ASU scientist develops interdisciplinary project on formation of unique database of relic plants

4 April 2018 Department of Information and Media Communications
Assistant Professor of the Department of Botany at the Faculty of Biology of Altai State University Alexei V. Vaganov is developing a unique open database of photomicrographs of spores belonging to the ferns of Pteridaceae family, the most ancient plants on Earth.

At the heart of the scientist’s interdisciplinary project work lie a number of methods of mathematical data processing of the morphology of ferns’ spores. It is planned to study a sufficient amount of data on the representatives of five subfamilies of a large Pteridaceae family, which is believed to have one of the most complex fern taxonomies. Most of the representatives of this family grow in the tropical and subtropical geographical zones, and only 11 species grow in Russia. Alexei  V. Vaganov has focused on representatives of Pteridaceae family of South-East and Central Asia in his work.

"Currently, I'm building a database on the morphology of spores, which I will then use for mathematical calculations of a different nature. Prior to this, nobody performed such deep processing of data obtained from the photographs of ferns’ spores with the help of mathematical methods. There are atlases and publications describing the spores, but detailed biometrics of the spores of this fern family for biosystematics have not yet been conducted. This is a laborious but necessary research process to establish the order of things, which will determine the specific place of a representative in the system of the family under study. I hope that new information will further contribute to clarifying the systematic status of taxa, and scientists will be able to use the data obtained in their research work," Alexei V. Vaganov emphasized.

ASU scientist is sure that his research will be a good addition to the molecular genetic methods of plant studies popular among modern botanists. Following the results of the project, Alexei Vaganov plans to collect new data on the taxonomy of ferns, which he will receive using multidimensional analysis of the mathematical processing of photomicrographs of ferns’ spores obtained with the help of scanning electron microscopy.

The project is implemented with the support of scientists and staff from the Department of Theoretical Cybernetics and Applied Mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Information Technologies of Altai State University.

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