Identification tools

Identifications can be a major problem.  Some of the sites listed below provide images, others keys and other guides to assist the user in identification.  Many of the sites have species sheets for different organisms.  Great care must be taken with the simple use of images without guidance on the correct diagnostic features, since a misidentification can be extremely costly.  The list below is very incomplete; GIASPartnership members will be adding further resources.

Some identification services are available; these may make a charge for their work.

Please follow the links to the resources listed.

Identification tools on line

BioNET-EAFRINET Invasive Plants keys and fact sheets  An on-line Lucid Key and Fact Sheets to 100 of the most important invasive plants in East Africa.

CABI Invasive Species Compendium  The ISC has more than 1500 datasheets and a further 7000 basic datasheets, giving identification aids of a very wide range of taxa globally. 

Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health  Although primarily North American, the site includes organisms that are a problem in many other areas.  The site contains links to publications including field guides and links to many images, many of which are of forest pests. 

Encyclopedia of Life (EoL) EoL contains pages on a very large number of species (similar to the Catalogue of Life content, on which it draws).  These pages may have images, descriptions and links to other resources. 

European Network on Invasive Alien Species (NOBANIS)  NOBANIS provides fact sheets on some of the invasive alien species of the northern European region, covering both animals and plant as well as microorganisms. 

Fishbase Either enter the Family name of the fish and use the ‘Identification by pictures’, ‘list of pictures’ or ‘Identification keys’ buttons, or, at the bottom of the page there is a set of tools, including Quick Identification, Identification Keys, Identification by Morphometrics, Species by Ecosystem.

Global Invasive Species Database (GISD)  Many of the species profiles feature images, include a description section and, where available, links to Diagnostic information sources such as for the ant profiles and others. 

SeaLifeBase  Search can be made by common name or scientific name, as well as information arranged by habitat, distribution etc.  Coverage is global and across many marine taxa.  Many of the pages reached include photographs and descriptions.

Identification Sheets for UK non-native species can be accessed here.

PaDIL provides high quality images and Information tools designed for Biosecurity and Biodiversity, particularly in Australia and New Zealand.

Apps for mobile phones etc

PlantTracker is a tool designed for invasive plants in the UK.   It is available free from the iTunes App Store and Android Market, and shows you how to identify each species and enables you to easily submit geo-located photos whenever you find one.  The app now features 14 invasive plant species and also includes a "Confusion Species" gallery for each one, to help you separate some of the similar looking plants you might encounter.

Examples that might be used more widely

ispot is a public site for sharing information and developing identifications.  It includes many images, and also interactive keys, some of which can be downloaded for use on a mobile phone.  It is developed for use primarily in the UK, but might be a model for wider use. 

Identification services

No identification services are listed yet.  The GIASIPartnership Steering Committee will determine the value of such links and the criteria which such services should meet in order to be listed.  Feedback from users is welcomed, using the Comments link.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith