Times of Oman: Research centre collects data on over 7,000 species native to Oman. “The Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Centre (OAPGRC) said it gathered data on at least 7,303 species native to Oman. The research body revealed the final number of species was actually higher and the numbers were still being collated…. The data collated by the organisation includes 1,400 Omani plant species, 2,600 animals, 2,500 marine species and 803 species of fungi and bacteria.”
Natural History Museum (UK): Malaysian insects digitised in international collaboration. “Museum digitisation specialists are working with Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia (ECOMY). The team is aiming to digitise representative specimens for 5,000 species across a range of taxonomic groups. The focus will be on insects such as damselflies, dragonflies, praying mantids, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, stick insects, moths and beetles. Data will be available to download via the Museum’s Data Portal, and a copy will also be stored in Malaysia.”
IEEE Spectrum: Russian Astronauts Prepare to Bring the ‘Internet of Animals’ Online. “An ambitious project to keep an eye on thousands of animals and birds from space in a sort of ‘Internet of Animals’ is getting ready to kick off. In February, German researchers sent three large 200-kilogram antennas to the International Space Station (ISS) on a Soyuz rocket. The antennas joined a computer that had been sent up in October. These pieces will be the ears and brain of ICARUS, short for International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space, an initiative funded by the Russian and German space agencies to track the movement of the smallest animals—birds, turtles, fish, and even insects—and tap into swarm intelligence.”
Earther: This New App Is Like Shazam for Your Nature Photos. “In July of 2016, thousands of people wandered out into streets and parks under the guidance of a hugely popular wildlife app. The app was Pokemon Go, and the wildlife did not, in any real sense, exist. Yet while Pokemon fans were attempting to collect fantastic—if ultimately digital—animals, some inevitably found real ones as well… if you wanted an app that would mimic Pokemon Go but for existing species, you were largely out of luck. That changed in early March, when social media site iNaturalist released SEEK, an iOS app for people who want to search out local flora and fauna. The new app is part of an ongoing attempt to tempt people into citizen science—and to get them to see the wonder in species they might otherwise ignore.”
Phys .org: Interactive, downloadable and 3-D printable scans of newly discovered hermit crabs now available. “Today, a study published in the open access, open data journal GigaScience provides three-dimensional visual data from hermit crabs using the latest 3D microCT (Micro computed tomography) scanning technology. By making this microCT data publicly available, taxonomists potentially have more time and cost-efficient options for examining and comparing specimens for taxonomic research. With a shortage of trained taxonomists, this also provides new opportunities for education and training. To ease access to these data, the authors go beyond just describing the data collection and findings by providing downloadable, interactive files of everything in this study. For interested citizen scientists out there, they even include interactive web-based viewers and 3D printable file formats.”
Business Insider: There’s now a giant database for rare zoo animals to find a mate that works just like a dating app. “Rare animals can now have profiles uploaded to a global database called the Zoological Information Management System. According to The Times newspaper, more than a thousand paper ‘studbook’ animal records are in the process of being added to the database, which covers 22,000 species. The data transfer is due to take around two years.”
Via my Reddit alert: an online museum / archive of pigeon research. Not sure how new it is, but the domain name was registered at the beginning of February. From the front page: “The online pigeon library and museum is the personal collection of Adam Archer, NSW Australia. The resources here were gathered over many years, and are published on this site for the benefit of anyone seeking to learn more about these wonderful creatures. Items are slowly being uploaded to the online collection.” There are 260 items at this writing.