Atlases

Current Activity

Promoting and publishing atlases is an integral part of BRC’s work.  Atlases continue to be important for biological recording while also providing a basis for periodic review of the distribution of species within a taxonomic group.  Atlas datasets are often used for research, including many of the examples given throughout this booklet.  In 2014, coinciding with its 50th anniversary, BRC is supporting the publication of major atlases of dragonflies and bryophytes.

Key Outputs

Printed atlases now cover of 10,000 species of plants and animals. Many atlases are richly detailed reference works which include much more than distribution data.  Atlases and their associated datasets have revealed major changes in species’ ranges over the past 50 years and are being used to address a growing number of research questions.  Maps, species accounts and associated information within atlases are also increasingly used to make informative and attractive websites to support recording.

Group Atlas No. taxa
Animal: Vertebrates
Amphibians and reptiles Arnold (1995) 14
Birds Balmer et al. (2013) 510
Fish Davies et al. (2004) 51
Mammals Arnold (1993) 61
 
Green plants, lichens and myxomycetes
Bryophytes Hill et al. (1991-1994) 1,038
Charophytes Moore & Greene (1983) Moore (1986) 47
Seaweeds Hardy & Guiry (2003) 629
Lichens Seaward & Hitch (1982) 176
Myxomycetes Ing (1982) 100
Vascular plants Preston et al. (2002) 3,354
Vascular plants, brambles Newton & Randall (2004) 330
Vascular plants, dandelions Dudman & Richards (1997) 178
Vascular plants, hawkweeds McCosh & Rich (2011) 431
Group Atlas No. taxa
Animal: invertebrates
Ants, bees and wasps Edwards et al. (1997-2012) 461
Aquatic bugs Huxley (2003) 61
Beetles, carabids Luff (1998) 348
Beetles, click Mendel & Clarke (1996) 73
Beetles, Cryptophagidae - Atomariinae Johnson (1993) 48
Beetles, jewel and soldier Alexander (2003) 58
Beetles, ladybirds Roy et al. (2011) 47
Beetles, long-horn Twinn & Harding (1999) 60
Beetles, seed and leaf Cox (2007) 268
Beetles, water Foster (1981-1995) 168
Bumblebees Anon. (1980) 26
Butterflies Asher et al. (2001) 66
Caddisflies Marshall (1978) 32
Centipedes Barber & Keay (1988) 41
Dragonflies Cham et al. (2014) 57
Fleas George (2008) 73
Flies, craneflies Stubbs (1992, 1993) 93
Flies, ensign (Sepsidae) Pont (1987) 27
Flies, hoverflies Ball et al. (2011) 279
Flies, larger Brachycera Drake (1991) 61
Flies, meniscus midges Goldie-Smith (1989) 14
Flies, mosquitoes Snow (1998) 35
Flies, snail-killing Ball & McLean (1986) 63
Grasshoppers and allies Haes & Harding (1997) 37
Harvestmen Hillyard (2005) 24
Lacewings and allies Plant (1994) 71
Leeches Elliott & Tullett (1982) 16
Millipedes Lee (2006) 56
Molluscs, land and freshwater Kerney (1999) 213
Moths, Incurvarioidea Bland (1986) 32
Moths, macromoths Hill et al. (2010) 867
Nematodes Heath et al. (1977) 55
Pseudoscorpions Legg & Jones (1988) 25
Spiders Harvey et al. (2002) 648
Ticks Martyn (1988) 22
Waterlice and woodlice Gregory (2009) 47
 
Animal: Vertebrates
Amphibians and reptiles Arnold (1995) 14
Birds Balmer et al. (2013) 510
Fish Davies et al. (2004) 51
Mammals Arnold (1993) 61
 

Future Challenges

Planned atlases will continue to extend the taxonomic breadth of mapped species distributions.  Repeat atlases, such as those already published for Lepidoptera, birds and plants, often reveal important insights into the causes of change in species distribution, and generate new research questions. Additional ecological and environmental information, now integral to most atlases, help to interpret species distributions. A challenge is to incorporate complex new analyses of trends in an accessible way.

References