Last Modified on October 18, 2021
Interactions between different species are known as interspecies interactions. All aspects of life depend on interspecies interactions. Ever since the dawn of life on Earth, species have been competing for resources, eating or being eaten, parasitizing, and collaborating with each other. Even the eukaryote cell, which is the most basic unit of all complex evolutionary lineages (Algae, Fungi, Plants, Animals), was created by an interspecies symbiotic association between different species of bacteria.
Interspecies interactions span from ecological networks that are important for conservation and biodiversity efforts, to pollination services that are important for agriculture, to pathogen interactions that are important for tracking the spread of diseases in humans, plants and animals. An organism cannot be understood in isolation from other species; it can only be understood if we know how it interacts with other species and its environment.
To help increase our knowledge of ecological networks and species interactions we created SpeciesConnect, a free database and social network to share and explore interactions among species. The goal of SpeciesConnect is for users from all over the world to subscribe and share their observation of interspecies interactions, in order to generate a global database to be used for research and decision making. Citizen science has become a very important and powerful tool that can help us understand how species interact in order to solve real problems in the areas of environmental science, conservation, food production, biotechnology, and diseases just to name a few.
The taxonomy of SpeciesConnect is based on the 2019 phylogeny posted on Catalogue of Life (www.catalogueoflife.org), and the database already includes most of the interactions on the GLOBI database (www.globalbioticinteractions.org). Users can browse for free to learn about interspecies interactions without subscribing. The search can be done by species, type of interaction, or by cases that users upload. If users want to contribute their observations, they can also subscribe for free to add cases of interactions, and connect with other users. The cases added can relate to interactions that already exist on the database, or to interactions that do not exist on the database; the system will automatically add all new interactions to the database.
When adding a Case, users can include evidence of the interaction through photos, videos, a pdf, a link to a paper, or a link to a news article or social network post. Users that have an account can like or comment posts of other users. If the observation includes multiple interactions, they can all be included in just one Case.
Learn more about species interactions at https://speciesconnect.com/ or contribute to science by expanding the database with your observations!
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