Establishment of Identify Life

A Project Funded by the Moore Foundation

Executive Summary

This project is to develop Identify Life, an innovative and flexible means of delivering taxonomic identification services via the Internet to a wide audience including conservation managers, scientists, students and the general public. It is a globally scaleable, accessible, cascading solution to the problem of biological identification, with the potential for revolutionising and internationalising the process of creating identification and diagnostic keys. Continue reading

Bedbug and Other Pests Control

Bedbugs are very small parasitic insects, between 6-9mm in length and typically like to feed just before dawn. Their bite is extremely irritating and they are active all year.

Bedbugs spend most of their time hiding in bed linen and only move about for short periods to seek a meal of blood, typically from humans. Bedbugs can live several months without a meal. House cleanliness assists with control but infestations can occur due to transference from furniture and luggage that has been in contact with an infestation. Continue reading

How are Lucid Identification Tools Being Used

Since hundreds of Lucid builders have been distributed over the past 6 years or so, many different types of keys have been developed, for a range of taxa and for a range of purposes. Two areas where identification is of critical importance – quarantine and biodiversity – are discussed below. However, for an indication of the full range of Lucid keys developed, visit and click on the Search for a Key button. You can search by taxon type, key words, Internet keys, etc. for details of those keys that have been entered on the site by their authors. Continue reading

Lucid Digital Identification Keys

Lucid digital identification keys: their role in on-line taxonomy


With developments arising from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Species 2000 and other initiatives to create on-line taxonomic databases, computer-based identification keys will have several, increasingly important roles to play. Foremost among them is the capture of taxonomists’ expertise, particularly of those about to retire, and making this expertise readily accessible for non-experts to make identifications themselves. For many potential users of taxonomic information – such as ecologists, conservation managers, quarantine inspectors, plant health officers and students – computer-based identification keys, that enable them to identify and name specific taxa, are likely to be the only effective portals by which they will be able to access the wealth of taxonomic data that is rapidly being made available on the Internet. Continue reading

SWIFT Description Parser: a Software Tool for Rapid Species

SWIFT Description Parser: a Software Tool for  Rapid Species Description through Natural Language Parsing
Developers: CBIT
Project leaders: Shaun L. Winterton, Mathew Taylor
Senior Programmer: Damian Barnier


Earth’s undescribed biodiversity is immense but our ability to document these undescribed species is threatened by a taxonomic impediment caused by a lack of taxonomic resources and inherent aspects of the descriptive process. We are developing a easy-to-use software application (SWIFT Description Parser) to alleviate some of the tedious components of describing species. This software uses natural language parsing to extract character states from taxonomic descriptions and generate character matrices in standard descriptive data (SDD) format for use in interactive keys and for generating taxonomic monographs automatically. Adoption of SWIFT Description Parser as part of routine taxonomic studies will dramatically increase the productively of taxonomists describing the world’s undescribed biota by significantly increasing the rate of description. Continue reading