The importance of open data describing prey item species lists for endangered species.

Published online
26 Sep 2023
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Ecological Solutions and Evidence

Lortie, C. J. & Braun, J. & King, R. & Westphal, M.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
California & USA


Open data and code can be transformative tools in supporting evidence-informed solutions for stakeholders. Data can take many forms of evidence in the discipline of applied ecology including tables, lists, maps and visualizations to name a few. Endangered and listed species are often a catalyst for research, conservation and planning. Here, a novel, open data set summarizing all the reported diet and prey items for all endangered, terrestrial dryland species listed in central California is provided as a case study. These data highlight the critical need for sharing data rapidly and transparently to support ecological solution science. Systematic review practices were used, data were compiled and the resulting data set was published in an open access, federated data repository using ecological metadata language and FAIR principles. The goal is to show that these data can now be used and analysed by applied ecologists and stakeholders to identify not only the habitat and spatial needs for the endangered species but to widen the conservation protection net to include prey species. Conserving viable habitat with higher likelihoods of prey presence will better support conservation of endangered species, and data describing reported species are a crucial first step. Interactive tables, local species lists and maps are simple tools that can now be developed regionally with open data such as these.

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