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The Hawaiian Freshwater Algal Database (HfwADB): a laboratory LIMS and online biodiversity resource

Alison R Sherwood1*, Norman Wang2, Amy L Carlile13, Jessica M Neumann1, Thomas K Wolfgruber2 and Gernot G Presting2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Botany, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, U.S.A

2 Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1955 East–West Rd, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, U.S.A

3 Present address: Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, Connecticut, 06516, U.S.A

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Citation and License

BMC Ecology 2012, 12:22  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-12-22

Published: 25 October 2012



Biodiversity databases serve the important role of highlighting species-level diversity from defined geographical regions. Databases that are specially designed to accommodate the types of data gathered during regional surveys are valuable in allowing full data access and display to researchers not directly involved with the project, while serving as a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). The Hawaiian Freshwater Algal Database, or HfwADB, was modified from the Hawaiian Algal Database to showcase non-marine algal specimens collected from the Hawaiian Archipelago by accommodating the additional level of organization required for samples including multiple species.


The Hawaiian Freshwater Algal Database is a comprehensive and searchable database containing photographs and micrographs of samples and collection sites, geo-referenced collecting information, taxonomic data and standardized DNA sequence data. All data for individual samples are linked through unique 10-digit accession numbers (“Isolate Accession”), the first five of which correspond to the collection site (“Environmental Accession”). Users can search online for sample information by accession number, various levels of taxonomy, habitat or collection site. HfwADB is hosted at the University of Hawaii, and was made publicly accessible in October 2011. At the present time the database houses data for over 2,825 samples of non-marine algae from 1,786 collection sites from the Hawaiian Archipelago. These samples include cyanobacteria, red and green algae and diatoms, as well as lesser representation from some other algal lineages.


HfwADB is a digital repository that acts as a Laboratory Information Management System for Hawaiian non-marine algal data. Users can interact with the repository through the web to view relevant habitat data (including geo-referenced collection locations) and download images of collection sites, specimen photographs and micrographs, and DNA sequences. It is publicly available at webcite.

Algae; Biodiversity survey; Freshwater; Hawaii; Hawaiian Freshwater Algal Database; HfwADB