How to figure out if an observation is a first discovery

We've started this project as a place to draw together observations that are first wild records for NZ nationally, or regionally, or first wild records in a decade or more, nationally or regionally.

Figuring this out can get tricky because many NZ museum specimens in many taxonomic groups are still not digitized and publicly available. Because of this, the NZ discovery and NZ rediscovery fields used by this project separate first online observations from verified first observations.

The best way to assess if an observation is first online, or first online in a decade, is to search on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. GBIF pulls together all of the world's available online species observations, including all research grade iNaturalist observations as well as all available digitized museum collections.

Verified first observations should have been confirmed by staff at Biosecurity NZ, or scientists at a national museum or research institute, who have searched through the appropriate museum collections and published their finding in scientific literature.

Posted on October 19, 2018 08:15 PM by jon_sullivan jon_sullivan


This project is a great idea! Another place to go is the Australasian Virtual Herbarium at - an advanced search can filter in NZ, although I can't see any biostatus (e.g., cultivated, naturlaised).

Posted by murray_dawson almost 5 years ago

Thanks Murray. That's an excellent tip. I use the Australasian Virtual Herbarium a lot for searching for plants. I've assumed that the Australasian Virtual Herbarium also gets harvested by GBIF.

Another good place to look for onlinef plant distribution information is NZPCN, since they're the only site that publicly maps a lot of Department of Conservation plant records.

Posted by jon_sullivan over 4 years ago

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