Biological Recording Week: Day 6 - What other online resources are out there which will help my recording?

During this week, Ryan will be introducing us to the topic of biological recording. Day 6 looks at what online resources are out there to help you identify and record species in our area.

Hi everyone,

Welcome to day 6 of my series of blog posts looking at biological recording and how you can get involved. We have covered a lot this week, so do check back to see what you have missed! Today’s post will look at several resources that can help with biological recording.

Social Media

Social media is a really useful tool to help with biological recording! On Facebook there is a variety of groups which cover an increasing variety of taxonomic groups, allowing everyone to get involved and post photos and ask for help with identification. If you are interested in a particular taxonomic group, it is definitely worth having a look and seeing what you can find! Some of my favourites are ‘Insects and other invertebrates of Britain and Europe’ and ‘Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland’. A number of these groups will ask that you put your sightings on iRecord in return for them helping you identify your species. Similarly, there are lots of helpful people on Twitter who can help with identifying species. One of my favourites is that if you use the hashtag #WildflowerID , a helpful botanist usually comes along and helps you identify your plant. Social media also links up recorders, every Sunday from 8pm – 9pm, #WildflowerHour occurs where people post photos of plants they have seen in flower during the last week. Magical! Finally, the Wildlife Trust has an excellent  Monitoring and Research Facebook Group where you can post your photos and ask for help with recording!

Our Recording Handbook

To assist recorders in our area with biological recording, we have produced a handbook which is available free by clicking on the image below. The handbook guides you through making a biological record, grid references and contacting your local records centre.

iSpot

iSpot is a citizen science project run by The Open University that was developed to help anyone learn about and engage with nature while sharing and building their wildlife identification skills. It is a useful website to develop your identification skills and make connections with others by attempting identifications. It is unclear as to the record flow from iSpot to recording schemes and local records centres though, so I would advise still recording your sightings elsewhere too.

iNaturalist

iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature. Like iSpot, the community on there help with identification. This website has more of an international focus though. The website advertises that scientists use the records submitted on the website for research, but currently this is not generally the case in the UK as iRecord has much more stringent data quality checks. I therefore wouldn’t recommend it for recording wildlife in the UK, but is a good resource to help with identifications.

Repositories for Identification Resources

The internet is full of helpful resources to help with the identification of species in the UK, but it can be tricky to find them. The Field Studies Council have a great resource called the ID signpost, which has a search facility, enabling you to find ID resources, a number of which are freely available online. Richard Comont also has an excellent list of ID resources on his website. The Wildlife Trust’s website also has lots of great guides to the wildlife of our area covering a wide variety of different species groups. I find these really useful!

Check out the Wildlife Trusts Species Guides

Check out the FSCs ID Signpost

Local Records Centres

Your local records centre is more than happy to help you with recording your sightings and signposting you to others in your area that may be able to help with identifying your finds. Tomorrows blog post will look more in depth at the local records centres that we have in the three counties, so come back tomorrow to find out more!