This monthly newsletter provides an update on some of the work of the National Biodiversity Data Centre and highlights upcoming events.
One Millionth Record – Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal
Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal developed and hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre recently had its one millionth record submitted through the system. This is a true milestone for the Citizen Science Portal and shows the deep level of recording effort, which is carried out by our recorder network. Levels of biological recording have been increasing year on year and particularly since 2020, when we notice a dramatic increase in the number of records being submitted through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal.
Over the last number of years, we have noticed a significant increase in the level of recording activity, which has certainly fast-tracked the one millionth record through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal. Since 2018, we have received over 100,000 records a year and since 2020 this annual figure has exceeded over 150,000 records, with over 157,000 records submitted through this year already.
The one millionth record through the Citizen Science Portal was for a Striped Ladybird (Myzia oblongoguttata) from Co. Carlow and submitted on the 25/10/2022 by recorder Brian Power.
All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme: 2012-2021 report released
The All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme, established by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in 2012, is one of the first of its kind globally. It tracks bumblebees and uses the status of the 8 commonest species to generate a multi-species population index as a measure of the health of Ireland’s bumblebee populations. It provides vital baseline data that will be used to assess the impact of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. The scheme involves volunteers walking a fixed route (transect) each month from March to October and counting all the bumblebees seen. It represents a huge voluntary effort by citizen scientists. In 2021, 74 volunteers walked more than 1,000km and counted 17,607 individual bumblebees.
The current overall trend from 2012-2021 is a year-on-year decline of 4.1%. Bombus pascuroum (Common Carder Bee) has traditionally been one of our most common bumblebees but is now showing a moderate decline. Unfortunately, Bombus muscorum (Large Carder Bee) is in severe decline. 2021 saw Bombus hypnorum (Tree Bumblebee) picked up in the scheme for the first time. It was recorded in low numbers on two transects in N. Ireland. The Tree Bumblebee is our most recent bumblebee arrival, being first recorded from the island of Ireland in Autumn 2017.
Launch of Spiders of Ireland eCourse and our Spider recording form
The National Biodiversity Data Centre have launched the ‘Spiders of Ireland; a free course hosted on Ireland’s Biodiversity Learning Platform. This course gives an introduction to some of Ireland’s native spider species, looking at 13 of our 390 native species.
Spiders are one of the few groups of invertebrates that can cause such a divide among people – some people are terrified, some people are captivated. This course is both for those who are terrified and those who are already captivated by spiders. Spiders unless provoked, won’t bite humans. Generally this happens when they are stuck in clothing that you are putting on or if they are handled clumsily.
The wonderful thing about spiders is, you don’t have to travel to find them, we can find them in gardens, offices, parks, ponds and yes our homes too. Autumn is a good time of year to learn about spiders as they come into our homes for shelter and mating opportunities.
To support spider recording in Ireland, we have set up a new recording form on Ireland's Citizen Science Portal and put all you learned about spiders in the course into practice
The National Biodiversity Data Centre has initiated a Ladybird Atlas 2025 project. The Ladybird Atlas 2025 project has two overarching objectives. First, to increase the amount of observation of ladybirds in order to produce more comprehensive distribution maps for our species of ladybirds. And second, to improve knowledge of habitat preferences of the different species of ladybird. It is easy to help with the Ladybird Atlas 2025 project. If you see a ladybird and are sure of its identification, please submit your sightings through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal. Ladybirds have their own specific recording form, which is linked here
Ladybirds are an attractive group of insects, found in a wide variety of habitats. By far the most well know species is the 7-spot ladybird, for it is a common and widespread species, which can be easily found in gardens. Anyone with even a passing interest in gardening will know that most ladybirds are predators, with both adults and larvae feeding on aphids and other pests that damage crops, making them a useful pest controller.
As part of our Ladybird Atlas 2025 project, we have set up a dedicated “Ladybirds of Ireland” dataset, which now has 11,756 records, across all 32 counties and more than 20 different species. In 2022, there has been some great recording activity, with over 1,101 records being submitted for 7-Spot Ladybird alone. Our next two most common species are the 22-Spot and 14-Spot Ladybird, both of which are distinctive and easy to identify with care. While this sounds like a lot of records, there are still gaps in our mapping, so we are asking anyone interested who spots a ladybird species to submit it through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal.
