Topic: Species interactions
I'm involved with the new mycological recording database being built with iRecord/Indicia. The main new feature is to hold interactions. Apparently the Aculeate people also want this.
Interactions are to be modelled as a pair of records since the host record is felt to be useful in its own right. The "interaction record" links the two and contains the fields describing the interaction.
This will introduce records that fall outside the current paradigm:
The fungal host is usually dead wood, so the host records include dead organisms.
The dead host was often planted (eg trees in plantations).
Sometimes (eg fence posts) the dead wood was brought on site.
Most fungal hosts are only recorded to genus.
Fungal parasites are often on flowers in gardens (or even house plants) - presumably this equally applies to flowers visited by aculeates.
Most trees are widespread so it probably doesn't matter there, but I think this would pollute the alien plants distribution data.
I'm writing the documentation and am looking for suggestions on how we might minimise the impact by encouraging people to set fields like "dead", "in cultivation" etc - although I don't think we have such fields available!