Symbiota Occurrence Data Fields

The Symbiota data schema is strongly aligned to the Darwin Core data exchange standard. For more details, links to the Darwin Core definitions are supplied for each term. Since portals have the ability to customize the field names found on their data entry form, field names may differ from the core field definition and how it is mapped to Darwin Core export tools .

Catalog Number: The unique identifier (primary key) for the specimen record. This field should be used to store the barcode or the accession number (herbaria only). This field is enforced to be unique per collection.
Ex: WIS-L-0123456, ASU0012345, 12345
See Darwin Core’s catalogNumber.

Other Numbers: Any other identifier for a specimen record that is not the catalog number. This field is typically used to store the old catalog number for collections that are in the process of switching from one cataloging system to another (e.g. barcode system).
Ex: 12345
See Darwin Core’s otherCatalogNumbers.

Collector: The name of the person who collected the specimen or made the observation.
Ex: C.G. Pringle, Goodding, L.N.
See Darwin Core’s recordedBy.

Associated Collectors: Other collectors that were present at the time of collection.
Ex: John R. Reeder, A. Nelson
This field is not defined by the Darwin Core standard, which places primary and secondary collectors concatenated the recordedBy field.

Number: The collection number assigned to the specimen by the collector.
Ex: 1294, 12490b, 94-132
See Darwin Core’s recordNumber.

Date: The date the specimen was collected. While dates can be entered using your preferred format, the value will be converted and stored as an ISO-8601 numeric format (YYYY-MM-DD). Note that unknown month and days can be entered as “00”. For example, a collection with a date of “March 1956” can be entered as “1956-03-00”.
Ex: 1983-09-15, 1983-07-00, 1934-00-00
See Darwin Core’s eventDate.

Verbatim Date: Can be used to record date exactly as entered on label. Particularly useful for non-standard date formats or date ranges.
Ex: Spring 1901, March-April 1952, late Sept. 1909
See Darwin Core’s verbatimEventDate.

Year, Month, Day: The numeric value of the year, month, and day at the time of collection. These fields are automatically populated when the date is entered.
See Darwin Core’s year, month, day.

Day of year range: A range of collection dates can be represented here as numeric day of year values. These values will be automatically calculated if you enter a date range in the verbatim date field (e.g. 12 Sept 1968 to 19 Sept 1968, 1968-09-12 to 1968-09-19)
See Darwin Core’s startDayOfYear, endDayOfYear.

Scientific Name: The Latin name of the specimen without the author. Could be anything from kingdom down to subspecies or variety, depending on the level of the identification.
Ex: Pinaceae, Pinus, Pinus edulis, Pinus edulis var. fallax
See Darwin Core’s scientificName.

Author: The name of the person who first named the taxa. This field autofills after entering the scientific name.
Ex: L., Asa A. Gray
See Darwin Core’s scientificNameAuthorship.

Identification Qualifier: The determiner’s expression of uncertainty in their identification. This will be listed on the label along with the scientific name.
Ex: cf., aff.
See Darwin Core’s identificationQualifier.

Family: The family to which the taxa belongs. This field autofills after entering the scientific name.
Ex: Pinaceae
See Darwin Core’s family.

Identified By: The name of the person who identified the specimen. Also called a determiner.
Ex: L. R. Landrum
See Darwin Core’s identifiedBy.

Date Identified: The date the identification was made. Date can be entered as free form text and do not need to be in a standard date format.
Ex: 1992, May 1992, 2 May 1992
See Darwin Core’s dateIdentified.

ID References: The reference source used to make the identification.
Ex: Nesom, Guy L. 2006. Flora of North America – Asteraceae. vol. 20
See Darwin Core’s identificationReferences.

ID Remarks: Any additional notes regarding the identification of the specimen.
See Darwin Core’s identificationRemarks.

Taxon Remarks: Any additional notes regarding the taxonomic name to which the specimen was identify.
See Darwin Core’s taxonRemarks.

Country: The name of the country in which the specimen was collected. To aid data entry, a drop down menu will appear as one types, though names outside of the list can still be entered.
Ex: USA, Canada, Mexico
See Darwin Core’s country.

State/Province: The name of the state or province in which the specimen was collected. As one types, a selection list will appear for the given country.
Ex: New York, Arizona, Sonora
See Darwin Core’s stateProvince.

County: The name of the county in which the specimen was collected. Choose one from the drop down menu. For specimens collected outside of the United States, enter the next geographic region below state/province.
Ex: Maricopa
See Darwin Core’s county.

Municipality: The name of the municipality in which the specimen was collected. For specimens collected outside of the United States, enter the 4th level geographic designation.
Ex: Paradise Valley
See Darwin Core’s municipality.

