Managing FQAs

Floristic Quality Assessments (FQAs) are the ultimate focus of the Remnant Prairies online data system. An FQA is an analysis of the ecological status of a given piece of land derived from the species found growing there. Thus, an FQA has these components:

  • The piece of land — the Region in our system
  • The list of identified plant species

The Remnant Prairies tools are designed to make it easy (well, relatively easy) to track FQAs over time for a given Region. We provide serial results in a tabular format from which one can drill down to individual FQAs to explore the detailed findings.

Here are step-by-step instructions about how all this is done. You should explore Research Plot 1 page of our demo Location as an example, or refer to the screen-shots to the right (click on them to get larger views).

Getting to the FQAs

The last section of the main page of any Region is the “Floristic Quality Assessments” section. There you will see a link to Manage the region’s FQAs.

Clicking that link takes you to a summary page for all the region’s FQAs. These results are displayed in a table (see this example or this) that highlights the most important parameters from each FQA and makes it easy to see trends across the FQAs. Each study’s name is a link that leads to its detail page. There is also a link to create a new FQA study.

Creating an FQA

This is the form to create a new FQA. When you create a new FQA, you need to give it a title and the date that it was completed. You can optionally provide a description. It’s best to title a study with something that clarifies when it was done. The completion date need not be exact — this field is mostly used to order the studies in the summary table. Typically a study will cover an entire season or a several week period, so a title like “June 2008” with a completion date of “30 June 2008” would make sense. Click the “Save” button to save it.

Adding Plant Species to an FQA

Once you’ve created a new FQA, you are next sent to the main editing page for the FQA. This is where you can record what species you’ve found in the region. This page is a bit complex, unfortunately, but this is where all the important action occurs, so it’s important to spend time to understand it.

There are two main sections: “Manage Species” and “Manage General Information.”

Managing Species

Within this section, there are several alternatives listed with links to take you directly to them. You can:

  • Add new species individually by browsing or searching in the plant database This table lists all the plants in our database. You find plants by browsing through them using the “page” links at the bottom of the table or by searching by scientific or common name. Searching is probably easiest, and partial matches work (eg using ‘clover’ to grab all the various types of clover). In each row of this table, there is a “Select” button for species that you haven’t already included in this study. Those that already are in the study don’t have a button but rather tell you that they are indeed selected. This approach works best when you’re entering your field notes from a paper record. If you’ve already typed your findings into, say, a spreadsheet, then the “bulk import” option will be faster.
  • Import a full prior plant list for this georegion This section lists all the prior plant lists done during FQAs for this Location. Since creating a plant list is time-consuming when you’ve got a lot of plants, this feature allows you to simply pull all the plants you found before with one click. You can then add any new plants and remove any others that you didn’t find this time.
  • Bulk upload a list of plants This section is where you can upload a previously-created list from, say, a spreadsheet. You simply copy&paste the list using this format: one scientific name per line. Note that common names do not work. We presume that you will know how to get your data from whatever application you’re using into this format. Once you’ve pasted in your data, _you need to test it using the “Test Data” button, which will tell you which of your species we can process, which are duplicates, and which don’t match in our database. Fix up your data, and when it’s all correct, click the “Save” button to upload it. You should then check the results in the “Manage the species in this FQA” section and add or subtract species manually if necessary.
  • “Manage the species already in this FQA:/images/3562 The next section is where all the plants in the current study are displayed. Each row includes a "Remove” button that allows you to drop a plant from the study.

Managing an FQA’s General Information

The “final section”/images/3568 is where you can edit the title, description, and completion date of the FQA study.

Finally, there is also a “Delete” link in the form if you have the superpowers needed to delete a study. Deleting an FQA will remove its associated plant list — but of course will not delete any of the plants nor will it remove the region attached to the study.

Once you’re done editing the plants included in the FQA, you can click the link at the top of the page to return you to the FQA’s main page — which we’ll discuss next.

Reviewing an FQA

The main page of a specific FQA (reached from the region’s FQA summary page or the edit page of the FQA) displays the full details of the study. There are two main sections besides the title and description of the FQA:

  • Detailed Findings This table includes all the calculations and results of the study — notably measures of the relative numbers of native/adventive species and the floristic quality indices. The “Coefficient of Conservatism Tallies” section allows you to drill down and see the specific plants in the study that have a particular coefficient of conservatism — which nicely answers the questions like “What particularly good (or bad) plants have we got here this year?”.
  • Species in Study This section lists all the plants reported in the study along with their CoCs (currently for Kansas).

Note that there is a link to a printer-friendly version of this report which is handy if you want a hard-copy. Given the interactive focus of this tool, however, we think that simply reviewing things online makes more sense.

This is particularly the case because the details on this FQA detail page are re-calculated in real time whenever the page is requested — so you can instantly see the results of any changes you make in the plant species you include in the study.

Created: February 02, 2010 14:24
Last updated: February 03, 2010 14:14


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