It would be great to be able to search for marine / coastal organisms irespective of taxonomic group. At the moment, one has to search through plants for seaweeds, invertebrates, fish, and other creatures for the rest of the coastal/marine fauna.
This ties into what I would like to suggest, a habitat filter. My observations are mostly coast and dune and ideally I would like to see what other observations there were for a similar habitat.
I am also a coastal person (Westgate) and have difficulty in getting any replies to seaweed IDs as well as invertebrate information (on oyster at the moment - see invertebrate forum and gramandy observations). I particularly think that the algal/coastal plants get lost in the group too easily due to the sheer number of entries.
Yes, you are right. We will be making some big improvements to iSpot over the coming year that should make it easier to see whatever you want.
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)
I agree with all of the above and, in my case, wish there was a way to filter out lichens from the Fungi & Lichens group. And bryologists might be more willing if they didn't have to sift through countless higher plants. I realise the user-unfriendly drawbacks of finely divided groups, and don't support splitting Plants or Fungi & Lichens.
Some random thoughts: tags could be used to identify subcategories (eg algae, mosses, liverworts, lichens etc), but I don't think many users use tags. I know I don't. Tags could also work for observations that span multiple groups (eg coastal). If something akin to tags was selectable from a drop-down box at the point of posting an observation, it might encourage their use.
I'll be interested to see what you come up with. I know there is a fine balance to be kept between must-have functionality and overcomplicating things. What is already in place is superb.
Using tags more is an excellent idea, although at the moment its easier to add them than to use them to retrieve observations. We will look at this and find a simple way to make them more useful. Thanks for the suggestion.