Comments about some LFDP variables

1. Regarding the CODE variable:
    a. CODE=0 only signifies that a basket was empty.  An accompanying comment typically provides additional explanation.
    b. CODE=blank is associated with baskets that were missing or fell over, or had a tree fall on top and cover or break it completely (not just partially covered by a tree or a partial tear in the screen).
    c. CODE=blank can also indicate that a sample was lost, or for some reason was not collected, as explained in the accompanying
    d. COMMENTS column (e.g., “no se pudo recoger,” “no hay datos,” “falta,” “no hay canasta,” “no apareció la bolsa”.
2. Regarding the SPECIES variable:
    a. Values of SPECIES include several six-letter codes that represent identification to levels above species.  Examples     include “FICSPP” and PIPSPP for the genera Ficus and Piper, respectively, and ORCSPP for the family Orchidaceae.  A key to these codes is included in the species file that can be downloaded at http://luq.lternet.edu/data/specieslist/treecodes.html
    b. SPECIES=blank is associated with baskets that were empty (i.e., CODE=0), or baskets that were missing or fell over, or samples that were lost or for some reason not collected (i.e., CODE=blank).
3. Regarding the NUMBER variable:
    a NUMBER=blank most commonly is associated with flower parts (i.e., CODE=1), because only presence/absence of flowers is recorded; they are not counted.
    b. In rare instances NUMBER=blank is associated with CODE values > 1 (i.e., fruit or seed).  In these cases the number of individuals was not recorded for some reason, and a note indicating this is included in the
4. COMMENTS column.
    a. For most records, the NUMBER value is simply tallied by counting individuals of a particular fruit or seed category.  However, there are some species that receive special treatment:
        i. When Cecropia shreberiana (CECSCH) seeds are very abundant (more than 100) they are very difficult to count.  In this case the total quantity of CECSCH seeds is weighed and the weight is converted to number of seeds (using an average weight of 0.0007g per seed).
        ii. Marcgravia rectiflora (MARREC) seeds are visually estimated because they are tiny and very difficult to count or weigh. To do this a small selection of the seeds are grouped and counted individually (e.g., a group of 100) and the rest of the MARREC seeds are then are organized into similar-sized groupings and the total number is estimated based on the number in the first group.
        iii. Fruits of Ficus trigonata (FICTRI) brake very easily when they are mature.  To determine the total number of mature fruits that are present in the sample, the sepals are separated and counted instead of the actual fruit, because this is typically the only part of the fruit that remains as a unit.  For FICTRI seeds, which are very small and typically abundant, the number is estimated in the same manner as is done for MARREC.
        iv. In all other cases when seeds, fruits, aborting fruits, or immature fruits are very abundant and difficult to count, the NUMBER value must be determined by either counting and weighing as it was explained for CECSHC, or visually estimating  them as described for MARREC and FICTRI.
    b. Regarding the COMMENTS variable:
        i. Notes are written in English and Spanish providing additional explanation regarding the data (or lack thereof) recorded in one of the other variables columns.
        ii. Baskets with CODE=0 are accompanied by a comment indicating that the basket was empty.   
        iii. For records with blank NUMBER values there is typically a comment indicating that the number was not estimated
        iv. Dozens of additional comments are included as well, not following any specific protocol, but generally indicating one or more of the following:
            1. Abundance, usually the number of flowers or ferns spores or leaves, but can be associated with any code value.
            2. NUMBER values that are approximations
            3. Weights of seeds, or something to indicate that seeds were weighed to obtain the number value
            4. Sex of flowers
            5. Descriptive characteristics about the reproductive state or color of flower or fruit used to help in identification
            6. Descriptions about fern leaves or spores
            7. Common names or scientific species names, including guesses about the correct species, and guesses that may not be correct
            8. Doubt as to accuracy of identification, usually by means of a question mark
       v. The relative state/size of a canopy gap overhead (e.g. S-M GAP)
            9. Indications as to whether or not a sample was kept for identification purposes
            10. Comparisons of the sample in one basket to another from the same collection date
            11. Details about the state of basket (if broken or fallen over, if a tree fallen on top, or if basket moved)
            12. Instructions for the subsequent collection date regarding what to do with the basket (e.g., replace, move, fix screen)   
            13. Growth habit of plant
            14. Data management comment