The Florida Species and Habitat Monitoring Programs Catalog, also known as Terra-CAT, is a searchable database of metadata—"data about data"—that allows anyone with access to the internet to find information about monitoring that supports research and management of Florida habitats and species, especially Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).
The goal of Terra-CAT is to assist Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative (FWLI) in meeting its Monitoring and Adaptation implementation goal of providing information necessary for adaptive management, by addressing the Species and Habitat Monitoring Objective of improving species and habitat monitoring systems. The catalog can also help researchers by letting them know what data have been collected, where they were collected, and how to acquire the data for their own analysis. Members of the public can use the catalog to find out about monitoring activities being performed in their communities.
Monitoring locations represented in Terra-CAT are located throughout the state of Florida and may include both terrestrial and aquatic sites. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is used to map sample locations and to allow spatial searches.
The Terra-CAT website is based on a similar catalog for water resource monitoring metadata, Water-CAT, initiated by the Florida Water Resource Monitoring Council. The Terra-CAT and Water-CAT websites are separate and distinct, but they share a common database. Terra-CAT and Water-CAT are different in that Terra-CAT’s focus is on project metadata, while Water-CAT is structured around sampling sites, which are represented as point locations. On Terra-CAT, sampling locations can be individual points, transects (lines), or regions (polygons). When an organization has projects on both sites, cross-links will be provided.
The Terra-CAT project is sponsored by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) with funding from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Design and implementation of the database and online tools to access it are being performed by the USF Water Institute at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Terra-CAT development is being guided by a team of researchers from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, including:
Dave Reed, Research Administrator, Research Information Services
Caroline Gorga, Wildlife Legacy Biologist, Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative Program
Adrienne Ruga, Metadata Coordinator, Research Information Services
Amber Whittle, Subsection Administrator, Habitat Research
Johanna Freeman, Biologist, Upland Habitat Research
René Baumstark, Section Leader, Information Science & Management
Funding for the Florida Species and Habitat Monitoring Programs Catalog (aka Terra-CAT) is provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s program, Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grant Program (T-46 Marine, Climate Adaptation & Monitoring Projects, Grant Cycle 2016, F17AF00383).