Lizard Island Field Guide: Help: adding new information to descriptions

Help: adding new information to descriptions help

To modify field guides including editing descriptions, you need to contact the site administrator to be registered as a site editor. If logged in but not an editor, you are only able to add sightings data.

All descriptions have a small set of information that they must include. This is limited to:

  • The title of the description
  • The creator of the description
  • The date the description was created

Edit these parts of the description as well as the scientific name and taxonomic rank of the group, if relevant, by clicking on the title of the description.

The description title can be anything you like, but the easiest way to create a relevant description title is to select either the scientific name of the group or a common name of the group from the list of options provided on the description editing page.

Description Characteristics

The substance of each description is a collection of different types of information. That information is described as a set of characteristics. If a description does not include any examples of a specific type of information/characteristic (e.g. details about habitat preferences of the specimens in the group) then that description displays to users including a section for that characteristic. To add the missing information, you need to be logged in and you need to select the type of characteristic to be added from the drop-down set of choices near the bottom of the description page. There are many different types of characteristics that you can choose to document in a description and all of them are available in the drop-down selection box.

Names

Much can be discovered by knowing the naming of a group. Common name characteristics enable the common names of a group to be included in the group description. This can be a powerful means of finding out more information about the group from others.

Kingdom

Each scientific group is either a kingdom or a group within a kingdom and that kingdom must be specified. If the group has a scientific name or a taxonomic classification, then it MUST also have a kingdom. If the group is not a scientific group, then the kingdom can be specified or it can remain unspecified.

Scientific name

Each scientific group MUST have a kingdom specified for it, chosen from the drop down list of possible options.

Taxonomic rank

If the group is a scientific group, then its taxonomic rank should be selected from the dropdown list of possible ranks. If the group has a taxonomic rank, it MUST also have a scientific name and a kingdom.

Common names

A group may have one or more common names. If the group is not a scientific group, then it MUST have a common name. Common names may vary from language to language and from region to region. Currently all common names must be English. You can use the second field to specify the region where the common name is used, for those common names that are only used in a specific region. Otherwise leave the region empty. When referring to a groupfrom elsewhere in Lizard Island Field Guide, currently only the first common name is used so it should be the most widely used common name from among those listed.

Morphology

The group naming editor makes it possible for a group to be specified for a specific morphology of a more broadly defined group. For such groups, it is necessary to specify which morphology and that is done with the morphology field in the names editor for a given group. Otherwise the morphology field should be left blank.

Common names

The group naming editor makes it possible for a group to be specified for a specific morphology of a more broadly defined group. For such groups, it is necessary to specify which morphology and that is done with the morphology field in the names editor for a given group. Otherwise the morphology field should be left blank.

Synonyms

For groups with a scientific taxonomic rank, it can also be helpful to know alternative or obsolete scientific names for a group. Such names are recorded as synonoyms in a description. They can be particularly helpful when trying to merge together two descriptions of a group that have inadvertently been created in Lizard Island Field Guide. The synonym is made up of a kingdom, a taxonomic rank for the synonym and a synonym name. All three pieces of information are required.

The following kinds of characteristics can be added to any of the descriptions in Lizard Island Field Guide.

Images

For many groups, the fastest way to make an identification is by comparing the look of the sighted specimen to a set of benchmark images. For this reason, it is importantly to include at least one representative image for each group in its description.

Each image in a description is a characteristic of that description. Images can be placed in a specific order, with the first image in the ordering being treated as the main image for that description. The main image is special in that it is the one displayed for the group in situations where only one image can be shown. Often, it makes sense to include images for males, females, and juveniles. Each image is accompanied by a caption, notes about the image, and details about the ownership of the image and the licensing arrangements that cover the use of the image.

