Introduction

BioHere was designed for those who want to know what animal or plant species they encountered, or what they can expect to see on hikes or field trips. This can be done by searching the database. And it was also designed for those who already have species lists or photos, and are wondering if they can be put to better use than just gathering dust.

If you are new to BioHere, learn:

All the data in BioHere are contributed by users. This means that, initially, a random query, say for grasshoppers in Greece, will probably not give any results. But as more and more users contribute their data, the system will become increasingly useful. To get an idea as to what is already in the database, go to the Lists and Numbers page first. Also keep in mind that the quality of the search result depends on the quality of the data submitted, which may vary. I trust that most users who go to the trouble of submitting their data will have a sufficient level of expertise. Of course, no-one is perfect, but errors can be corrected. If you find an error, let the contributor know, and if that doesn't work, let us know.

Now we come to my favorite part, what's special about this site. First of all, this site is not restricted either geographically or taxonomically. If you've seen a blue whale in the pacific, Ophrys mammosa in Turkey, or heard a blue jay making noise in your backyard in Pennsylvania, submit it!

Another advantage is that your queries can be very specific. You can search for one particular species within an area of a few square kilometers or less by entering the name of the species, latitude, longitude, and a radius. And with the accuracy of GPS, +-5m, you will even be able to lable individual plants with their species name! And you can be temporally very specific by entering any date range or an exact date. And once enough data are in the system, it could be used as a photographic field guide.

Clicking on members will give you access to the social dimension of BioHere. Any query will then give you a list of members who have seen the species you're interested in, so you can contact them. You can also get a list of members who live in your area by entering your coordinates and a radius of, say, 70 km. Or let's say you're interested in orchids, and you're planning a vacation in Belize. Just type in Orchidaceae and Belize, and you will get a list of all members who have seen orchids in Belize. You can also easily share your lists with others by giving them your user name.

Another advantage of contributing your lists is that your records will be illustrated with photos of other members, even if you don't have any of your own. And records are mapped using Google maps. Another benefit is the display of statistics, which is still somewhat primitive, but will be improved in the future. I hope the benefits will out-weigh the effort of entering all the data, and I hope you have fun using the site. If you encounter any problems, or have any suggestions for improvements, let us know.