By biological recorders for biological recorders

NFBR bannerThe National Forum for Biological Recording (NFBR) is a membership organisation with the unique distinction that it represents, at a national level, the interests and work of biological recorders across all taxonomic groups. We think of ourselves as an independent voice for biological recorders in the UK. For an increasing number of biological recorders, the annual NFBR conference is a highlight of the social and professional development calendars. This year's conference - 'A Question of Ecology – Answers from Biological Recording' - promises to be one of the most exciting and best attended ever.

Save a Spider!

Pardosa amentata maleAccording to someone, somewhere, Saturday 14th March is 'Save a Spider Day'! A quick search on Google indicates that for others it is 'Non-smoking Day' and I dare say, if I looked hard enough, I could quickly fill my diary for tomorrow, what with avoiding cigarettes, saving spiders and everything else!

Behind the scenes at the museum

A tray of weevil specimens at the musem.  Photo: C BellLast week took a trip to visit the Entomology department at Liverpool’s World Museum. The trip, initiated by the FSC’s Invertebrate Challenge Project three years ago, has become something of an annual event. It’s a chance for local entomologists, including members of the Shropshire Spider Group and the Shropshire Entomology Group, to examine some of the museum’s impressive invertebrate collections.

New AIDGAP test version for 2015: The Mosquitoes (Culicidae) of Britain and Ireland

Mosquito.  Line drawing: Thom DallimoreFSC Publications have been working with Clare Strode and Thom Dallimore at Edge Hill University to develop a new AIDGAP guide to the mosquitoes of Great Britain and Ireland. This will be ready for AIDGAP testing from spring 2015.

Looking for a needle in a haystack…and finding it!

Bettisfield Moss.  Photo: C Bell

Last Friday I found myself crouched over a plastic sheet in the middle of a National Nature Reserve, squinting at Sphagnum. I’d joined an enthusiastic team of local spider experts, volunteers and Natural England staff at Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses, a NNR spanning the English and Welsh border. Our mission: to search for the nationally rare spider species Glyphesis cottonae.

D3 examples: feel more force

D3 teaser imageFrom Mike Bostock's Force Layout Collision Detection D3 demo. This is another example of how Mike Bostock's D3 javascript library can enable beautifully dynamic and responsive interfaces representing data in very creative ways - limited chiefly by our imaginations.

D3 examples: visualise a hierarchy as a dynamic tree

D3 teaser imageFrom Rob Schmuecker's Collapsible, Zoomable and Drag 'n' Dropable Tree Layout D3 demo. This amazing demonstration from Rob Schmuecker shows how the D3 library can be used to build a fully interactive tree view of hierarchical data. It uses the 'flare' demo dataset, but the actual data is unimportant to us. The interesting thing is how this visualisation puts control into the hands of the person exploring it.

D3 examples: visualise a nested hierarchy

D3 teaser imageFrom Mike Bostock's 'Zoomable Packing' D3 demo. This is a great way of visualising nested hierarchies. You can zoom in to get detail (in this case names relating to some programming paradigm of no importance to us) by clicking over any white object that you want to inspect. Zoom out by clicking again. You can imagine how a taxonomic hierarchy could be represented and explored in this way. We will soon be demonstrating examples that do just that.

D3 examples: feel the force

D3 teaser imageFrom Mike Bostocks Force Layout D3 demo. This example demonstrates the 'force layout' where objects can be attracted or repelled from each other according to properties of the objects. This can be used to demonstrate the relationships between objects. You can interact with the objects, dragging them about and seeing the effect on the others.

TaxonAid demonstration

ThumbnailTaxonAid is an online tool dedicated to the improvement of techniques in taxonomic identification. We think that an approach using high quality interactive movement-based resources and existing identification keys represents the best way to both maximise efficiency of identification and also to provide an engaging learning and teaching environment.


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