Each image is accompanied by the following data:

  • The caption can be prepopulated with a suitably linked species common name and/or scientific name by clicking on the checkbox below the caption field and then saving or checking the form. Often it is useful to click the checkbox, check the form to get the linked name added to the caption, and then manually adding extra details about what is special in the image shown (sex/age/behaviour etc.). Generally, the image caption should always include the name details for the species shown. Typically, the location and date of the image is NOT included in the image caption. Note that, if the checkbox is ticked, to use the "common name (scientific name)" as the caption, then the existing caption will be replaced with the new one.
  • Below the caption field is a field for additional details where you should include information about the location in which the image was captured, the date on which it was captured and any other salient details that help users to understand more about the image.
  • Images can be documented with the web address of the page where the original version of the image is hosted. This is not necessary if the original Internet version of the image is the one that you are editing, on Lizard Island Field Guide. Otherwise, the web address entered as the source webpage needs to show the image itself, details about its owner, and details about the terms of its licensing. It is not sufficient to just include a link to the actual image itself, as it is hosted elsewhere on the Internet.
  • All images need to be suitably licensed. Unless the image is placed in the public domain then the image needs to include a link to a webpage detailing the conditions of the license. This webpage address needs to be entered as the license webpage for the image. For images that have been sourced from other sites, this webpage address needs to be copied exactly from the appropriate link provided on the source webpage for the image.
  • The name of the license also need to be specified for each image. If the name is "Public Domain" then no license webpage is required for the image.
  • The name(s) and email address(es) of the image owner(s) also need to be specified for each image. Try to include the real name for users unless the real names are not available. If there are not enough rows to include the details of all owners, then fill out the existing rows and click on the check button to update the form and display an additional row for an extra person. Continue until all owners have been added.

Importing images from other sites

Images can be imported from some other websites, if they have appropriate licencing terms. Image imports are done by entering the URL (web page address) of the page on the source website that contains the details about the image being imported. Image imports are supported from the following websites:

  • iNaturalist or NatureWatchNZ images must be imported from web pages with a URL like:
    https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/[observation ID] or
    https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/[photo ID] or
    https://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/[observation ID] or
    https://naturewatch.org.nz/photos/[photo ID]
  • Flickr images must be imported from web pages with a URL like:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[username]/[photoId]...
  • Wikipedia images must be imported from web pages with a URL like:
    https://[domain]/wiki/[page]/media/File:[file name]
    where the domain must end in wikipedia.org or wikimedia.org, the page can have any value and the file name can have any value.
  • Atlas of Living Australia images must be imported from web pages with a URL like:
    https://images.ala.org.au/image/details?imageId=[image ID] or
    https://images.ala.org.au/image/proxyImageThumbnailLarge?imageId=[image ID]
  • Fishes of Australia images must be imported from web pages with a URL like::
    http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/[speciesID] or
    http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/[speciesID]#[photo number] where the photo number is the number of the photo in the gallery. If the hash and photo number is omitted then the main photo for the species is imported. If it is 1, then the first thumbnail image in the gallery of images is imported. It it is 2, then the second thumbnail is imported, and so on.
  • Encyclopedia Online images must be imported from web pages with a URL like::
    https://eol.org/data_objects/[photoId] or
    https://www.eol.org/data_objects/[photoId]

Image reordering

It is possible to change the order in which images are displayed for a group description. This has far-reaching consequences because the first image, in the chosen order, is the one used to represent the group in situations where there is only room to display a single image. The reordering of images is done by clicking on the reorder images link that is accessible to site editors on the group description page. Images can be dragged and dropped into the desired sequence (note though that some touchscreen devices are not able to perform the drag operations). Once the desired ordering has been achieved, save the changes to lock them in.

Import images from the web

The Atlas of Living Australia maintains a database of images on the Internet for many species found in Australia. Lizard Island Field Guide makes it easy for you to review the available images by following the relevant link on the group description page. Lizard Island Field Guide then shows the list of images that are available and the user can tick the checkboxes for the ones to import.

Lizard Island Field Guide does make an attempt to screen the images to eliminate those that are not available under appropriate licensing arrangements but significant care needs to be taken to ensure that each photo imported via this facility does appear on a web page that clearly indicates that it is available under a suitable license. That is the web page that needs to be specified as the source URL for the image. Too often, with images sourced from the Atlas of Living Australia, the link that is imported is to the actual image itself rather than the page that includes the image and gives information about that image.

