New online key to grass families - guest blog by Sally Hyslop

Grasses key sketches. Drawings: S HyslopThe idea of the grasses key was to take one step back and create a ‘top-down’ approach, where users learn what defines each genus before jumping to species-level. For me, this approach breaks down the whole identification process, makes it feel more manageable and builds my understanding of taxonomy.

Build Your Own LED Moth Trap - guest blog by Paul Palmer

Garden tiger moth.  C BellReturning to moth recording after a gap of too many years to count, I took a fancy to build a cheap, lightweight moth trap to use at a favourite nearby locality, Rutland Water. Reducing the cost to a minimum soon became an expensive additional aspect to my hobby.

Head in the (word) clouds

Tom.bio training courses Wordle I have a feeling I'm arriving a little late to the word cloud party. But this week I've discovered the wonderful world of wordle (try saying that out loud a few times!) and it seems I can't get enough of it!

Shropshire Springtail Atlas - update

Pogongnathellus sp. on paintbrush.  Photo: David WilliamsIt's been a couple of months since the launch of the Shropshire Springtail Atlas Project, so it's a good time to take stock and see where we've got to so far. Click through for some facts and figures on the Atlas Project to date...

Journeys through Inner Space

The surface of Orchesella villosa (above) and the surface of Pluto (below) Some of the most memorable media images of 2015 came from NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. Although the images of Pluto were spectacular, those that really stuck in my memory were those of the scientists themselves as they watched the images appear on their monitors, beamed back to earth by New Horizons over 3 billion miles of intervening space. Just before Christmas 2015, my friend Ben and I were treated to some views of a springtail, Orchesella villosa, under a Scanning Electron Microscope by Thom Dallimore at Edge Hill University: it was our Pluto moment.

An Introduction to UK Biological Recording - guest blog by Keiron Brown

Earthworm recorders in action!My name is Keiron Derek Brown and I am a biological recorder. Until 3 years ago I had submitted the odd record here and there, often related to natural history courses I’d attended or volunteer work I’d been involved with. I understood, to a certain extent, the importance of recording wildlife but I was yet to be hooked on this Victorian pastime that has become so integral to science and policy in Britain today.

Embracing uncertainty: version 2 of the earthworm multi-access key

Earthworm by Charlie BellThe Tom.bio earthworm multi-access key lets me access the knowlege-based of Emma Sherlock's AIDGAP key in a way that puts me in charge of the identification process. But one of the advantages of multi-access keys - dealing with uncertainty - was not very well realised in version 1 of our key. Version 2 does a much better job of dealing with uncertainty - sorting and ranking species in a much more powerful way and making for a much improved multi-access key.

Shropshire Springtail Atlas project launched

We're very excited to announce the launch of the Shropshire Springtail Atlas project. We're working with Pete Boardman and other Shropshire entomologists, biological recorders and citizen scientists - and we need your help!

NBN Conference 2015

UK Biological Recording Award Winners 2015Last week the FSC's Biodiversity team, including Tom.bio, attended the NBN's 2015 Conference in York. It was an inspirational and poignant two days, following so closely after the untimely death of NBN CEO John Sawyer earlier this month.

Ento Day 2015

Angle Shades moth.  Photo: C BellJoin local entomologists for a fantastic day of talks about all things invertebrate. Topics include dragonflies, springtails, earthworms, moth trapping, biological control using invertebrates, data visualisation and much more!

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