One of the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s primary strategic objectives is to track change in our environment in Ireland; in other words to identify the need for, and assist the production of high quality, scientifically robust data to track changes in Ireland’s species and habitats.

Monitoring biodiversity can be a time-consuming task for some of our more involved schemes.
Monitoring biodiversity can be a time-consuming task for some of our more involved schemes. Not all are time-intensive though!


What is biodiversity monitoring?

Biodiversity monitoring is the process of determining status and tracking changes in living organisms and the ecological complexes of which they are part. In other words, it is a way of gaining an insight on how biodiversity is faring in today’s world and is typically based on data on the presence and abundance of species.


Why is monitoring biodiversity important?

It provides a basis for evaluating the integrity of ecosystems and the species within them, their response to disturbances such as habitat loss, pollution and climate change, and the success of actions taken to conserve or recover biodiversity. Monitoring biodiversity is a vital exercise, for if we were to ignore this research we would be unable to assess the state of Ireland’s biodiversity.


Why are members of the public crucial to successful monitoring schemes?

If monitoring biodiversity is restricted to professional ecologists, then data will be limited by their distribution and scarcity, and the availability of funding to employ them. Alternatively, engaging with non-professionals (i.e. volunteers) can contribute to the success of long-term and large-scale monitoring through their commitment, enthusiasm and geographic spread. Indeed, considering volunteers in participatory monitoring is an example of ‘citizen science’ which is increasingly being recognized as a credible tool for scientific research and monitoring.

LINK: Watch this fascinating insight, delivered by Dr. Tomás Murray, into citizen science and how we can track ecosystem change by embracing this discipline of science.


The National Biodiversity is looking for volunteers!

The monitoring schemes delivered by the National Biodiversity Data Centre deliver a wealth of information about our changing environment. Simply put, they are the gold-tier standard of biological recording. The All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme and the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme in particular have been incredibly successful. However whilst this success is undoubtedly in part due to our monitoring scheme coordinators and project partners, they would not exist if it were not for the dedicated team of recorders who have volunteered their time and energy over the years to monitor biodiversity.

If are interested in volunteering your time to monitor biodiversity, take a look at some of our current projects being delivered at the minute and see if you would like to get involved. The Centre is always looking to recruit new volunteer recorders!

Don’t forget to check out our complete list of schemes that you can get involved with depending on your interests, ability, and the time and effort which you would like to commit.


Here are some of the monitoring schemes being currently delivered at the National Biodiversity Data Centre:
All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
Butterfly Atlas 2021 Dragonfly Ireland 2019-2024
Explore Your Shore! Flower-Insect Timed (FIT) Count


Monitoring scheme recorders
Some of our many monitoring scheme recorders who came together for an Annual Recorders Event in Belmullet in 2017, in search for the Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus). Click on image to enlarge.