COBWEB recently attended the West Wales Biological Information Centres (WWBIC) Annual Recorders Rorum held at the Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran on Saturday 7th March. The WWBIC is one of four Local Records Centres (LRCs) in Wales covering the counties of Ceredigion, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire. The LRCs serve as a biodiversity data storage and management facility for the whole of Wales.
This yearâ€™s Forum brought together over 40 people from the three counties, all of whom are engaged in monitoring and understanding local flora and fauna population and diversity. Collectively the audience were experts in moths, butterflies, fungi and even dandelions, amongst many others. The day began with an update from WWBIC Manager Colin Russell, followed by a talk on free IT tools available to recorders.
Dr Crona Hodges from Aberyswyth University then presented COBWEB and some examples of work being done in the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve, as part of the COBWEBâ€™s pioneering co-design activity. It was emphasized that COBWEB is not concerned with creating a data repository. The focus is on making environmental data available and discoverable using interoperable technologies and standards.
There was a great deal of interest in COBWEB, with the audience being very open to the inevitability of technology like this being the way forward. However, it was agreed in general that it would never fully replace the need for notebooks and pencils in the field. The ability to get data â€˜out thereâ€™ appealed to many, and the importance of getting people involved and simply collecting more data was seen as a very positive aspect of COBWEB.