Search Google for images to import

Google indexes a vast collection of wildlife images. This collection is searchable via Google Image Search. Lizard Island Field Guide provides a link from the description pages to this search facility so that users can seek out images of groups that have a scientific name. The search criteria are designed to make it more likely that suitably licensed images are found. However, care needs to be taken to confirm licensing arrangements for any images that are imported into Lizard Island Field Guide.

Search Flickr for images to import

Flickr contains many wildlife images with suitable licensing terms. This search system enables you to find such images at a single click. The import into Lizard Island Field Guide is fairly automated, as described below.

Importing a Flickr image

Once you have found an image on Flickr to import, it can be a tedious process to copy the image and its data across to Lizard Island Field Guide. Fortunately, Lizard Island Field Guide uses the power of Flickr's API to automate this process for you. To import a Flickr image, simply click on the link to "Add a Flickr photo" on the description page. This will take you to a form where you can enter the full web page address (URL) of the page containing the Flickr image. Note that you will need to check the web page address you are entering against the template addresses shown on the photo import page. If the web page address matches one of the templates, and if the photo is suitably licensed, then the image and its data are automatically imported into Lizard Island Field Guide.

Importing an image from a record

Users are able to upload records to Lizard Island Field Guide. These records sometimes also include photographic evidence to support them. On occasion, these photos are good enough from an identification perspective, to include in the description of the group. Click on the link to add a record photo to see the available photos. Select the photo to import and save the changes. Once the photo is imported you will be able to edit its details to integrate it into the group description in an appropriate way.

Importing an image from a record

Users are able to create records of sightings on Lizard Island Field Guide. These records sometimes also include photographic evidence to support them. On occasion, these photos are good enough from an identification perspective, to include in the description of the group. Click on the link to add a record photo to see the available photos. Select the photo to import and save the changes. Once the photo is imported you will be able to edit its details to integrate it into the group description in an appropriate way.

Uploading an image to Lizard Island Field Guide

Users are also able to directly upload images from their computer to Lizard Island Field Guide. Such photos can be in JPEG, GIF or PNG format and can have any dimensions and any resolution. For consistency, where it does not compromise the information in the image, the ratio of the image height to its width should be 4:3. However, that is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. When an image is uploaded, you need to specify all of the information about the image using the image details form.

Silhouettes

Occasionally, it can be helpful, for identification purposes, to reduce the information in an image down to a silhouette. Silhouettes are just a special case of an image characteristic.

Each image is accompanied by the following data:

  • The caption can be prepopulated with a suitably linked species common name and/or scientific name by clicking on the checkbox below the caption field and then saving or checking the form. Often it is useful to click the checkbox, check the form to get the linked name added to the caption, and then manually adding extra details about what is special in the image shown (sex/age/behaviour etc.). Generally, the caption should include the name details for the species shown. Typically, date of the silhouette is NOT included in the image caption. Note that, if the checkbox is ticked, to use the "common name (scientific name)" as the caption, then the existing caption will be replaced with the new one.
  • Below the caption field is a field for additional details where you should include information about the silhouette.
  • Silhouettes can be documented with the web address of the page where the original version of the image is hosted. This is not necessary if the original Internet version of the image is the one that you are editing, on Lizard Island Field Guide. Otherwise, the web address entered as the source webpage needs to show the silhouette itself, details about its owner, and details about the terms of its licensing. It is not sufficient to just include a link to the actual silhouette itself, as it is hosted elsewhere on the Internet.
  • All images need to be suitably licensed. Unless the image is placed in the public domain then the image needs to include a link to a webpage detailing the conditions of the license. This webpage address needs to be entered as the license webpage for the image. For images that have been sourced from other sites, this webpage address needs to be copied exactly from the appropriate link provided on the source webpage for the image.
  • The name of the license also need to be specified for each silhouette. If the name is "Public Domain" then no license webpage is required.
  • The name(s) and email address(es) of the owner(s) also need to be specified for each silhouette. Try to include the real name for users unless the real names are not available. If there are not enough rows to include the details of all owners, then fill out the existing rows and click on the check button to update the form and display an additional row for an extra person. Continue until all owners have been added.

Sound recordings

For many groups, and especially for birds identifications can be confirmed by reference to recordings of the sounds that they make. Sound recordings can be included in descriptions as MP3 files.

