The FSC BioLinks Project

White Faced Darter (C) Stephen BarlowOur current project, FSC BioLinks, is all about invertebrates.  Invertebrates provide us with many useful ecosystem services which we cannot survive without but their numbers are declining. Few people know how to identify or record invertebrates meaning there is a lack of records, making it difficult for conservationists to address these declines. The BioLinks project teaches people how to identify and record invertebrates by providing subsidised training courses, learning opportunities and digital tools to generate more records.

Who's who in the world of biological recording?

Britain is very lucky to have a rich history in biological recording. As a result, the UK has a well developed network of organisations involved in biological recording. Getting your head around what these recording organisations do and how they can help you can be confusing, so we hope this will provide some clarity!

What is a biological record?

The FSC BioLinks project provides training to develop the skills of existing biological recorders and to create new recorders. We're doing this to build and strengthen the biological recording community…but what is a biological record?

Hartlebury Common BioBlitz 2019

Join us for a BioBlitz on Hartlebury Common on the 29th of June as we attempt to find and record as many species of plant and animal as we can throughout the day.  

Shropshire Invertebrate Group 2019 Programme

The 2019 field and indoor meetings programme for the Shropshire Invertebrate Group has now been published. All welcome! For further details and contacts please download the programme.

Spangle galls

Into the future: new FSC QGIS Plugin features

British and Irish Hectad records from a single sourceToday we released a new version of the FSC QGIS Plugin (version 3.2.0 released 27th Feburary 2019). This feels like a real milestone for the FSC QGIS Plugin for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's packed with new features including the ability to handle Irish as well as British grid references, the ability to link directly to a Recorder 6 database as a source for the Biological Records tool, the addition of a new 'Add Grid Refs to layers' tool and many more. Secondly the release is a collaborative effort with a major contribution, on the Recorder 6 feature, from Ian Carle of the Hertfordshire Environmental Records Centre. Thirdly we have announced new governanace arrangements for this open source project into the future.

International Day of Women in Science

Worm womenIn celebration of the International Day of Women in Science, I thought I’d celebrate some of the women who’ve been involved in BioLinks so far, all of whom have contributed in different ways to a successful first year of the project.

Why, sometimes, we need to collect invertebrates and our code of conduct for doing so

Collecting invertebrates using sweep nets during an FSC BioLinks course, 2018

New blog by Holly Dillon. Collecting is essential for the study of most invertebrate taxa because most of them are so small they require microscopic examination to accurately identify them to species level. Many people think this seems a bit backwards because we have to kill things in order to study them and, in the current biodiversity crisis, surely killing things is the last thing we should be doing? This is not necessarily the case when it comes to invertebrates.

Latest Identikit developments

Screenshots of Identikit's mobile-first interfaceFSC Identikit is an open-source platform for building online ID resources, including multi-access keys, driven by spreadsheets of taxonomic/morphological knowledge. 2018 has been a year of intensive development of Identikit and Esmée Fairbairn’s support has enabled us to completely restructure the software ‘under the hood’ to add the capacity to deliver ID resources in the field – even where an internet connection is not available.

Nomenclature Glossary for Invertebrates

Glossary for InvertebratesBioLink's trainee, Holly Dillon writes: "One thing I’ve realised from attending the Biolinks courses over the past few months is that it’s not always the collection of specimens or microscopic examination that puts people off invertebrate ID, some people seem to almost have a mental block and feel out of depth whenever any binomial names (or Latin/scientific names) are mentioned. Binomial nomenclature is a formal system for naming species and it was put in place to avoid confusion, not cause it."  Check out Holly's new glossary that explains some more of these commonly used Latin and Greek words and their translations.  

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