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Field Guides for the Amateur Researcher & Citizen Scientists
Your own backyard can be have more biodiversity than you ever could have imagined.
When venturing into your own little patch of the world, you might discover many things you’ve never seen before. There are many great online field guides to use for identification of species in your local area, which can also be used as valuable resources for your own personal at home citizen science projects.
Some guides even allow for submission of observations, including the iPhone app, SciSpy, from Discovery Communications.
- Tree Identification Guide
from the Arbor Day Foundation.
- Audubon Field Guides
with over 5,500 North American species of birds, butterflies, fishes, insects and spiders, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, seashells, seashore creatures, trees, and wildflowers.
- All About Birds
from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, search and browse by name and shape or taxonomy.
- Rocks Guide
from Geology.com to browse igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks.
- Marine Species Identification Portal
with information about thousands of species from the world’s oceans and seas, from KeyToNature.
- Wildlife Library
from the National Wildlife Federation.
- USDA Plants Database
from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, including standardized information about vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.
Read more about sci.spy, the crowd sourcing biodiversity field observation tool from Discovery Communications, “New Crowd Sourcing App for Backyard Biodiversity Research,” DPR AmSci Journal, April 17, 2011.