The Species browser - see which species are most often added to iSpot

The Species browser - see which species are most often added to iSpot - Global : What is the Species browser? It’s a new way of showing the links between the thousands of species that have been observed on iSpot, with the most frequently seen species in each group at the top of the list. It’s designed to be a fun and quick way to expl

What is the Species browser? It’s a new way of showing the links between the thousands of species that have been observed on iSpot, with the most frequently seen species in each group at the top of the list. It’s designed to be a fun and quick way to explore species in iSpot, and can help you identify your own observations.

To find the browser, go to the "Explore community" menu at the top of the page, and select “Species browser”.

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The home page for the Species browser allows you to select from 14 groups such as Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Insects and so on. Click on the group you want to explore and you will be shown examples of that group. These are the most frequently seen species in the group, broken down into taxonomic sub-groups. For example, if you click on Mammals you will see a set of images divided into sub-groups for rodents, carnivores, artiodactyls (deer etc.) and so on, each starting off with iSpot’s most frequently observed species in that group.

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If the sub-groups are themselves large ones, you can browse inside them by using the link at the bottom of the group images where it says “See more examples of this group”. For example, if you go to the “Insects” section of the Species browser you will see a mixed group of all the most frequently observed insects on iSpot, but if you click on “See more examples of this group” you’ll be taken to a page where they are separated into groups of butterflies and moths, flies, beetles etc.

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At any stage you can click on one of the thumbnail images and see a preview of the observation for that image. From the preview you can choose to either go to the full observation, or to the species dictionary page for the species.

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The Species browser is organized using the taxonomic hierarchies (‘trees of life’) in the species dictionaries that iSpot uses. There is a different surfer for each dictionary: the UK Species Inventory in UK and Ireland, and the Global dictionary that uses the Catalogue of Life. When you visit the Species browser home page you will automatically see the version based upon the dictionary that iSpot uses for your home community; to see the other dictionary you will need to go to the Communities menu and choose the area you want, and then go back to the Explore community menu and choose the Species browser.

The Species browser is a good way of seeing what species in each group are most frequently observed, and may help you recognise a species that you have seen yourself, but don’t forget that there are more formal identification keys on iSpot for many groups as well.

What is the difference between the Species browser and the Taxonomy links/species dictionary pages?

The Species browser always shows you the most frequently observed species (or genus, or family etc.) at the top of the list, while the species dictionary pages that you get to from the Taxonomy links show the most recently added observations first. Also, the browser view makes it easier to compare images of different but related species or groups on the same page. See above for how you can get to the species dictionary page from the Species browser images.

How does iSpot choose which image represents each species?

The image shown for each species is the one that has been identified with the greatest combined reputation score, adding together the reputations of the identifier and all the people who have agreed with it. In many cases this will pick out images that are particularly good examples of the species, showing the identification features clearly, but we are not implying that these are the ‘best’ images on iSpot!

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08 Jan 2014
Martin Harvey