About the Atlas - Introductions

The TNKY Plant Atlas was conceptualized in 2016 and launched in 2020.  It was made possible because of the Southeastern Network of Expertise and Collections (SERNEC) National Science Foundation award #1410069, entitled: The Key to the Cabinets: Building and Sustaining a Research Database for a Global Biodiversity Hotspot (Award Number: 1410069 /1410087), which allowed us to digitize nearly 100% of all of the herbarium specimens in Tennessee and Kentucky.  It is edited and managed by a small consortium of Kentucky and Tennessee botanists, but all botanists, photographers, and naturalists may contribute through submitting information or pictures to Joey Shaw. Nomenclature of the TNKY Plant Atlas is based on: Flora of Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (Weakley, A. in prep.), the Guide to the Vascular Plants of Tennessee (Chester et al. 2014), and the Plant Life of Kentucky (Jones, R. 2005), with light modifications of some plant groups so that we follow the rules of nomenclature, but we are up-to-date as possible.  For a species to be mapped in the Atlas, its occurrence in Kentucky and Tennessee must be documented by at least one herbarium specimen, although we do have a few species whose documentation is pending and these will show up on the site without being mapped.

The TNKY was initially populated by a January 2019 data pull from the SERNEC portal.  All data from all herbaria in Tennessee, except for GSMNP, and all herbaria from Kentucky were all pulled for the two-state checklist of 3592 species and lesser taxa.  We plan to update our records once or twice a year as new data are added to the SERNEC portal.  Furthermore, the Atlas contains many photographs taken in Tennessee and Kentucky of live plants in their natural habitats. Photographs were vetted for accuracy and quality by Joey Shaw.  The species data on morphology and ecology were added by Joey Shaw and Dwayne Estes.

The TNKY Plant Atlas project is part of the University of South Florida family of PlantAtlas.org sites which provided the web development for this site. All data are curated by the membership herbaria of EKU and the Tennessee Herbarium Consortium.



We are very thankful for NSF: Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections and SERNEC for assembling and making specimen image data available and for funding provided by the Tennessee Native Plant Society and the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves.


Distribution information compiled from herbarium specimens and the nomenclature are entered into a Microsoft SQL Server database management system (PlantDB).  Atlas web pages are generated directly from the PlantDB database using the ASP program language served from Microsoft's Internet Information Server.  Maps are generated directly from PlantDB using ESRI MapObjects 2.0 technology residing on a Microsoft NT server.  Because the Atlas web site is generated directly from PlantDB, all web pages and maps are as up to date as the information entered into the database.  All data is maintained on servers at the University of South Florida.  The PlantDB database management system was designed by Shawn Landry of the Florida Center for Community Design and Research (FCCDR) with the help of Jeb Holub (Axis Technologies, Inc.) and Bruce Hansen of Institute of Systematic Botany (ISB).  All ASP programming was developed by Jeb Holub under the direction of the FCCDR and ISB.  Web page graphic design was created by Kristin Parker (FCCDR) with assistance from Kevin Kerrigan.  Questions regarding the technology behind the Alabama Plant Atlas can be directed to Shawn Landry at the Florida Center for Community Design and Research at the University of South Florida.