Each sound recording is a characteristic of that description. Recordings can be placed in a specific order. Each sound recording is accompanied by a caption, notes about the sound recording, and details about its ownership and licensing arrangements.

Each sound recording is accompanied by the following data:

  • The caption can be prepopulated with a suitably linked species common name and/or scientific name by clicking on the checkbox below the caption field and then saving or checking the form. Often it is useful to click the checkbox, check the form to get the linked name added to the caption, and then manually adding extra details about what is special in the image shown (sex/age/behaviour etc.). Generally, the caption should always include the name details for the species shown. Typically, the location and date of the sound recording is NOT included in the caption. Include those details in the image notes. Note that, if the checkbox is ticked, to use the "common name (scientific name)" as the caption, then the existing caption will be replaced with the new one.
  • Below the caption field is a field for additional details where you should include information about the location in which the sound recording was captured, the date on which it was captured and any other salient details that help users to understand more about the sound recording.
  • Sound recordings can be documented with the web address of the page where the original version of the sound recording is hosted. This is not necessary if the original Internet version of the sound recording is the one that you are editing, on Lizard Island Field Guide. Otherwise, the web address entered as the source webpage needs to show the sound recording itself, details about its owner, and details about the terms of its licensing. It is not sufficient to just include a link to the actual sound recording itself, as it is hosted elsewhere on the Internet.
  • All sound recordings need to be suitably licensed. Unless the sound recording is placed in the public domain then the image needs to include a link to a webpage detailing the conditions of the license. This webpage address needs to be entered as the license webpage for the sound recording. For sound recordings that have been sourced from other sites, this webpage address needs to be copied exactly from the appropriate link provided on the source webpage for the sound recording.
  • The name of the license also need to be specified for each sound recording. If the name is "Public Domain" then no license webpage is required for the sound recording.
  • The name(s) and email address(es) of the sound recording owner(s) also need to be specified for each image. Try to include the real name for users unless the real names are not available. If there are not enough rows to include the details of all owners, then fill out the existing rows and click on the check button to update the form and display an additional row for an extra person. Continue until all owners have been added.

Sound reordering

It is possible to change the order in which sound recordings are listed in a group description. The reordering of recordings is done by clicking on the reorder sound recordings link that is accessible to site editors on the group description page. Sound recordings can be dragged and dropped into the desired sequence (note though that some touchscreen devices are not able to perform the drag operations). Once the desired ordering has been achieved, save the changes to lock them in.

Uploading an sound recording to Lizard Island Field Guide

Users are able to directly upload sound recordings from their computer to Lizard Island Field Guide. Such recordings must be in MP3 format and they must be smaller than 500 KB. When a sound recording is uploaded, you need to specify all of the information about the sound recording using the sound recording details form. Importantly, ownership and licensing details are required.

Importing a Xeno Canto sound

Note that Xeno Canto only stores sound recordings for birds. Sound recordings for other species will need to be sourced from elsewhere.

Once you have found a sound recording on Xeno Canto to import, it can be a tedious process to copy the sound and its data across to Lizard Island Field Guide. Fortunately, Lizard Island Field Guide can analyse the consistent structure of Xeno Canto web pages to automate this process for you. To import a Xeno Canto sound file, simply click on the link to "Add a Xeno Canto sound" instead of directly uploading a sound file via the web form. This will take you to a form where you can enter the full web page address (URL) of the page linking to the description of the Xeno-Canto sound file. Note that you will need to check the web page address you are entering against the template address shown on the sound import page. If the web page address matches the template, and if the sound file is suitably licensed, and complies with the other size-related constraints, then the sound and its data are automatically imported into Lizard Island Field Guide.

Related web pages

While they are not of great value when you are in the field and away from an internet connection, links from a description to related web pages are a valuable way to cross check information in a description and to fill in any gaps in the data available in Lizard Island Field Guide.

Links to related web pages are also useful when you need to acknowledge sources for information that you have included in a description.

For those web page that have already been entered, the URL field label can be used as a quick means of accessing the referenced web page, to check its existence and relevance.

