Cataloguing and Digitisation
(Scientific Library Services and Information Systems)

Acquisition of ecophysiologically relevant morphometric data of fossil leaves

How to search

In the MORPHYLL-database three different data types can be distinguished: metadata, taxonomic data and morphometric data:
(1) metadata comprise information of institutions, fossil site localisation, their stratigraphic position and specimen accession numbers
(2) taxonomic data (if existent) allow searches on species, genus, family and order level
(3) morphometric data include qualitative character states covering leaf margin, lobation, shape and size as well as venation types. Quantitative morphometric data comprise leaf size, length, width length/width ratio and area index. If preserved petiole length and width are also provided.

To get full access to the complete set of data including morphometry and high resolution images, please contact the curator of fossil plants at SMNS ( Please note the Terms of Use.


How to interpret the number of matches of a query

Due to the goal of extracting morphometric data of the MORPHYLL-database an entity treated here is represented by a single leaflet. Fossil leaves consisting of several leaflets (composed leaves) are split up to several entities - each of them is represented in the database by its own acccession number. The quantity of matches of a query in the result page corresponds to entities (individual leaflets) and thus it is not necessarily reflecting the real number of fossil specimen.

Some queries will produce duplicated entries in the result page and consequently increase the number of matches. The reason for this is the circumstance that descriptors of qualitative leaf traits are hierarchically structured. For example the leaf margin type distinguishes untoothed and toothed leaves. Toothed margins can be subdivided into in dentate, serrate and crenate margins. In order to reproduce this hierarchical structure in the database a leaf can be characterised by several descriptors, e.g. toothed and dentate toothed. Thus in unspecific queries i.e. in queries without filtering for a specific qualitative trait duplicated entries may occur.