Locality: The detailed location in which the specimen was collected.
Ex: 9.5 miles NW of Sedona along Boynton Pass Rd.
See Darwin Core’s locality

Locality Security: Checking the Locality Security checkbox will hide locality details below the level of county from unauthorized users. This is typically done because the species is rare or threatened. Images are also hidden to protect locality details that might be viewable from the label. Users that are logged into the system and have the necessary permission to view locality details (e.g. collection managers) will continue to have access to all data. This box will automatically be checked if the species name is on any of the rare species lists  (see sitemap). If one wishes to lock protection (on or off), click the Lock Security checkbox and/or enter a reason for security override in the text field. Leaving the locality security unlocked will allow default settings to be applied as determined by the sensitive species administrators, which is the recommendation for most records. For more information on sensitive species protection, see the page on Sensitive Species Protection
This field is not defined by the Darwin Core standard.

Location Remarks: Comments or notes about the Location.
Ex: under water since 2005
See Darwin Core’s locationRemarks

Latitude and Longitude (decimal format): The geographic latitude and longitude in decimal degrees. Latitudes from the southern hemisphere and longitudes in the western hemisphere (e.g. USA) should be entered as negative values. Click on the “Tools” button to enter the coordinates in the degree, minute, seconds (DMS) or the UTM formats. Decimal degrees are the preferred coordinate standard as defined by Darwin Core. See below for more information on using this tool.
Ex: 34.874022, -111.75774
See Darwin Core’s decimalLatitude, decimalLongitude.

Google Maps Tool: Click on the globe symbol located to the right of the longitude field to open an interactive map to aid georeferencing. This Google Maps interface has the standard control features that allows one to zoom, pan, and change map backgrounds. Clicking on the map will add a marker and place the decimal coordinates to the upper left of the map. Click the “Submit Coordinates” button to transfer the new coordinates to the data entry form. If coordinates already exist in the decimal lat/long fields when the map is opened, the map will focus and zoom into these coordinates. Clicking on another location on the map will move the marker.

GeoLocate Tool: GeoLocate is a georeferencing tool developed out of Tulane University that will generate coordinates from a text description of a locality. Clicking on the GeoLocate symbol will submit the country, state, county, locality, and verbatim coordinates to the GeoLocate web tool. GeoLocate will use this information to generate coordinates and error accuracy that best represents the locality. While specific knowledge of an area will often generate a more precise georeferencing, GeoLocate can still be useful for getting you into the general area which then can be fine tuned.

Georeferencing Tools: Clicking the tools button will open the georeferencing conversion toolbox. This can be used to convert degree/minute/second (DMS) or UTM formats to decimal degrees. The original DMS and UTM are conserved in the verbatim coordinates field. As an alternative, coordinates can be entered directly into the verbatim coordinates field and the decimal lat/long conversion will take place automatically. The township, range, section (TRS) tool will not convert the values to the decimal format. However, it does put the information in the verbatim coordinates field in usable format for GeoLocate to do the conversion. After entering TRS, click the GeoLocate button for the conversion.

Uncertainty (meters): The accuracy of the georeference coordinates in meters (numeric value only). This is measured as the radius of a circle where the true point would be found if known. If coordinates are collected using a GPS, than the accuracy would be the error found within the GPS unit (usually around 10m). While previously collected specimens that have coordinates on the label recorded by the collector typically do not state the source of the coordinates (GPS, map, etc), it is typically a good assumption that the coordinates are accurate within one to two hundred meters. If the locality details are vague such as just “Grand Canyon”, then the coordinates should be the centroid within the uncertainty encompassing the greater area where the specimen may have been collected. If the locality is “Boynton Canyon, Sedona”, the uncertainty would be about 1500 m. This field autofills when using GeoLocate for georeferencing.
Ex: “42000” for “Phoenix”, “20000” for “Salt Lake City”
See Darwin Core’s coordinateUncertaintyInMeters.

Datum: The geographic system that was used to get the coordinates. This field autofills when using [|GeoLocate] or the Google Maps tool for georeferencing.
Ex: NAD27, NAD83, WGS84
See Darwin Core’s geodeticDatum.

Verbatim Coordinates: If the coordinates recorded on the specimen label are in a format other than decimal degrees, enter them here. When decimal lat/long fields are blank and one enters UTM or DMS using one of the formats displayed in the example below, decimal lat/long values will be automatically generated. Click the “<<” symbol to replace existing decimal values. This field autofills when using the DMS, UTM, and TRS georeferencing tools.
Ex: 34° 13.940′ N 112° 2.370′ W, 34d 13m 12.940s N 112d 20m 46.370s W, 12 420944E 4064025N, TRS: T40N R32E S29
See Darwin Core’s verbatimCoordinates.

Elevation in Meters: The elevation in meters at which the specimen was collected. Also called altitude. Use only the left field with the right field blank when a single elevation exists.
Ex: 1400, 2000-2200
See Darwin Core’s minimumElevationInMeters.

Verbatim Elevation: The verbatim elevation at which the specimen was collected. This is typically used to record an elevation measurement that was recorded in feet or an uncertainty designation. When the elevation in meters field is left blank, the value will automatically be converted to meters. Click the “<<” symbol to replace the previously entered meters values.
Ex: 4500ft, 4500 feet, ca 4500′, ca 2000m, 4500′ +-300′
See Darwin Core’s verbatimElevation.