Automated discovery of related web pages

Lizard Island Field Guide makes it easy to quickly find some of the more standard related webpages, including relevant Wikipedia pages and Encyclopedia of Life pages. By clicking on the link to find related web pages, you will cause the server to find such pages and incorporate links to them into the description being viewed. This operation can take a minute or two to complete given the delays involved in confirming the existence of the related web pages.

A growing range of sites, including Wikipedia, Wikispecies, Encyclopedia Of Life, and ZipcodeZoo are polled to determine if they provide relevant information.

Scientific data sources (Life Science Identifiers)

Scientific groups often are associated with Life Science Identifiers (LSID).

If you manually add an LSID to a description take note that LSIDs have a very specific structure that needs to be followed. A LSID is a unique identifier of a scientific group. These unique identifiers are defined by a number of different authorities so the one scientific group can have several LSIDs. An example LSID is:

		    urn:lsid:marinespecies.org:taxname:137160    
		  

Note that it starts with urn indicating that it is, like all LSIDs, a Uniform Resource Name (URN). Next is lsid indicating that it is a LSID kind of URN. Next is the identifier of the issuing authority, in this case, marinespecies.org. Next is the namespace, taxname, in which the LSID is declared, grouping together all LSIDs issued by the same authority that have the same purpose. Finally, there is the object identifier within the specified namespace: in this case 137160. LSIDs can also have a version identifier that follows the object identifier.

Each LSID characteristic in a description links back to the source web page for that LSID, giving details on taxonomic classification as well as other scientific background information on the group.

If it can be determined, the webpage providing scientific information for a LSID is accessible by clicking on the label for the LSID form field.

Automated discovery of scientific data sources (Life Science Identifiers)

Over time the range of online data sources that will be explored for LSIDs can be expected to grow. For now, LSIDs are automatically checked at Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), and Atlas of Living Australia (ALA).

Lizard Island Field Guide makes it easy to quickly find ITIS, WoRMS and ALA life scientific data sources. By clicking on the link to update the data sources, you will cause the server to find such data sources and incorporate links to them into the description being viewed. This operation can take a minute or two to complete given the delays involved in contacting third party servers to perform the updates.

Distribution maps

A distribution map is an image that represents the geographic distribution of a species either worldwide or for a specific continent, country or region.

For users that have administrative access to Lizard Island Field Guide, the advanced editing functions, there is a link provided on the description page under the Distribution Map heading that provides an automated means of updating the Australian distribution map (sourced from Atlas of Living Australia) for the group being viewed by the editor and for all groups that are at the species level or lower and that are its descendants within the field guide that is currently being viewed.

Each image is accompanied by the following data:

  • The caption should at least identify the source of the map and the group that the map describes. Maps can also be documented with additional details including their currency and their method of construction. For maps that have been sourced from the Internet, they must also include a source web page address, containing the location of the page that includes the map and details of its ownership and licensing arrangements. For maps that are not in the Public Domain a link to the web page that details the license terms is also required, along with the name of the license and the names of the owners of the map.
  • Below the caption field is a field for salient details that help users to understand more about the distribution map.
  • Distribution maps can be documented with the web address of the page where the original version of the image is hosted. This is not necessary if the original Internet version of the image is the one that you are editing, on Lizard Island Field Guide. Otherwise, the web address entered as the source webpage needs to show the map itself, details about its owner, and details about the terms of its licensing.
  • All distribution maps need to be suitably licensed. Unless it is is placed in the public domain then it needs to include a link to a webpage detailing the conditions of the licence. This webpage address needs to be entered as the license webpage for the distribution map. For distribution maps that have been sourced from other sites, this webpage address needs to be copied exactly from the appropriate link provided on the source webpage.
  • The name of the license also need to be specified for each image. If the name is "Public Domain" then no licence webpage is required.
  • The name(s) and email address(es) of the image owner(s) also need to be specified for each distribution map. Try to include the real name for users unless the real names are not available. If there are not enough rows to include the details of all owners, then fill out the existing rows and click on the check button to update the form and display an additional row for an extra person. Continue until all owners have been added.

Habitat maps

Knowing if a group is likely to be found in a given area is key to narrowing down the possibilities when doing an identification. Habitat map characteristics are one way to provide this information. A habitat map can be quickly drawn on a google map by clicking on the corners of shapes that define the area in which the group is known to occur.

