Usefulness of GBIF-mediated occurrence data in spider red listing

Study shows both promise and limitations of using GBIF-mediated occurrence data in red listing of spiders

Data resources used via GBIF : 4,528,821 species occurrences
Pelegrina aeneola
Pelegrina aeneola observed in Goat Marsh, Washington, USA by corndog. Photo via iNaturalist CC BY-NC 4.0.

Assessing the extinction risk status of a species, and prioritizing conservation efforts, require knowledge on species populations and trends. With such data often lacking, GBIF-mediated occurrence data can aid in documenting species ranges and changes over time.

In this study, a group of researchers including a winner of the 2020 GBIF Young Researchers Awards assessed the usefulness of GBIF-mediated occurrences in deriving IUCN Red List classifications based on Extent of Occurrence (EOO) calculations in a largely under-sampled taxon—spiders (Araneae)—by comparing hypothetical Red List classifications derived from literature, GBIF data, and both combined.

The analysis showed that while GBIF data alone was not sufficient for 88.7 per cent of the study species, it enabled assessment of some species (3.3 per cent) not classifiable based on literature alone. In a few species, the addition of GBIF data changed the hypothetical classification—in one species, Myrmarachne bicolor, from Vulnerable to Least Concern.

The results show the potential of using GBIF-mediated data in extinction risk assessments, while highlighting the importance of promoting increased digitization and mobilization of data to GBIF.

Original article

Shirey V, Seppälä S, Branco V and Cardoso P (2019) Current GBIF occurrence data demonstrates both promise and limitations for potential red listing of spiders. Biodiversity Data Journal. Pensoft Publishers 7. Available at: