IMERSS Biodiversity Visualisations Mini-Portal

IMERSS, the Institute for Multidisciplinary Ecological Research in the Salish Sea, is building a federated collection of datasets on biodiversity for localities in the area, together with matching configurations of our web-based visualisation software. This mini-portal collects links to the data and these visualisations as hosted in GitHub pages and elsewhere. As well as showcasing the datasets themselves, this collection also highlights the flexibility of the visualisation framework and its ease of adaptation to map-based or non map-based data, with the ability to weave content from artists, designers and local communities into the presentation.

Visualisations using core biodiversity framework

Despite their diversity, all of the visualisations in this section use a common codebase, presenting either checklists or catalogues of biodiversity observations in various forms: Different kinds of hierarchical text-based summaries, a circular "starburst" visualisation optionally together with map-based plots of observations and controls for filtering based on datasets. All data underlying and code implementing these visualisations is hosted in the IMERSS Bioinformatics Working Group repository on GitHub.

Galiano Life List

The Galiano Life List is a basic visualisation of a species checklist without georeferencing data, showing the checklist and sunburst tabs with a taxon information panel, This visualisation may be seen hosted in various configurations with slightly different styling on the Biodiversity Galiano web site (currently implemented in WordPress) on pages such as Life List, Spiders and Butterflies and Moths. A variant configuration, using miniature "phylopics" from artist Kath Boake Wüthrich to illustrate taxa of interest on the sunburst, as well as a overall representation of Life contributed by artist Susan Taylor, "The Importance of Plankton" can be seen at the BioGaliano Web of Life.

Galiano Data Paper Part I - Marine Animals

Our best-curated dataset, the result of a 2 year process of repeatedly reconciling:

There is a Figma visualisation showing the "two-ended funnel" of this data reconciliation pipeline.

As a result of discrepancies arising in the observation counts as a result of some observations being eliminated as part of the submission of the final dataset to GBIF, the configuration visualisation submitted to the journal was a stripped-down map just showing datasets and observation counts. However, a full visualisation of the data is also available here showing the full datasets in their original form with the same panels as seen in the Life List above, together with the map view.

The data paper was published in the Biodiversity Data Journal on 2022-03-10 as Toward an atlas of Salish Sea biodiversity: the flora and fauna of Galiano Island, British Columbia, Canada. Part I. Marine zoology.

Valdes Island

A project undertaken for the Valdes Island Conservancy, the Valdes Island Biodiversity visualisation weaves together observation data from many sources: citizen science data from iNaturalist, institutional scientific data from the Royal BC Museum and the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum as well as data from local specialists such as Pacific Marine Life Surveys and the Valdes Island Conservancy itself.

This is a gridded map-based visualisation using the GBIF map tile set.

The "fusion" file specifying the weaving of the data sources can be found in GitHub at fusion.json5 and the final raw observation data prior to visualisation is at reintegrated-obs.csv.

Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound

A preliminary visualisation of the species list for the Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, compiled by the Squamish Environment Society under the direction of Judith Holm. This compiles information citizen science data from iNaturalist, institutional scientific data from the Royal BC Museum and the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum as well as data from local specialists such as K. Ricker and C. Dale's checklist of birds and the Squamish Environment Society itself.

The "fusion" file specifying the weaving of the data sources can be found in GitHub at fusion.json5 and the final raw observation data prior to visualisation is at reintegrated.csv.


Our most developed visualisation, an ecocultural mapping pilot incorporating data from Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members on cultural values, written and spoken Hul'qumi'num names of regions and species, as well as ecological community boundaries exported from the QGIS geographic information system, fused together into a single interactive system. Xetthecum is a small area on the southwest coast of Galiano Island, also known as Retreat Cove. A YouTube video presented by Dana Ayotte has been published at Ecocultural Mapping Tool and was presented at the April 2022 Indigeverse conference. Final raw observation data is at reintegrated-obs.csv and provenance of community-curated ecocultural data is at provenance.txt.

Components from Ben Keen

Kindly contributed to IMERSS by Ben Keen are components for working with species checklists and presenting observations reported to iNaturalist.

iNaturalist observations widget

Some prebuilt React components to display iNaturalist data on your own sites. The original goal was to provide add an interactive page to the BC Lepidoptera website so visitors could see some high-level information about lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) spotted in British Columbia. But the code was written to allow it to be re-used by any website and for any taxon or place. Code for these components is housed in the IMERSS inat-components repository.

Checklist generator

A simple tool that converts a CSV file into a checklist of rows, grouped by hierarchy. See the live site for an explanation of the functionality. Code for this component is housed in the IMERSS checklist-generator repository.

Maxwell Creek watershed project

We emphasise helping different communities working with data in formats they are comfortable with, with tools they are familiar with, even if these differ from professional norms in other communities. An example of this is the Maxwell Creek Watershed Project project undertaken with Transition Salt Spring which empowers naturalists with moderate technical skills to edit documents in simply structured R Markdown format, of which the web output is then rewoven into an interactive scrollytelling interface. These documents are hosted in GitHub pages where any member may easily update and republish their documents without needing to consult a technician. Currently this project does not share any implementation with the core visualisation framework but it is expected they will converge in time.