What is a biological record?

Recording wildlife became a popular pastime during Victorian times and, as a result, natural history societies began popping up around the country. As time and technology progressed, the activity of biological recording has adapted and there are now many recording schemes, methods of record submission and types of organisation.

Biological Recording

the scientific study of the distribution of living organisms, biological records describe the presence, abundance, associations and changes, both in time and space, of wildlife.
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The Basics

The organisms on our planet differ greatly, some are fixed to a location while others are able to travel great distances and some species are long lived and present year-round while others have relatively short life cycles or inactive periods rendering them un-recordable at certain types of year. For these reasons  (and many others) there are lots of differences between the different recording schemes. However, all biological records must have the four basic criteria:

The basic components of a biological record (c) Keiron Derek Brown

Who – The name of the recorder or determiner.

What – The name of the species, genus or family that you are recording.

Where – The location where the organism was observed.

When – The date the organism was observed.

Combining these four pieces of data produces a record of the presence of an organism at a specified time and place by a named individual, also known as a biological record.

Example Basic Biological Record

Jane Doe looks out of her kitchen window on 18th September 2016 and notices a hedgehog in her back garden on Darwin Close (grid reference SE576506).

WhoJane Doe
WhatHedgehog
WhereDarwin Close (SE576506)
When15th September 2016

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