Freshwater Biodiversity Browser

Welcome to Bio Browser



The Freshwater Biodiversity Browser is a simple interactive map which allows you to explore the biodiversity of Africa’s freshwaters, based on data collated through IUCN's Pan Africa Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment. Here you can view information about where species are found, how many are found there, and how they have been assessed by the IUCN Red List.

Go straight to Bio Browser



Getting started


The map opens showing the freshwater fishes of Africa mapped to river sub-catchments. You can zoom in and zoom out to see more country level detail (either using your mouse wheel or by hovering the curser over the compass in the bottom left corner of the map), move around the map by clicking-and-dragging, and clicking on any basin will open a pop-up. This will bring up the assessment information for one of the species found in that basin (listed alphabetically). This includes:

  • Scientific species name (or Binomial)
  • Red List Category
  • Presence – whether a species is extant, probably extant, or extinct from that basin
  • Origin – whether the species is native to that basin, or has been introduced
  • Population trend
  • Threats to the species
  • Utilization of the species by people
  • Date of the assessment
  • A link to the full species assessment on the IUCN Red List website

Looking at the Presence for each basin will let you know if the species is known to be there (Extant), is inferred to be there (Probably Extant), or is no longer there (Extinct). Parts of the range may be labelled as Probably Extant where there is expected to be suitable habitat for the species (usually neighbouring Extant areas), but surveys may not have been carried out to confirm its presence there. A species range may contain more than one Presence code, so check the pop-up for each basin of interest.

Below the species name is shown the number of species found in that basin, and you can move between these species by clicking on the up and down arrows in the top right corner. Please note - this total includes all species of all taxonomic groups that are 'activated' (see below), and not only of the taxonomic group you are currently viewing. The pop-up can be closed by clicking the ‘X’ in the top right corner.



Other taxonomic groups


When you open the browser only the fishes data is visible. To look at other taxonomic groups, these layers will need to be activated. To view this, click on the Map Contents button in the toolbar on the top left.


Esri tool to browse species spatial data



This will show the taxonomic groups available – currently the Fishes layer is ticked. Click on the boxes beside each taxonomic group to activate or de-activate each layer. Clicking on a basin on the map will bring up the information for all taxonomic layers which are ticked as active, so remember to un-tick any group that you’re not interested in.





Clicking on the map only provides information for the one basin you’ve clicked on. If you want to find the entire distribution of a certain species, you can enter this into one of the queries. Click on the Queries button in the centre of the toolbar. Choose which taxonomic group you are interested in (e.g. ‘Search for a mollusc range’). A pop-up will open, prompting you to enter the scientific name of the species you are interested in. Once you enter this and click OK, the distribution of the species will be shown in blue on the map. The pop-up lists information on this species for each basin, and the basin in question is shown in red. To zoom to the entire distribution of the species, click Zoom All at the bottom of the pop-up.

There is also a query to create a list of threatened species (i.e., species assessed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) for any given basin. From the Queries button, choose the threatened query for the taxonomic group of interest (e.g. ‘Threatened fishes by catchment’). This will prompt you to enter the Catchment ID for the basin you are interested in. (The Catchment ID can be found by clicking on the basin of interest, and will appear at the bottom of the species pop-up). The query pop-up will then tell you how many threatened species are recorded there, and list them all. By clicking on the arrow to the right of the species name, you will be taken to the species pop-up. To scroll through species, click the up and down arrows at the top right corner, or return to the list by clicking the back arrow in the top left corner.

You can also experiment with building your own queries by clicking on the ‘+’ in the bottom left corner of the Queries window.


Esri tool to browse species spatial data



Go to Bio Browser

This interactive map is a very basic demonstration powered by Esri, the GIS Global software provider. In the future we will be developing a more powerful map with more capabilities, including stronger and more flexible searches, and the ability to download the information and spatial data that you are interested in. If you have any comments on what you’d like to see in a later version, please contact us at freshwater.biodiversity@iucn.org


Global GIS software provider

Go to top