Are you a mammologist looking for something to take your mind off being stuck at home? This may well be for you.
Our new Mammal Atlas is now out, but just how do we go about putting dots on maps? Each record must be confirmed as being correct. This can be a straightforward process for some species, such as a sighting of a hedgehog, because most people can recognize a hedgehog. Whereas other species, and records of dropping and footprints, require more specialised knowledge to accurately identify them.
What our verifiers do
This is where the verifier comes in. Verifiers will confirm that a record is true/ acceptable using their own expertise and knowledge of a particular area, whilst following Mammal Society guidelines and talking to the recorder.
All records sent to the Mammal Society via the Mammal Mapper app and the records web page are stored, along with other mammal records, on the Biological Records Centre’s (BRC) iRecord data base. All Mammal Mapper users already have a user name and password so we can see their records on that data base. When recorders contact us, we ask them to define their level of expertise. This will help a verifier decide on the trust-worthiness of the record submitted and this speeds up the verification process.
The beauty of being a verifier, particularly at the moment, is that verification can be done in your own home and in your own time.
We need more verifiers
This is where you come in…the Mammal Society, the Bat Conservation Trust and the BRC have recruited verifiers across the country but some counties, including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, Gwent, Greater London, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Somerset, Suffolk and Surrey, either do not have a dedicated person at the moment or need some backup. To find out if your area is somewhere where we particularly need help see the map – right.
Even in places where we have a verifier we often need additional help so please get in touch wherever you live. As more and more people get involved with recording mammals, the more we need the help of verifiers to ensure that the records are correctly identified. We need both temporary and permanent verifiers so please contact us whatever your availability.
Verification is not just about checking records, it’s also about building up a network of recorders across the county. Having a sufficient number of verifiers motivates recorders to collect even more records. It also helps us to ensure that the process is consistent and as easy as we can make it.
Do I qualify as an expert?
If you work in the field of mammal conservation, are someone who has carried out lots of surveys and can tell the difference between a common shrew and a pygmy shrew, a whiskered and a brandt’s bat or a weasel and a stoat, then we want to hear from you.
Who do I contact to find out more?
Even though the Mammal Atlas is out, we will continue to collect records. We are currently working on a new project to track trends in mammal populations based on citizen science records, so we still urgently need verifiers.
If this sounds like something you could help with, whether its temporarily during lockdown or more permanently, please get in touch.
Contact Derek Crawley, Mammal Society, at firstname.lastname@example.org