independent

Sunday 24 February 2019

Biodiversity Data Centre providing a good overview

Jim Hurley - Nature Trail

Dr Liam Lysaght, Centre Director at the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford reports that 2018 was an exceptional year of recording activity with 3,222 people submitting 100,390 records through Ireland's Citizen Science Portal, a 34% increase from 2017.

As to be expected the majority of records were submitted during the summer months. The largest number of records were submitted for birds (33,098), followed by plants (30,358), butterflies (17,895) and mammals (4,397). Butterfly records were particularly numerous due to the increased recording effort for the forthcoming butterfly atlas. Together records of birds, plants and butterflies accounted for around 80% of the total records submitted to the Data Centre in 2018.

The most active recorder submitted more than 5,000 records of 565 different species, and five recorders submitted more than 2,000 records each, over the year. The top 20 recorders accounted for 37% of all the records submitted during the year.

The total number of records represented a huge recording effort from across the country. Records of more than 1,000 species were submitted from five counties, namely Wexford (1,123), Galway (1,087), Dublin (1,059), Offaly (1,021) and Kerry (1,009). For half of the counties more than 500 species were recorded.

Developing a database of local biodiversity sightings is extremely valuable in that it can help better understand how species are distributed, it will assist the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas, and will provide a resource that can be drawn upon to improve decision-making for conservation.

We are fortunate in Ireland that we now have a very important national biodiversity database of biodiversity data that can be readily accessed through the biodiversity mapping and data portal, Biodiversity Maps. At the end of 2018, the system now maps 4.2 million records, of more than 16,000 species from 147 separate databases, providing a good overview of the biodiversity value of the country.

At a time when the conservation of biological diversity seems to be afforded a low priority in public policy, this recording effort is proof that there is a cohort of people for whom biodiversity is important and who want to see greater efforts made with its conservation.

All of the records that people submit can be viewed on Ireland's Citizen Science Portal at http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/. Over the months ahead, the Centre has plans to implement further functionality to the system which will allow contributors to view and query their sightings in more detail, and in different ways.

Corkman

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