Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Biogeographic Atlases of BC: Jamie Fenneman Takes On Birds and Vascular Plants

 Western Scrub Jay, photo by Jamie Fenneman

Jamie Fenneman has played a significant role in the biogeographic atlases of British Columbia, first as a photographer submitting photos to both E-Flora and E-Fauna BC, then as an author of an article on plant taxonomy. Since then, he has taken on the role of vascular plant editor on E-Flora BC, become co-coordinator (science) for both projects and, now, has become bird editor on E-Fauna BC.

Jamie took on vascular plants on E-Flora a few years ago, which ties in nicely with his current work on the BC Flora project and his Ph. D. work at UBC on the taxonomy of the Asteraceae. He is lead author and editor for the updated flora of British Columbia that is now underway. Many changes to our vascular flora are coming up, both changes to the species recognized as present in BC and the families they are placed in.

Now, by becoming bird editor, Jamie is really just taking one step forward from his ongoing contributions to E-Fauna as a bird expert since its inception in 2007. He has submitted 80+ single-authored articles on the rare birds of BC (complete with detailed range maps), and is co-author of numerous additional bird articles with Rick Toochin and other expert BC birders. He has compiled key bird checklists for BC, and will now both review and publish bird photos on the site.

In additon to working on his Ph.D. at UBC botany, Jamie holds a B.Sc. in Wildlife Management from the University of Northern BC in 2001, and is a former consultant with LGL Environmental Research Associates. Taxonomy is a major interest for him.  In his Introduction to Plant Taxonomy on E-Flora BC, he provides a clear defintion of taxonomy that could be applied to any species group.  He says:

"Taxonomy is the method by which scientists, conservationists, and naturalists classify and organize the vast diversity of living things on this planet in an effort to understand the evolutionary relationships between them. Modern taxonomy originated in the mid-1700s when Swedish-born Carolus Linnaeus (also known as Carl Linnaeus or Carl von Linn√©) published his multi-volume Systema naturae, outlining his new and revolutionary method for classifying and, especially, naming living organisms. Prior to Linnaeus, all described species were given long, complex names that provided much more information than was needed and were clumsy to use. Linnaeus took a different approach: he reduced every single described species to a two-part, Latinized name known as the “binomial” name. Thus, through the Linnaean system a species such as the dog rose changed from long, unwieldy names such as Rosa sylvestris inodora seu canina  and Rosa sylvestra alba cum rubore, folio glabro to the shorter, easier to use Rosa canina. This facilitated the naming of species that, with the massive influx of new specimens from newly explored regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas, was in need of a more efficient and usable system."

Read Jamie full article on plant taxonomy here.
View Jamie's plant photos on E-Flora BC here.
View Jamie's wildlife photos on E-Fauna BC here.
Read a sample rare bird species account by Jamie, on the Cooper's Hawk, here.

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