The National Biodiversity Data Centre

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a national organisation that collates, manages and analyses and disseminates data on Ireland’s biodiversity. Since 2006 the Centre has gone from strength to strength arising from its excellent team, its many great partners and contributors, and the support of its funding organisations through thick and thin.

Biodiversity data are a key requirement for understanding our natural surroundings, for tracking change in our environment and for gaining greater insight to how we benefit from, and impact upon, the ecosystem goods and services provided by biological diversity; a national asset which contributes at least €2.6 billion to the Irish economy each year.

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is the national hub for biodiversity data and information in Ireland. At its core is an information resource comprising a knowledge base, national datasets, and Biodiversity Maps, the Centre’s mapping and data discovery portal from which data can be searched and retrieved. The centre makes extensive use of informatics and the Compass Biodiversity Information System. Much of our biodiversity data resides in archives, museums and libraries. The development of digitised datasets that are instantly accessible via the Web helps mobilise that data, allowing its use in a wide range of innovative applications while aiding conservation initiatives. The Web-based mapping and data management system provides a cost-effective method of disseminating this data and brings significant added value to existing survey information.

Ireland became a member of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility in 2008, and the National Biodiversity Data Centre acts as the national node for Ireland. Ireland’s membership of this international organisation complements the Centre’s strategic objective of making biodiversity information freely and universally available through web services.

Features of the Biodiversity Ireland Mapping & Data Management System

  • GIS-based system to allow map based access to biodiversity data.
  • Supporting reference datasets to provide environmental context to data including aerial photography, designations, geology, soils, landuse.
  • Reporting features to support use in a planning and impact assessment context.
  • Extensive metadata and graphing.
  • Two million plus biological records – and growing.

Sample Projects

National Invasive Species Database

The Data Centre has established and actively manages the National Invasive Species Database providing important information on the whereabouts and rate of movement of these species. Invasive species are a huge threat to our biodiversity and it is essential that this information is co-ordinated and disseminated in real time.

Colette O’Flynn, of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, made a presentation on the National Invasive Species Database at the Compass 12 Conference in September 2012 in Dublin. See the presentation here (links to YouTube).

Tracking Change – The Butterfly & Moth Monitoring Schemes

The Convention on Biological Diversity asks us to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. But how do we monitor changes in our biodiversity? The National Biodiversity Data Centre has set up two long-term projects that will provide rigorous scientific data to address this issue. They are the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and the National Moth Recording Scheme.