Best wildlife iphone apps

A few good wildlife apps for iphone / itouch are starting to trickle onto the market. An interesting one is the Collins British Wildlife Photoguide, priced at £5.99 which is an app version of a large book. The Guardian notes “Arranged by taxonomy – mammals, invertebrates, butterflies and moths, birds and so on – it features photos and brief descriptions of over 1,500 species. The navigation is a bit fiddly and there’s no identification feature, so you need to know what you’re looking at or be willing to scroll through several pages to get a match.”

There is also a very nice little app which is a guide to all of Britain’s native trees. Very easy and slick design make identification loads easier and lighter than carrying around a hefty guide book!

When are they going to produce an app for the Collins bird guide, meanwhile though I like Chirp! Bird Songs of Britain and Europe very much with its maddingly bird addicative quiz.

My favourite though is the superb wildflowers guide with its wonderful ID key. Guaranteed to get you out there IDing stuff.

I also want to recommend the complete Wikipedia Encyclopedia app, myfavourite mobile application of all time. Although it doesn’t have photos and is a bit clunky, it includes stacks and stacks of information on the natural history of the Britsih Isles.. Warning takes some time to download, but it’s worth it. Also includes millions of articles from around the world without worrying about data roaming fees. I find it incredibly useful when travelling, or for resolving discussions in bars, and above all for learning about something in situ. This year for instance I enjoyed reading about puffins, 30 minutes after watching them on the Isle of Lunga off Mull.

Since the Atlantic Puffin gets the majority of its food from diving it is important that there is an ample supply of resources and food. Different environmental conditions such as tidal cycle, upwellings and downwellings contribute to this abundance. In a study published in 2005 it was observed that Atlantic Puffins were associated with areas of well-mixed water below the surface. This study implies consequences for the species if impacts of global warming lead to an alteration of tidal cycles. If these cycles are modified too much, it is probable that the Atlantic Puffin will have a difficult time locating food resources. Another consequence of an increase in temperature could be a reduction in the range of the Atlantic Puffin, as it is only able to live in cool conditions and does not fare overly well if it has to nest in barren, rocky places, and an increase in temperature could thus squeeze the zone of puffin-suitable habitat as warmer biotopes expand from the equator but the polar regions remain barren due to lack of historical accumulation of topsoil. From the Encyclopedia app

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