Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Karoo BioGaps - Press Release -How you can help

How you can help:

We are calling on the public to be part of the Karoo BioGaps Project and help us undertake fieldwork in the Karoo and/or help us integrate existing data from museums and herbaria. We will study 12 different taxonomic groups: plants, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, freshwater fish, birds, bees, spiders, dragonflies, scorpions, grasshoppers and butterflies. By the end of the project, approximately 200,000 new records will inform species occupancy and habitat richness models.  These, along with approximately 300 Red List assessments of species of conservation concern, will be given to decision makers. The project also provides research opportunities for postgraduate students, building critical capacity for converting foundational biodiversity science into policy advice.

1.     You can photograph Karoo species and post your observations on
Why would posting observations on iSpot help? Any record of any species in the Karoo is useful to us, particularly those in the 12 taxonomic groups. By posting your picture of a species with its location information onto iSpot, you will be adding to the knowledge about the distribution range of that species.  Species experts will have access to your image on the website, and will identify it for you. You might spot something really unique!

2.     You can help transcribe data from museum and herbaria collections using the online platform
Why do we need help transcribing? There are thousands of historical museum and herbaria specimens collected before the time of computers! The information in these specimen records is critical to understand previous distribution patterns of species, but the information is inaccessible if it remains in hard copy only.  We need to digitise all museum and herbaria records so that scientists can analyse the data. Photographs of the specimen have been uploaded onto this website, but we need your help to type the data from the specimen label into the database. By doing this transcribing, you are helping to make species information as old as 1830 available to scientists and the general public!

Prizes are available for the most iSpot uploads and the most records transcribed!

The Karoo BioGaps Project led by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in partnership with a consortium of research institutions, and is funded by the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP), a joint initiative of the Department of Science of Technology (DST), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and SANBI.

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