Developing a Digital Taxonomic Key for Svalbard’s Flora

Testing & improving the first (bèta) versions of the ArtsApp key for Vascular plants in Svalbard

Project description:

BioCEED is developing ArtsApp, a digital taxonomic key which is mostly used through a phone application. At the moment, a key for all of Svalbard’s vascular plants is in the making. This key is different from most traditional keys because it is a digital one, but also because it is a polytomous key whereas traditional keys are usually dichotomous. This means that instead of choosing one of two options and going through the steps in a set order, you can choose from several options and make these choices in any possible order. A first version of the ArtsApp key for Svalbard’s vascular plants is available already, but this version needs to be tested and improved. By working on this project, you’ll be contributing to the future learning experience of UNIS students and others interested in Svalbard’s flora.


Tasks include testing the key using dried (herbarium) samples, while taking notes on the problems or challenges you run into when using the app. Depending on time and interests, you may also help with working on further improvements for the key.

No previous experience with taxonomy/botany needed, since ArtsApp is aimed to be accessible for entrance-level biology students. You do need a phone or other device onto which you can download apps through Google Play or the App Store.

The project involves:

Dry lab work, in this case: using herbarium samples to test the key, with the help of a stereoscope if needed.

Starting date/period:

2 March 2020 – 20 June 2020

Experience/skills to be acquired:

The student(s) will gain experience using taxonomic keys and gain insight in how they are developed, specifically digital and polytomous keys. At the same time, the student(s) will become more familiar with the flora of Svalbard. These skills and experience will be useful for for future (taxonomy/botany) courses or projects.


Flexible (max. 40 hours).

Interested by this project? Need more info? Contact: 

Angeline (Anne) Bruls

Project number: 11

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