Data in the ALA represents either:

  • a specimen—an organism, photograph, sound or other multimedia file of a species that has been scientifically collected by, and managed in, a natural history collection, a museum or herbarium


  • an observation—a record of the sighting of an organism by an individual or member of an organisation such as a community environment group. Observations may be supported by a photograph, sound or other multimedia file.

Specimen and observation data are supplemented by:

  • images—often drawn from Morphbank
  • literature describing the species—usually taken from the Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • molecular DNA data—drawn from BOLD
  • identification keys
  • species interaction data—often from the Species Interactions of Australia Database
  • species profile (descriptive) data drawn from a wide range of sources
  • nomenclatural data taken from National Species Lists
  • information on the data provider
  • indicators of the conservation or other sensitivity status, e.g. conservation sensitive species
  • geospatial, geopolitical and environmental layers used in the Spatial Portal as an overlay on maps of species occurrence data.