About us

The purpose of the GBRC is the collection, management and interpretation of wildlife data to support the conservation, understanding and enjoyment of local biodiversity.

The GBRC gathers verified species records (over 900,000 records of 11,000+ species) and collates and manages these data records, maps and habitat data from across the islands, and maintains information about sites recognised for their natural value. Our aim is to enable easy access to biodiversity information to all those who need to use it whilst maintaining security and quality of data. The GBRC continues to develop so that a wide variety of biodiversity data both recent and historic are collected, stored and used.

Environment Guernsey manages the records centre on behalf of La Société Guernesiaise and the Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services Department of the States of Guernsey  to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information on sites, habitats and species in the islands that make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Our services are essential for underpinning policies and decision making in both the public and private sector, and to ensure compliance with local and international legislation. We are strongly supported by local volunteers with expertise in ecological surveys, species identification and data management and, as such, are able to offer services in a highly cost-effective way.

The Manager – Elizabeth Sweet

Fire salamander which crept out onto path during torrential downpour in the mountains – Corsica

Growing up in Guernsey is a naturalist paradise with, for such a small place, huge habitat variety. The very bedrock of the island itself has character and clambering around the coasts of Guernsey had such an impact I read Geology at the University of Edinburgh.

After completing a Master’s degree in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol I briefly returned to Guernsey and worked for the States. 2007 saw me move to Germany, shifting my research to biological oceanography and climate change, at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Science, with a focus on interdisciplinary research. This interdisciplinary approach I intend to apply in my new role here at the Record Centre.

I was appointed as the new manager towards the end of 2018. Who am I? Oceanographer, palaeontologist, geologist, chemist? My specific focus may have changed over time, but a fascination with earth science has underpinned everything.

Earth science may, at first glance, seem quite a dry subject, but in fact is the integrated study of the Earth’s history, composition and structure, atmosphere and oceans and environment in space. In short, it comprises the very evolution and interaction of everything, including us.

In our rapidly changing world it is vital we understand this as most human activities interact with the planet, from plastics, to climate change, biome shift, biodiversity and more. Advances in technology present us with incredible opportunities to record, monitor, protect species, advise on strategy and educate and engage the community. Data does not need to simply sit in an archive, when it can be applied to the benefit of both us and our environment. Working closely with La Société Guernesiaise, the Biodiversity Partnership, the States of Guernsey and others we plan to reinvigorate interest in Biological Recording and the Record Centre.

Our Technology

The original Distmaps database programme

This was created by the late Charles David from 1992 to 2009.  Charles had been programming for many years, but, as a field entomologist and botanist, he wanted a programme that would enable him to create and maintain a computer database of records with a mapping ‘front end’. He was keen to develop one that would enable the easy input of records, particularly where there may be only one or two in any one area, and where the records could then be viewed as a map and could be viewed in conjunction with other data such as habitats or physical features such as roads, streams etc.  This programme does that and much more.  It includes all the islands and enables us to keep an eye on the fortunes of threatened species and the rise in invasive non-natives as well as building an understanding of the pattern of habitat use and so significance of various areas locally.

ARCMAP/GIS mapping technologies

This is a well-known programme and will not need any further introduction to most.  Data from Distmaps can be loaded into this mapping programme, so providing further flexibility in reviewing plant and animal data.

If you are are interested in learning more about this programme please visit https://www.arcgis.com/.

The new Distmaps Pro database programme

This is a project within ArcMap Pro and installed in May 2018. We are currently finding our way round the new software. It incorporates the features of the original Distmaps, but in the context of the latest mapping technology.