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Biological Recording

Records of organisms are immensely important, not only so that we know the distribution of species but also so that we can monitor changes in distribution, the arrival and spread of invasive species, and the efficacy of conservation efforts and habitat management.

These pages are designed to give some hints and advice to help biological recorders, and naturalists in general, to get the most out of their studies into the organisms that live in fresh waters. For those who are interested in freshwater invertebrates, much of their content is being developed as a supplement to the FBA’s Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates, first published in November 2012.

Equipment is very important for field naturalists and for those who wish to bring invertebrate or algal specimens home for further examination. Much of the equipment needed is of the type used in laboratories, and is sold in bulk. Fortunately, however there are organisations that specialise in supply to individual naturalists, along with manufacturers of specialist equipment.  Our equipment suppliers page lists some of these.

We have also included some practical guidance on sampling and collecting in the field.

Tools to identify freshwater organisms are extremely important. For invertebrates, our Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates includes a detailed list of further guides. Some of these are, however, slightly out of date, so our identifying freshwater organisms page includes further information and updates, plus lists of guides of use in identifying aquatic plants and algae.

Finally, for those who are interested in collating and submitting biological records, we have included a page that list current biological recording schemes in the UK.  We have also included some links to useful documents for those who may wish to set up and run a new recording scheme.

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