The Protecting Farmland Pollinators EIP Midterm Report was published in October. The report reflects on the accomplishments of the project to date (July 2019 – August 2022).
The scoring system continues to show the expected range for the pilot group of 40 farms that were chosen to reflect differing farm types and intensities. The result-based payment for each of the 40 farms was calculated and farmers have received two results-based payments. There are 19 actions on the scorecard. Find out more about the pollinator scorecard and how it works on page 7 of the midterm report.
Farmers are taking action to help pollinators on their farms. Overall, the Pollinator Points have increased across the 40 farms and within each farm type (beef, dairy, mixed and tillage). Twenty-five farms increased their pollinator scores between year one of the results-based payment and year two. Four farms more than tripled their score.
A data set consisting of 8,669 records of pollinators was collected from the transect walks, pan traps and malaise traps. A total of 8,003 of these specimens were identified to genus level and 7,191 specimens were identified to species level. Thirty-seven species of bee and 57 species of hoverfly were recorded.
The percentage of pollinator groups found on the 40 farms (Bumblebees 21%, Honeybees 12%, Hoverflies 63% and Solitary Bees 4%)
Protecting Farmland Pollinators is an EIP (European Innovation Partnership) project being administered by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The Project is funded by the EU Recovery Instrument Funding under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022. Is tionscadal EIP (Comhpháirtíocht Nuálaíochta Eorpach) é an Protecting Farmland Pollinators atá á riaradh ag National Biodiversity Data Centre. Tá an Tionscadal maoinithe ag Maoiniú Ionstraim Téarnaimh an AE faoin gClár um Fhorbairt Tuaithe 2014-2022.
Farmer Moth Monitoring Project
The Farmer Moth Monitoring Project is a European Innovative Partnership (EIP) co-ordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. This pilot project is an initiative of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and is ending in December 2023.
The project has allowed farmers to monitor moths on their farms and has provided information on the status of moths in the Irish agricultural setting. A group of 20 farmers in Counties Kildare, Laois, and Wicklow led the pilot monitoring project to test the viability of rolling this scheme out on a national or all-island scale. Forty LedEmmer moth traps were distributed to the 20 farms.
A total of 112 moth species were recorded across the 20 farms.
A robust and scientifically rigorous farmer led moth monitoring scheme has been developed that is suitable for a national or all-island roll out. This is a new and innovative approach to nature conservation on farmland. This scheme has helped farmers gain a better understanding of biodiversity and has allowed them to engage with nature on their land in a very positive way. There is a clear body of Irish evidence for the consideration of a Farmer Led Moth Monitoring Scheme.
The Farmer Moth Monitoring Project is an EIP (European Innovation Partnership) project being administered by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The Project is funded by the EU Recovery Instrument Funding under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022. Is tionscadal EIP (Comhpháirtíocht Nuálaíochta Eorpach) é an Farmer Moth Monitoring atá á riaradh ag National Biodiversity Data Centre. Tá an Tionscadal maoinithe ag Maoiniú Ionstraim Téarnaimh an AE faoin gClár um Fhorbairt Tuaithe 2014-2022.
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
Tidy Towns Pollinator Award winners 2022
We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 Tidy Towns Local Authority Pollinator Award.
The Local Authority Pollinator Award is a Special Award which has run as part of the annual Supervalu Tidy Towns award since 2016. It is administrated by the Heritage Council's local authority Heritage Officer network and the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The aim of the award is to encourage and reward pollinator-friendly actions by Tidy Towns groups in line with the recommendations of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
We are thrilled to have been part of this important award once again and are delighted by the high standard of work taking place across the country for pollinators and biodiversity
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a programme of the Heritage Council and is operated under a service level agreement by Compass Informatics. The National Biodiversity Data Centre is funded by the Heritage Council and Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
National Biodiversity Data Centre Beechfield House, Waterford Institute of Technology West Campus, Carriganore, Co. Waterford, Ireland. X91 PE03