Monday, July 2, 2012

Major Announcement: The Launch of Maryland Biodiversity Website

Hey everybody, I'm very excited to announce the launch of the Maryland Biodiversity Project.  Bill Hubick and I have created a new web application that will explore all of Maryland's vast natural communities.  The main goal of the project is to have a repository of species checklists where each organism will have photos and information on range, habitat, and identification.

We already have over 3000 species listed including all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and freshwater fishes.  Invertebrates listed include all of the butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, and crayfish.  Other groups represented include the Silk, Sphinx, and Tiger Moths, all the ladybug species, the robber flies, and all the Tiger Beetles.  Also included are all of Maryland's freshwater bivalves. We have roughly over 50% of all of Maryland's wild plants already listed with groups like orchids, violets, and the 246 species of sedges all represented in checklist form.

The website is growing fast and each day sees new photographs and species being uploaded.  Many species still do not have photos, but as the project grows we hope to have most species photographed with all the pertinent information represented.

Without the help of many of Maryland's leading nature photographers this website would not be possible.  Thanks to those already supporting the project during the initial design and testing

As Bill has written on the Maryland Biodiversity website:

"The Maryland Biodiversity project will only reach its full potential with support from the many exceptional naturalists that explore Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic. We welcome the contribution of photos/audio, and are interested in ideas or new data sets you might have.

Sharing photos will be the most common way to get involved. We link to photos on existing web site sites, and all photos used will display full credit and a very obvious link to your web site. The Contributors page lists all photographers, their web sites, and the number of photos used so far. Maryland photos get preferential treatment, but we will use photos from the wildlands surrounding us to ensure we build a full collection."

Here's how you can help:
  • First, please consider donating to American Bird Conservancy and/or the Maryland Important Bird Area (IBA) program. Our collective top priority has to be ensuring all of the species cataloged on this site are still here for generations to come.
  • Please do not send us photos as attachments or promote the use of any specific photo. We are committed to objectively assembling a high quality collection of photos, and explaining our decisions on individual photos would be stressful and exhausting.
  • Please DO send us a link to your photo site and specify one of the following: 1) Open use welcome for MD Biodiversity project, or 2) that you're interested in sharing, but please check in before using any specific photos. We always provide photo credit and will never offer use of your photos to outside parties.
  • If you have a collection of digital images you'd like to share, but no web site, we can work with you to get a CD or set up a Google Docs folder.
  • If you have a large web site and want to highlight photos that you think are especially fitting for the project, feel free to create a "MD Biodiversity" or "MDB" gallery.
Bill and I are very excited about this new project and we hope that it brings new insights into the plants and animals with which we share our wonderful state of Maryland.

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