora Online
The Garden is collaborating with over 30 other institutions to develop the World Flora Online public portal.  This portal will contain a record for every land plant on earth, estimated at 400,000, including descriptions, conservation information, and images.  The Garden's supporting work has been sponsored by the Monsanto Corporation.

Botanicus

Botanicus
Botanicus is a repository of digitized botanical reference literature linked to Tropicos.   Botanicus has been sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Keck Foundation.

MBG Library Rare Books 

MBG Library Rare Books
More than 3,000 rare and unique volumes held by the Missouri Botanical Garden Library have been digitized and published online. These digitization efforts have been funded by the Trio Foundation of St. Louis and the Mellon Foundation. 

Digitizing Engelmann’s Legacy 
The Missouri Botanical Garden has digitized and created an online public display of the Engelmann Herbarium of plant specimens. The approximately 8,000 specimens gathered during George Engelmann's pioneering expeditions into the American West following those of Lewis and Clark are the first scientific records of the plants growing in the vast wilderness west of the Mississippi River. The collection forms the earliest verifiable documentation of species occurrences in that pristine landscape, before the rapid migration west permanently altered the landscapes through human introduction of non-native invasive species. These specimens provide a historic complement to the 4.4 million specimens already accessible through Tropicos.