Guidelines for Image-Based Species Identification
Scientists have created a set of unique guidelines for image-based species identification to improve biodiversity data collection. Led by Dr. Tammy Horton at the U.K. National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the new guide provides rules for the use of open nomenclature signs in image-based biodiversity studies. The guidelines have been developed as a way of indicating the level of certainty in the identification of species. The guide is the first of its kind to bring together the fields of scientific nomenclature and image-based analyses to improve biodiversity data collection.
As scientists move away from monitoring the biodiversity of oceans using traditional sample-based methods to increasingly using remotely operated technology, vast numbers of images and videos require analyses and identification. This is managed by naming the taxa seen in those images and often providing them with “temporary” names using open nomenclature. The new guide allows for identifications to be more easily understood and shared through a standardized process, making them more useful to other researchers, environmental managers and policy makers.
Drawing on expertise and experience from NOC, University of Southampton, the Charles Darwin Research Station (Ecuador), National Geographic Society (U.S.), Flanders Marine Institute (Belgium) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (Belgium), the guide offers a simple flow chart to help determine the term to use at each level of identification. It also gives examples of recommended use for these terms for input to online databases and in the preparation of catalogs of the fauna of an area.