The Campanula DataPortal

In the long run, this portal aims at providing a convenient access to the knowledge of Campanula s.l. (bell flower), which is one of the most specious flowering plant genera. In the short run, we are using Campanula in this portal as an exemplar (1) to investigate convenient ways to display the linking of metadata and descriptive data for sample data with taxonomic information and (2) to display work in progress on the systematics of this genus.

Linking of sample data with taxonomic information

Using Campanula as an exemplar, a project (2012–2015) funded by the German Research Foundation
(DFG ) within the Scientific Library Services and Information Systems (LIS) programme and done by the BGBM in cooperation with the University of Münster (Working Group Evolution und Biodiversity of Plants) has realised a system for integrated sample data processing for organismic samples and associated data (e.g. herbarium specimens, tissue samples, images, primary data, etc.) that are handled during the systematic research process (Kilian & al. 2015). Existing EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy components are used to store (Data Repository), edit (Taxonomic Editor) and display (this Campanula Portal as an application of the CDM Portal) the data. The storage and presentation of data is conceptionally a dynamic process in which the taxonomic backbone is constantly adapted to the current scientific knowledge based on data availability. The main goals of the project are (a) an easy integration of samples used in the research process and their metadata into collections, thereby improving sustainability and verifiability of systematic research, and (b) the optimization of the data management and thereby increasing the efficiency of the workflow in systematic research. This will help to accelerate and simplify the systematic research workflow and utilize the value of the data. The project has benefited from synergies with existing focal areas of research (Diversity of Europe and the Mediterranean area; Evolution and biodiversity of the flowering plant order Asterales) at the BGBM as well as at the Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences (DCPS).

Preview: More than 3000 specimen and almost as much specimen scans are already available via the specimen-tab on the individual pages of the taxa. The integration of additional datasets (e.g. molecular data, morphological datasets) is a continuing process and hence, not all data will be available at once. We have chosen some taxa that exemplarily provide some datasets to illustrate the future significance of this portal. For specimen-associated molecular data see Campanula polyclada and Campanula drabifolia, for specimen-associated morphological datasets see Campanula aucheri; for specimen-associated SEM images see Campanula bravensis.

Displaying work in progress on the systematics of Campanula s.l.

The systematics of Campanula s.l. is one of the focal areas of research of the Asterales Research Group at the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (BGBM), Freie Universität Berlin. New systematic results, often not yet in the stage to allow new formal classifications, nevertheless deserve to be displayed as hypotheses for further work. Portals based on the EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy make changes in the classification of even larger taxa and such with additional data content fairly convenient.

The initial taxonomic backbone for the entire family Campanulaceae has been made available as a dataset under the copyright of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, based on the publication by Lammers (2007) For the time being, this classification will be left unmodified for the vast majority of genera, while we are modifying it for Campanula s.l. to reflect the current state of knowledge gained by both molecular and morphological approaches.

Details on the current stage of knowledge and the sources incorporated are provided under Campanula (see General: Systematics). The first re-classification is based on “mass-taxon-sampling” performed by Mansion & al. (2012) , in which some 70 % of all described species in Campanula s.l. could be assigned to one of the 17 clades (CAM01–CAM17) recognised. The correct placement of the remaining taxa is uncertain/unproven so far. Hence, these are informally compiled in an artificial clade Campanula_incertae sedis and will be moved to a clade as soon as new data allow a correct placement.

Besides molecular data, datasets from other disciplines will be used to disentangle the phylogeny and evolution of Campanula s.l. This portal will provide a substantial contribution by compiling the data and thereby enriching the circumscriptions of taxa and clades.


Kilian N., Henning T., Plitzner, Müller A., Güntsch A., Stöver B.C., Müller K.F., Berendsohn W.G. & Borsch T. 2015: Sample data processing in an additive and reproducable taxonomic workflow by using character data persistently linked to preserved individual specimens. Database - The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation Database 2015: bav094. // ➪ //

Lammers, T. 2007: World checklist and bibliography of Campanulaceae. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens, 675p. ISBN 9781842461860 // ➪ //

Mansion G., Parolly G., Crowl A.A., Mavrodiev E., Cellinese N., Oanesian M., Fraunhofer K., Kamari G., Phitos D., Haberle R., Akaydin G., Ikinci N., Raus T. & Borsch T. 2012: How to Handle Speciose Clades? Mass Taxon-Sampling as a Strategy towards Illuminating the Natural History of Campanula (Campanuloideae). PLoS ONE 7 (11). // ➪ //