Depth in Meters: The range of depth below the local surface, in meters.
Ex: 100, 150-200
See Darwin Core’s minimumDepthInMeters, maximumDepthInMeters.

Verbatim Depth: The original verbatim description of the depth below the local surface at which the specimen was collected.
Ex: 100ft, 100 feet, ca 100′, ca 30m, 100′ +-10′
See Darwin Core’s verbatimDepth.

Georeferenced By: The name of the person who georeferenced the specimen record. This field autofills when using GeoLocate for georeferencing.
Ex: emakings, acbarber
See Darwin Core’s georeferencedBy.

Georeference Protocol: The source of the standards used to georeference.
Ex: Guide to Best Practices for Georeferencing. Chapman & Wieczorek, 2006.
See Darwin Core’s georeferenceProtocol.

Georeference Sources: The tool or tools used to georeference.
Ex: GeoLocate, Google Earth, USGS map
See Darwin Core’s georeferenceSources.

Georef Verificiation Status: Says whether or not the georeference has been reviewed or verified.
Ex: reviewed, not reviewed
See Darwin Core’s georeferenceVerificationStatus.

Georeference Remarks: Any additional notes regarding the georeferencing of the specimen.
See Darwin Core’s georeferenceRemarks.

Habitat: The description of the habitat in which the specimen was collected.
Ex: Wet areas along a small stream in chaparral.
See Darwin Core’s habitat.

Substrate: The substrate on which the specimen was collected. Mostly used for lichen and bryophyte specimens.
Ex: On basalt, trunk of oak
Darwin Core lumps this information into habitat.

Associated Taxa: A list of the names of other species occurring with the collected specimen.
Ex: Quercus, Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Rhus, Eriogonum, Salvia
See Darwin Core’s associatedTaxa.

Description: A physical description of the specimen at the time of collection. This often includes information that can be lost or difficult to observe after the collection and preservation process.
Ex: Shrub 3 m tall, corolla yellow

Notes: Any additional notes regarding the specimen.
See Darwin Core’s occurrenceRemarks.

Dynamic Properties: A list of additional measurements, facts, characteristics, or assertions about the specimen in a format that allows programmatic parsing of the data. See the Darwin Core link below for further details.
Ex: awnLengthInMeters=0.014, heightInMeters=1.5, relativeHumidity=28, airTemperatureInC=22
See Darwin Core’s dynamicProperties.

Life Stage: Typically used for zoological collections.
See Darwin Core’s lifeStage.

Sex: Typically used for zoological collections.
See Darwin Core’s sex.

Individual Count: Typically used for zoological collections.
See Darwin Core’s individualCount.

Sampling Protocol: Typically used for zoological collections.
See Darwin Core’s samplingProtocol.

Preparations: Typically used for zoological collections.
See Darwin Core’s preparations.

Reproductive Condition/Phenology: The reproductive stage the specimen is in. Typically used for plant and fungal collections.
Ex: flower, fruit, sterile
See Darwin Core’s reproductiveCondition.

Establishment Means: The state of establishment at the time of collection.
Ex: cultivated, invasive, native
See Darwin Core’s establishmentMeans.

Cultivated Checkbox: Check when the organism was established with the aid of humans and would not be able to exist on their own. This true/false field enables the ability to filter non-native or naturalized species.

Type Status: Whether or not the specimen is a type, and if so, the type designation.
See Darwin Core’s typeStatus.

Disposition: The location or status of the physical specimen.
Ex: missing, on loan
See Darwin Core’s disposition.

Occurrence Id: This is the Global Unique Identification (GUID) for the specimen. This identification code should be stable and uniquely identify the specimen relative to all other specimens within the world.
Ex: DUKE-B-3456673, BRY-L-453584
See Darwin Core’s occurrenceId for more information.

Field Number:
See Darwin Core’s fieldNumber for more information.

Owner Code: The acronym of the owning institution. Only enter a value if the owning institution is different than what was entered when the metadata for the collection institution was added to the portal.
Ex: NPS, Forest Service
See Darwin Core’s ownerInstitutionCode.

Basis of Record: The type of record the specimen is classified as. For physical collections, this field defaults to “PreservedSpecimen” (aka herbarium specimen) and for observation projects, the default is “Observation”.
Ex: PreservedSpecimen, LivingSpecimen, Observation
See Darwin Core’s basisOfRecord.

Language: The language of the label information.
Ex: English, Spanish, Portuguese.

Processing Status: The status of the digital record. This field is used for internal data management and review. The values used are dictated by the specific workflow of each institution.
Ex: Expert Required, Pending Review

Label Project: Used for printing labels. You can create a label project and print that set of labels after you’ve entered the data.
Ex: Plants of Sedona 2012

Duplicate Quantity: The number of duplicate specimens created. This will dictate the number of labels printed for speicmen.
Ex: 10





Early Interval:

Late Interval:

Absolute Age:

Storage Age:


Local Stage:





Taxon Environment:



Strat Remarks:

Lith Description:


Slide Properties: