So, you ask, how many species are in GBIF? It’s a tough question, but we’ve offered some thoughts about it, by way of explaining why we’re no longer showing a number on the home page.
But narrow the scope of your question, and we can provide a much better answer. In fact, the new ‘Species’ tab on the occurrence search page quickly calculates and displays the species included in your results and sorts them in descending order of the number of records per species. Here’s an example.
Say you’re curious about Boraginaceae, the borage or forget-me-not family. This diverse collection of shrubs, trees and herbs includes a couple thousand species in more than 100 genera, examples of which are found worldwide. But do they appear related to other asterid orders, like Gentianales, Lamiales, Solanales, or even Hydrophyllaceae, or do they belong in their own? Either way, the best evidence we have is this set of results for Boraginaceae.
The default tabular view shows (at this moment) 2,023,192 records, and the family’s range and diversity is immediately obvious. Avoid getting distracted by the visual delights of the gallery view, and click instead the fourth tab, ‘Species’. For very large searches, it may take a few seconds to process and load the results, but in this case, you should quickly see that two forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpiodes and Myosotis arvensis) account for about 15 per cent of all Boraginaceae records. And the list goes on. And on.
Click on any of the entries in the species list, and you’ll go to that species’ page, where you can investigate the constituents in greater detail.
Breaking down the search results in this way obviously also offers a quick way of scanning the most well-represented species. While it might help us load test the site, just to keep everyone from jumping in at once, here are a few of the most recorded species:
- Most occurrences, all species: Larus argentatus (herring gull)
- Most occurrences, Invertebrates Pararge aegeria (speckled wood)
- Most occurrences, Plantae Urtica dioica (common nettle)
- Most observations, all species Anas platyrhynchos (mallard)
- Most specimens, all species Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse)
You get the idea. You’ve earned a break. Look at all those beautiful Boraginaceae photos!