Computer-aided taxonomic identification
Funding Agency(ies):
IFP ; European Commission under ASI@IT&C programme
Principal Investigator(s):
Dr. Ramesh B.R.

Axis 4. of the Ecology Department /


New tools for capacity building in Taxonomy

The number of taxonomists and ecologists is dwindling the world over at an alarming rate. This has been acknowledged as one of the “taxonomic impediments” hindering the full implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD Secretariat has called for a global taxonomy initiative (GTI) to remove or reduce the knowledge gaps in our taxonomic system. This has led to the development of several projects on the “sound management of biological diversity” This research project, consisting of four phases of implementation is aimed at developing multimedia tools of taxa self-training and identification of species.

Materials and Methods:

This project is based on the data collected by the Institute on mangroves, trees of the Western Ghats and pollen taxa. Various applications available online or as CD-ROMs, rely on a common tool for identification and self-training of taxonomists (IDAO) developed by CIRAD.

This software is based on the calculation of similarity coefficients which allows for data insufficiency, intra-specific variations as also errors of observation. Contrarily to dichotomous keys, the species here are not eliminated: only the percentage of similarity is modified. An identikit of the individual is internally programmed to react to every response of the user and this enables the non-specialist of botany to identify the species through illustrations.

The system also signals data deficiencies as well as errors of observation on the part of the user. Once the identification procedure is completed, the user is provided with a descriptive analysis of the species in which all technical terminology has been hyper-linked. The entire collection of documents (photographs, illustrations and descriptions) is available at all times. This system adapted to small PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) and UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC), has been implemented with the support of the European Commission for identifying crop weeds of the Indo-Gangetic

  • French Institute of Pondicherry
  • European Commission under ASI@IT&C programme


  • Dr. B.R. Ramesh - Head of Botany Laboratory
  • Dr. F. Borne – Head of Geomatics and Applied Informatics Lab.
  • Dr. N. Ayyappan – Botanist
  • Dr Vasanthy G - Palynologist
  • D. Balasubramanian - Manager of Information Systems
  • S. Aravajy – Botanist
  • Mr. G. Jayapalan - Research Assistant
  • Mr. K. Ramesh Kumar – Technician

UMR AMAP, Montpellier, France

  • Dr. Pierre Grard, Project Leader - Botanist
  • Dr. C. Edelin - Botanist
  • Dr. J. Prosperi – Botanist
  • Dr. P. Couteron – Plant Ecologist

University of Wageningen, The Netherlands

  • Dr. Rico Lie – Anthropologist

National Herbarium Nertherlands, Leiden

  • Dr. P.J.E. Kessler - Botanist
  • Dr. C.E. Ridsdale - Botanist

National University of Laos

  • Prof. Dr. Bouakhaykhone Svengsuksa

Rice Wheat Consortium

  • Dr. R.K. Gupta –Director RWC – Agronomist

University of Andhra Pradesh

  • Prof. A.V. Raman

University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka

  • Dr. Sanath Hettiarachchi - Head of Botany Department
  • Dr. L.P. Jayatissa – Botanist

Staff ( IFP & External )

RAMESH B.R., Affiliated Researcher
BORNE F., Associated researcher
AYYAPPAN N., Researcher
BALASUBRAMANIAN D., Research engineer
ARAVAJY S., Ingénieur d’études
RAMESHKUMAR K., Head - Photo Archives
EDELIN C., Researcher