Such habitat maps are a substitute for actual sighting information. Lizard Island Field Guide enables sightings to be recorded so that habitat maps in descriptions can be augmented with specific sighting location information. One day, it will be possible to view these sighting patterns for specific times of the year and for specific periods of history but that is still not a feature of Lizard Island Field Guide.

Click on the map to mark each corner of the polygon. When you are finished, click on the first marker of the polygon to close the shape being defined. The next click on the map will then start a new polygon. Click anywhere on an existing polygon to delete it from the map. The habitat map can include many different polygons.

Notes about maps can be specified in the notes field.

Distribution/Habitat preferences

On their own, distribution maps and habitat maps are pretty coarse guidance on where members of a group are likely to be found. The distribution/habitat preferences of a group are intended to augment map information with a textual description of the the kind of parts of the world where the group is found and the kind of habitat that the group prefers.

The textual description is allowed to contain links to other groups. These are best created by highlighting the text to link and then clicking on the chain link symbol at the top of the page's text editor field.

Depth range (marine species only)

For underwater species, a key differentiator is the depth of water that members of the group inhabit. The depth range characteristic can be used to capture this information in a way that allows for filtering of groups.

Distinguishing features

After images and location information, perhaps the most useful characteristic to include in a description is the distinguishing features of the group. This should be one or more paragraphs describing the features of group members that differentiate them from other groups that they could be mistaken for.

Colouration

Specific individual colours can be captured for a group using the colouration characteristic. Each colouration characteristic in a description identifies a colour and a body part and then gives an explanation of the nature of the colouration (whether it is universal etc). This information will eventually be used to filter groups, hopefully making identifications all that much easier.

The colour picker works in several steps. First, wait until all thumbnail images have been fully loaded. This is necessary for you to be able to select colours directly from larger versions of those images. Second, click on the thumbnail image that shows the colour that you want to add for the species. This shows a large version of the selected image. Third, using the cross-hair pointer, select the pixel on the large image that best shows the colour to be added. This will show the chosen colour in a colour selection control at the top of the page. If the chosen colour is a littleoff, perhaps because of lighting effects, you can click on the colour selection control to make small adjustments. Once the colour is to you liking, click the button next to it to add it to the list of colours for the species. It will then appear in the list of colours for the species at the bottom of the page. You can optionally add information about what parts of the species are the given colour and what sex or life stage of the species displays the colour. Once finished, save the changes and the original species description will be updated.

Length

Lengths are recorded as a range, in centimetres. It can be simply an upper bound or a lower bound or the range can have both an upper and a lower bound. Length is measured in lots of different ways, depending on the type of group being described. Where no more appropriate measure of length is available, the default length characteristic is used to capture the typical length of a mature adult specimen. Where more specific length measurement methods are used, those methods should be documented using the measurement method field. When a length range only applies to a subset of the group, the definition of the subset needs to be specified as part of the length range. For example, the range may only apply to adults or to juveniles or to males or females.

Wingspan

For birds, wingspan is a useful characteristic to include in a description. That is not to say that it cannot be used in other descriptions, such as for eagle rays. Where included, and not otherwise stated, the wingspan should be representative of a typical mature adult specimen. Wingspan is measured in lots of different ways, depending on the type of group being described. Where no more appropriate measure of wingspan is available, the default wingspan characteristic is used to capture the typical wingspan of a mature adult specimen. Where more specific wingspan measurement methods are used, those methods should be documented using the measurement method field. When a wingspan range only applies to a subset of the group, the definition of the subset needs to be specified as part of the wingspan range. For example, the range may only apply to adults or to juveniles or to males or females.

Weight

Weight can be measured in lots of different ways (e.g. wet or dry), depending on the type of group being described. Where no more appropriate measure of weight is available, the default weight characteristic is used to capture the typical weight of a mature adult specimen. Where more specific weight measurement methods are used, those methods should be documented using the measurement method field. When a weight range only applies to a subset of the group, the definition of the subset needs to be specified as part of the weight range. For example, the range may only apply to adults or to juveniles or to males or females.

