The Azorean Biodiversity Portal: An internet database for regional biodiversity outreach
azores, biodiversity, database, science communication, species distribution, webpage
There is a growing interest in academia to provide biodiversity data to both the scientific community and the public. We present an internet database of the terrestrial lichens, bryophytes, vascular plants, molluscs, arthropods, vertebrates and coastal invertebrates of the Azores archipelago (Portugal, North Atlantic): the Azorean Biodiversity Portal (ABP, http://www.azoresbioportal.angra.uac.pt/). This is a unique resource for fundamental research in systematics, biodiversity, education and conservation management. The ABP was based on a regional species database (ATLANTIS), comprised of grid-based spatial incidence information for c. 5000 species. Most of the data rely on a comprehensive literature survey (dating back to the 19th century) as well as unpublished records from recent field surveys in the Azores. The ABP disseminates the ATLANTIS database to the public, allowing universal, unrestricted access to much of its data. Complementarily, the ABP includes additional information of interest to the general public (e.g. literature on Macaronesian biodiversity) together with images from collections and/or live specimens for many species. In this contribution we explain the implementation of a regional biodiversity database, its architecture, achievements and outcomes, strengths and limitations; we further include a number of suggestions in order to implement similar initiatives.