Butterflies are important indicators of the health of Ireland’s environment. They are an ideal insect group to monitor as there is a small number of species, have strong associations with foodplants and vegetation types, respond quickly to changes in weather. The National Biodiversity Data Centre operates a number of different butterfly monitoring schemes, each with a different focus. All require counting the number of butterflies seen structured around a standard methodology so that any statistically significant population trends can be detected.
Monitoring & tracking change
The National Biodiversity Data Centre aims to drive pollinator conservation through better data. It is entirely reliant on the generosity of volunteer recorders who get involved and submit data on Ireland’s bees and hoverflies. This is particularly important as we move forward with the implementation of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. The Pollinator Plan will only be a success if we see increases in the distribution and abundance of our wild bees and other insects. We are very conscious that without your help in collecting and submitting data we would be unable to track that.
Dragonflies & damselflies
Dragonfly Ireland 2019 – 2024 is an all-Ireland survey of dragonflies and damselflies, and their habitats. It is coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in the Republic of Ireland and by the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording in Northern Ireland. The Environmental Protection Agency funds Dragonfly Ireland 2019 – 2024 as part of a citizen science project examining the potential of aquatic species as bio-indicators of climate change and water quality. The project goals include collecting records Irish dragonflies and damselflies contributing to a new Dragonfly Atlas in 2024, exploring the use of dragonflies and damselflies as bio-indicators of freshwater habitat quality, and engaging with the public to increase awareness of water quality and climate change. We are looking for volunteers to record Dragonflies and Damselflies and conduct surveys of their local wetlands and water courses.
Have you been to visit the coast lately? If you have, did you spend any time exploring our coastal marine wildlife? If so, were you able to identify any of the species you saw, and did you record your sightings ? Explore Your Shore! is a Citizen Science project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, focused on increasing our knowledge of the distribution of our intertidal species, exploring their potential as bio-indicators of water quality and climate change, and highlighting actions we can all take to tackle water pollution and global warming. We are looking for volunteers to record their local marine life and conduct shore based biodiversity surveys. Explore Your Shore! also acts as a shop front for Marine Biodiversity Citizen Science data collection in Ireland, so visit our website to find out about the many great projects ways you can get involved in Marine Biodiversity recording!
Rare plant monitoring
The Rare Plant Monitoring scheme was launched by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in 2017. Where someone submits a casual record of a rare or threatened plant to the Centre, they are asked if they would be willing to visit their rare plant population once a year during its flowering period and to count the total number of individuals present. These annual counts will provide early warning signs of threats and will help improve the accuracy of future conservation assessments.
There are many initiatives operating at the national and local level for the collection and mapping of observations of Ireland’s biological diversity. The National Biodiversity Data Centre are happy to support and work with partner organisations to support their own iniatives to improve our understanding of Ireland’s biodiversity.