Ecological interactions on iSpot

Ecological interactions can provide a wealth of ways to explore nature. Here are some of them.

Explore and record

All organisms are part of a web of connections with other species, often formed by feeding relationships. Now you can explore and record these ecological relationships using iSpot.

The display and recording of ecological relationships were made possible by a grant from the British Ecological Society.

iSpot uses data on insect-herbivore relationships provided by the Biological Record Centre at the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Things you can do

Look out for the carousel
When you get a likely ID for an observation you've added, check for a carousel of images at the bottom of the screen that shows you species which have been associated with it.
Find the associated species
Why not see if you can find some of the associated species out in the field? If you do see one, you can create a linked observation for it (see below).
Look for interactions
If you see any interactions between species you can now record these with a description of the relationship that you've seen.
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First of all, add an observation in the usual way for one of the interacting species. Then, from this observation, click on "Add an interaction" and you'll be able to add a second observation of the species that the interaction refers to. A drop-down list allows you to say what type of interaction has been seen. You can use the same photo/s that you had in the original observation, or you can upload a different photo (but the location must be the same). As usual with iSpot, you don't need to know the names of the species that you have seen. Others will help you as needed. The interactions that you record will be added to our database and will contribute to scientific knowledge of the ecology of species.

Add interactions to your existing observations
Take a look at your existing iSpot observations to see whether they contain evidence of an ecological interaction.
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For example, you may have made an observation of a butterfly visiting a flower. From the butterfly observation, you can now click on "Add an interaction" to add the same photo as a flower observation, and this will be shown as an interaction with your butterfly observation. Other photos can also be added. You can do this with any observations you have made. Other iSpotters can suggest names for the species you have observed in the normal way, but only you can add an ecological interaction to your observations.