[Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed Nov 17 14:46:46 CST 2010

good to see someone else who understands and cares about biodiversity data 
quality ... keep up the good work

From: Cristian Ruiz Altaba <cruizaltaba at dgmambie.caib.es>
To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Cc: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz; p.kirk at cabi.org
Sent: Wed, 17 November, 2010 11:43:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory

Just a contribution from another archipelago, right at the antipodes of New 

About ten years ago I devised a biodiversity recording scheme, based on the 
award-winning initiative in Bermuda. Grounded on open-access, public 
contribution and consultation, expert assessment of data quality, and absolute 
traceability of data --both in terms of their origin and the successive 
evaluations of their validity. The project was not implemented as I expected. 
Instead, we have something called Bioatles, which is a series of sheets with a 
short text, a picture of the beast or weed, and a UTM-grid map. Based on an 
untraceable collecting and sorting of data. (See an overview by typing 
"bioatles" in your browser and clicking on any of the first hits.)  

I have contributed with some endemic land snails. For example, Xerocrassa 
claudinae lives only in a very small area, yet about half of the data points 
that had been compiled as "good" were actually based on mistakes of all sorts. 
Nomenclature instability also, because certain German tourists proved to be 
unable to tell apart the island's species and thus have proposed synonymies and 
name resurrections that have no basis whatsoever. Anyway, the point is that 
I have revised the data of this little snail, but cannot assess how much 
confidence can I give to any of the other species sheets. And you have to take 
my word for the data quality on the snail's sheet, because there appears to be 
no way to access the information regarding the process of data collation and 
sieving. In this sense, Bioatles is not different from field-guide range maps. 

Together with A. Norris from the UK, I am compiling range maps for the Balearic 
non-marine molluscs. I expect to provide both the nice maps and spreadsheets 
with all the data, from rough compilations to definitive datasets. Of course it 
would be nice to contribute this into a biodiversity database, but I am just not 
really aware of any that includes all these data-based levels of quality 
assessment (and that does not impose a terribly cumbersome task). Or am I just 
plainly ignorant?

All the best,


Cristian R. Altaba
DG Biodiversitat
Conselleria de Medi Ambient
Govern de les Illes Balears


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