Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still help if I don’t have photos or videos?

Absolutely. You will know names used in your own language (vernaculars) for many of the species in the database, so you can help by adding those to the taxon record. Or you might know a group of animals in pretty good detail even if you don’t dive, and you can put this knowledge to work by helping others in their identification, verifying or suggesting more detailed taxonomy.

Do I have to be an expert to contribute to the Collection?

Even if you feel the level of the photography is too high for you, don’t worry, we all started at some point and we can assure you that our first photos weren’t very good either! We want everyone to feel welcome and useful. With ID photography there is always a new species or a new detail worth the shot, so just keep trying and your photos will improve in quality and relevance. We know of novice photographers taking photos of undescribed species of fish in their first year of photography, and these were of great scientific value!

How can I delete a video or photo?

If you want to remove or delete any of your materials, you just need to browse to the material page and then click the Edit button at the top. On the edit page, scroll down to the bottom and you will see two buttons: "Save" and "Delete". The delete button will ask for confirmation. Please note that if, for example, you wrongly assigned a taxon or a country to a photo, you don't need to remove the record and upload it again. You can simply edit it, change the incorrect details and save.

How can I see all photos of one country?

You just need to go to the country page. You can search for it which the search box or if you're on a page where you see materials from that place, you can click on the country name directly.

How do I add a new vernacular name to a taxon?

To add a vernacular name to a species or taxon with no vernacular names, or to add a name to other popular names already shown, go to the bottom of the taxon page and click on "Add a missing vernacular name." A new window will open where you can choose the language and enter the name.

Please see the video below, where the name "Ferrassa" is added to "Dasyatis pastinaca" in Catalan.

How do I use the tag system?

The tag system is a standarized system for describing your photo content. You can choose feeding behaviours or life stages for example, but only if those can be seen in your photo. You don’t have to fill in all the tags available for your upload, we are not testing your knowledge on the species biology.
This is to help find media on specific tags later during the powerful searches available on the SC.

How should I name the files that I upload?

The names of your files (for videos or photographs) are not displayed on the site, so you can name them as you wish. However, the server will need to work with these files in order to transcode them (videos) or create several smaller versions (photographs). For this reason, we ask that you only use letters from the English alphabet, without any accent marks and without using characters like #, @, % or even &. Please keep them as simple as you can, to avoid any possible problems.

I cannot choose the proper species on upload, is there something wrong?

When adding a species to the upload window you must always choose an option from the drop-down list. The fewer letters you introduce, the longer the list. The video below shows how to choose Entacmaea medusivora. As you can see, initially the ID box is greyed out. When you choose a taxon it turns green and the ID number for the taxon is shown (the same ID as in the WoRMS database).

I have lots of material. How can I contribute it?

Contributing to the SC is free and can be done in a few easy steps. Basically, you will need to create an account on the site (please use your real name, not a nickname) and log in.
Then the Upload menu will be enabled and you can access the Photo and Video forms for uploading material. All the fields in these forms have an explanation, so please read and follow them carefully and ask us any questions you may have.
If you have hundreds or thousands of items and want to upload them all, contact us and we will see if we can upload them in a batch.

Sealife Collection as a learning tool

If you don’t know the species in the photograph just upload it and wait for someone to help you with the identification. Use the Sealife Collection as a learning tool. There is always someone willing to help others to identify XXX species. You are unsure about the species but pretty sure of the genus, the family or the taxonomic order? Use those instead. SC has been designed so you can mark your photos with any taxonomic order up to the kingdom level!

Sealife Collection verification process

All media files uploaded to the Sealife Collection will be marked as “Unverified”, be it a species, a family, an order or any other taxon level you used. If other users agree with your identification they can press on the “Verify the species” button. If several users or an editor verify your media, the photo or video will change from “Unverified” to “Verified” status. Most photos will remain at this verification stage, but a few photos of each species may be verified by a taxonomist editor and reach the “Taxonomist verified” level.

Somebody changed the species identification of my material. Why?

The Sealife Collection is a scientific site and it is very important to have all materials properly classified. The SC Team will only correct the species if it is wrongly named and we are completely sure of its identification. It is very important to rely on help from experts around the world, so please let us know if you find anything incorrect.

What are taxons and taxonomy?

Taxons are the names we give to all living beings. An animal or a plant can have many different names representing different levels of detail from the more general to the more specific. Taxonomy is the branch of science that deals with this classification and naming.

Sealife Collection uses 7 or 8 levels of classification, from the more general level “Kingdom” and moving down with increasing precision to “Phylum”, “Class”, “Order”, “Family”, “Genus” and “Species”. In some cases there is a lower level, the “SubSpecies”.