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About GrassPortal

GrassPortal is a collaboration between researchers and IT specialists at the University of Sheffield, the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), Knowledge Now Limited, and the University of Lausanne. The GrassPortal system was initially developed with funding from JISC from September 2009 to March 2011. It is now supported by Project Sunshine, a University of Sheffield initiative, and by an EC cooperation grant to the University of Sheffield and K-Now. The EC project uses GrassPortal to understand the ecological requirements of wild perennial grasses that are being developed as biofuel crops.

How to cite us

Please cite GrassPortal as follows:

Osborne CP, Visser V, Chapman S, Barker A, Freckleton RP, Salamin N, Simpson D, Uren V. 2011. GrassPortal: an online ecological and evolutionary data facility. ( [accessed 1 June 2011].

In addition to this citation, if any data retrieved from GrassPortal originate from GBIF, users are required to adhere to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility Data Use Agreement. This includes data in all fields listed under “GBIF distribution data” in the search ontology of GrassPortal. GBIF data provider names are provided in the results.


Colin Osborne

Colin Osborne

University of Sheffield

Colin is director of the GrassPortal project. His research looks at plant-climate relationships in the contexts of ecology and evolution.

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Osborne lab webpages

Vernon Visser

Vernon Visser

University of Sheffield

Vernon is project manager for GrassPortal. His research interests lie in understanding the distributions of living organisms and how this knowledge can be used to aid in their conservation.

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Rob Freckleton

University of Sheffield

Rob is a co-investigator on the project. His research interests are in modelling population and community dynamics.

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Victoria Uren

University of Sheffield

Victoria is a co-investigator on the project. She is leading the evaluation process through studies of user interaction with the GrassPortal tools.

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Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

David is Assistant Keeper, Head of Systematics in the Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives at Kew. He has management responsibility for the GrassBase flora and nomenclature databases, which are essential components of GrassPortal.

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Nicolas Salamin

Nicolas Salamin

University of Lausanne

Nicolas has been working extensively on grass evolution and is has developed the grass phylogenetic database, GrassWeb, that GrassPortal will link into.

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Sam Chapman

Knowledge Now Limited (K-Now) K-Now

Sam is Technical Director of Knowledge Now Limited, a spin out company from the University of Sheffield which specialises in providing exploration portals for managing heterogeneous information across organisational data.

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Funding for the GrassPortal project was secured through the 2009-2011 JISC e-Content programme.

Contact Us

We welcome feedback on the website and system. We would be most interested to know if you have used the data and whether you have successfully published anything using data obtained via GrassPortal.