Similar Groups

Sometimes, it can be extremely hard to distinguish two groups, especially when members of one group actively try to mimic the appearance and/or the behaviour of the other group. For these cases, it is handy to explicitly include a similar group characteristic in a description to highlight the potential for confusion and to provide pointers to the specific differences in the groups that you can look out for.

Behaviour

When telling two groups apart, the behaviour of the observed specimens can be a telling differentiator. The behaviour details can be used to include details of specific behaviours likely to be demonstrated by members of a group. Note that many specific types of behaviour are better captured using other characteristics (e.g. Chronotype, Diet etc.).

Chronotype

The chronotype of a group is an indication of when it is typically active. In descriptions, it is often useful to augment chronotype with details about the nature of the activities during the identified period of greatest activity. It is also useful to indicate the situations when members of the group are active outside the specified times of day. Possible chronotypes are:

  • Diurnal - active during daylight hours
  • Nocturnal - active during the night
  • Crepuscular - active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk
  • Vespertine - active at dusk
  • Matutinal - active at dawn

Diet and feeding patterns

Diet is captured as free text, indicating the kind of food consumed by the group, as well as the way that group members come by that food.

Conservation Status

Lizard Island Field Guide allows for the conservation status of a group to be captured using IUCN statuses. See the IUCN Red List category definitions for details. Note that conservation status is a global metric. It is not to be used to capture localised threats to populations of a group.

Local Abundance

The local abundance (or lack thereof) of a group can also be a handy way to guide identification. Lizard Island Field Guide allows for local abundance information to be captured as a combination of a region or location name and a text description of the local population levels.

Local feral populations

You can specify a location where a group occur as a feral population and provide details about how they were introduced and what issues they are causing.

References

You can add bibliographic references to Lizard Island Field Guide and then link to these references from descriptions by adding a bibliographic cross reference to the description. Multiple descriptions can link to the one reference. Thus, references can be used as a means of linking together groups that are related in some, at times esoteric, ways. References are also obviously a handy way to quickly find additional information on a group.

The bibliographic editor for a group description first lists all of the existing references for that description. To delete a reference from the description, check the deletion box beside the reference to be deleted and click the delete button or save all changes.

The bibliographic editor also provides a search field that you can use to search for existing bibliographic references. Enter one or more author names, dates, and/or key words from titles to find matching references. Matching references will be shown. Check the boxes beside the matching references that you want to include in the description and save changes or check the form. Make sure that you save the changes you make here before creating any new references to be added.

If your search attempts fail to reveal an existing reference that matches your needs, you will need to create a new reference. Do so by clicking on the create button which will present you with a form for entering the details of the new reference. Once you have created the new reference, save the changes to the description cross references to ensure that the new reference is included in the description that you are working on.

Comments

Comments are provided so that people can make comments on the accuracy or completeness of the content in a description.

Cool facts

Once people have identified something, they immediately want to know what makes that something amazing. The cool fact characteristics scratch that itch. Use them to describe the little known behaviour of the specimens in a given group that makes them so special.

Danger

Descriptions can also include danger assessments for groups. These provide a rough classification of how serious the danger is, as well as a textual indication of the nature of the danger. This information is generally useful to include to warn people in the field about the risks they are taking by interacting with the specimens being examined. Note that it is an assessment of danger to humans rather than danger to other species.

Gill count

A key part of distinguishing some species of fish is the number of gills they have on each side. This can be documented using the gill count which is the number of gill slits on one side of the specimen's jaw.

Cirri

A key part of distinguishing crinoids is the number of cirri (slender appendages that grow from the centre on the underside of crinoids that the crinoids use to cling onto things. This can be documented for crinoids using the cirri characteristic.

Damage

Each damage entry for a description captures a type of damage that the specimens in the group can cause to human property or produce.

Monitoring

Each monitoring entry for a description captures a way in which humans can monitor for the presence of specimens in the group that are likely to be causing damage to their property or produce.

Control measures

Control measures capture steps that can be taken to prevent members of this group from causing damage to human property or produce.

Natural predators

Each description can include a list of natural predators for the group being described. Each natural predator in the list is described in terms of the name of the natural predator and textual explanation about the nature of the predation and the circumstances in which that predation can be encouraged to assist with control measures.