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Freshwater Information Platform

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General introduction

Please consult the video below for a general introduction to the occurrence database and metadatabase, and have a look at the training material available in the resource section of the Freshwater Information Platform. The Freshwater Biodiversity Data Portal allows you to search for (1) information on freshwater related datasets (metadata), (2) information on species and (3) species occurrence data.

How to search in the Freshwater Metadatabase?

If you want to know which freshwater related datasets are available in a specific region or if you are looking for a dataset that might support your own research, you can consult the Freshwater Metadatabase to find appropriate datasets and get information about their usage requirements.

The Freshwater Metadatabase query tool offers the possibility to select the ecosystem type, the region, the organism group or the timeframe first. If you click “apply query options” after you have made your choice, you will get a table with appropriate results. The Freshwater Metadatabase full text search can be queried for any term you are interested in and also leads to the result table. The result table not only lists the available datasets, but also show the scientific contact persons and offers details to each dataset by clicking on “open view”. Data can be downloaded as pdf- or eml-file.

What can be searched for in the species occurrence database of the Freshwater Biodiversity Data Portal?

On the long term, the idea is that users can search for data on any freshwater organism by typing (or providing a list of) any name (species, genus or family level, vernacular name, synonym), keyword, location or by drawing a bounding box on the map. As we need to start somewhere, searching is currently oriented towards species-searching and the number of species present in our databases far from complete. See here for more information on the currently available dataset(s).

What to type?

Currently we have data available for the following organism groups: Halacaridae, Hydroida, Cladocera, Copepoda, Mysidacea, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera, Macrophytes, Bivalvia, Nematomorpha, Turbellaria, Rotifera, Fish and Mammals covering over 47'000 species.

You can either search for species information or occurrences. The simple search for both these searches allow you to check species or occurrence details for a specific species or consult information on a random species. The advanced taxon search allows you to search for (species names in) a specific (FADA) species group or any part of the scientific name (genus, specific epithet, author, year). The advanced occurrence search allows you to search for a specific species or species group in combination with the geographic options for continent, country or faunistic (FADA) region.

In order to help you to find a specific species, we implemented an autocomplete option which starts suggesting species names (or parts of the name for the advanced species search) once you have typed 3 or more letters. If you don’t have a specific species in mind and just want to test a few searches, we suggest you start typing one of the genera of freshwater macrofauna listed in next paragraph. If you are only interested to view the georeferenced records, you can tick the checkbox. The same applies for suspect coordinates, zoo/aquarium/farm occurrences and fossil records.

The advanced species search option allows you to select a species group of interest, look for all species within a genus, all species with a certain specific epitheth/specific name, look for species described in a certain year etc.

Genera containing macrofauna species: Acipenser, Alligator, Arapaima, Argyrosomus, Arius, Atractosteus, Brachyplatystoma, Caiman, Carcharhinus, Catlocarpio, Chrysichthys, Clarias, Crocodylus, Ctenopharyngodon, Eleutheronema, Eunectes, Gavialis, Hemibagrus, Heterobranchus, Hexaprotodon, Himantura, Hippopotamus, Hucho, Huso, Hydrochoerus , Hydrocynus, Hypophthalmichthys, Hypselobarbus, Ictalurus, Inia, Labeo, Lates, Lipotes, Luciobarbus, Maccullochella, Mecistops, Megalops, Melanosuchus, Morone, Neophocaena, Oncorhynchus, Orcacella, Osteolaemus, Paleosuchus, Pangasianodon, Pangasius, Paulicea, Phoca, Platanista, Polydactylus, Polyodon, Potamotrygon, Pristis, Probarbus, Psephurus, Pseudoplatystoma, Pusa, Pylodictis, Salmo, Scaphirhynchus, Scomberomorus, Silurus, Sotalia, Tomistoma, Tor, Trichechus, Wallago.

Results are shown, what's next?

If you only typed a genus or an incomplete name, you may be presented with a disambiguation list showing all species that match your query string. This list can be downloaded for off-line processing. If you click on a species, or selected a species from the autocomplete list, you should be forwarded to the results page. Depending on whether you chose species or occurrence searching, you will first be presented with either species details or with an overview of the occurrence data. You can easily switch between species and occurrence results using the tab on top of the page. In "occurrence" mode, you can click on species in the table to get more details for a specific record. On the occurrence map, you can switch on/off different layers by clicking the "+" sign to the right of the frame. Currently we only offer occurrence data downloads for individual species results. Creating download options for more advanced queries is one of the next tasks on our to-do list!

Something seems to go wrong here...

We overhauled the whole database structure in the November 2014 release. As this impacted the entire portal application it is very likely that certain new bugs have been introduced. On the other hand, we recognise that content wise there will always remain some errors, especially as certain data e.g. coming from GBIF is out of our control... We hope to learn from those errors and would very much appreciate your feedback through Aaike De Wever. If you notice any strange behavior in the search pages, please try to reproduce the problem and provide a detailed explanation of what went wrong. If you are surprised by the search results you got, please let us know what search terms you used and describe which strange results you got.