Citizen science and global biodiversity
Citizen science and global biodiversity

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Citizen science and global biodiversity

6.1 Using the Species Browser

The Species Browser is designed to provide a fun and quick way to explore the species recorded in iSpot and can help you to identify your own observations. To find the browser, click on the ‘Explore community’ button in the taskbar at the top of the page (Figure 11). Then select ‘Species browser’ from the drop-down menu or by clicking on the ‘Identify’ button and selecting ‘By browsing species’ from that drop-down menu (Figure 12).

Selecting the iSpot Species Browser from the ‘Explore community’ drop-down menu
Figure 11 Selecting the iSpot Species Browser from the ‘Explore community’ drop-down menu
Selecting the iSpot Species Browser from the ‘Identify’ drop-down menu
Figure 12 Selecting the iSpot Species Browser from the ‘Identify’ drop-down menu

The Species Browser page opens with a gallery view which allows you to select from 14 groups such as birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, etc. (Figure 13). Simply click on the group you want to explore and you will be shown examples of the most frequently seen species in that group, broken down into taxonomic sub-groups. For example, if you click on ‘Mammals’, you will see a set of images divided into sub-groups for rodents, carnivores, artiodactyls (deer, etc.), and so on, ranked in order of descending frequency of observation.

iSpot’s Species Browser – main page
Figure 13 iSpot’s Species Browser – main page

If a sub-group is a particularly large one, you can browse within it by clicking on the ‘See more examples of this group’ link at the bottom of the group images, as you will see in Activity 3.

Activity 3: Searching in the Species Browser

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

For this activity, first make sure you have selected the ‘UK and Ireland’ community, then go to the Species Browser and select ‘Insects’ (Figure 14).

Selecting Insects in the iSpot Species Browser
Figure 14 Selecting Insects in the iSpot Species Browser

A page should appear showing groups of all the most frequently observed insects on iSpot, as shown in Figure 15.

‘Insects’ group in the iSpot Species Browser with ‘Explore sub-group’ button highlighted
Figure 15 ‘Insects’ group in the iSpot Species Browser with ‘Explore sub-group’ button highlighted

By clicking on the ‘Explore sub-group’ button shown in Figure 15 you’ll be taken to a page where the insects are separated into sub-groups of butterflies and moths, flies, beetles etc. (Be patient here as the site filters hundreds of thousands of observations, so the page might take a little time to load as you scroll down.)

You can click on an observation thumbnail image at any point to see a preview of the observation for that species. To have a go at this, under ‘Examples of butterflies and moths’, find the observation of a peacock butterfly shown in Figure 16.

Selecting a peacock butterfly observation
Figure 16 Selecting a peacock butterfly observation

From the preview of the peacock butterfly, first click on the ‘View full observation’ button, then click on the link after ‘Likely ID’ to navigate to a page showing the taxonomy links for this species.

Now that you’ve become familiar with the iSpot Species Browser, it’s time to move on to the next section, reflecting as you do so on the steps you have just gone through.

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