Printed Identification Key or Web-Based Identification Guide: An Effective Tool for Species Identification?
Species identification is often done with the aid of traditional dichotomous keys. This printed material is based on one’s decision between two alternatives, which is followed by another pair of alternatives until the final species name is reached. With the advent of internet technology, the use of an online database offers an updatable and accumulative approach to species identification. It can also be accessed anytime, and this is very useful for fast-changing groups of organisms. In this paper, we report the preference of sophomore Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Microbiology students to two identification guides as a tool in taxonomy. We wish to test our hypothesis that today’s students will prefer to use web-based ID guides over printed dichotomous keys. We also describe how these printed dichotomous key and web-based ID guides were used by the students as one of their laboratory activities in the course Biology of Algae and Fungi.
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