ISIS – A new approach for identifying invertebrate assemblages

Posted by Michael Williams - AIEEM BSc (Hons) on 11/07/2011

ISIS is a computer application developed by Natural England for the recognition and scoring of invertebrate assemblage types.

ISIS is the methodology devised and used to aid conservation management in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), specifically by establishing the presence/absence and quality of specific Species Assemblage Types. However, as a tool for analysing species lists it has numerous other uses.  

The model scores the likelihood of any assemblage type being present from a point system weighted by how many species sampled that fit into each type,and weighted again by how accurately they fit into each type using a four digit code i.e. species assigned to the exact assemblage type score more highly than species assigned to a related assemblage type.

Essentially, ISIS can recognise assemblage types within a list, which can then be used to score each assemblage type by its conservation value.

ISIS can be used to:

  • Interpret datasets and identify assemblage types as features of interest as part of an initial assessment of invertebrate interest on an SSSI (or any site for that matter)
  • Identify conservation priorities for landscape character areas
  • Compare individual assemblage types
  • Assess the condition of assemblage types


Originally designed to monitor features of interest on SSSIs it can also analyse species lists at small or large scales e.g. specific management zones or entire landscapes.

For further information contact us or see Natural England Research Report NERR005 - Surveying terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates for conservation evaluation

Ecosulis's entomologists can undertake invertebrate surveys to inform research, development plans and land management using the latest methodologies for survey and analysis. Please contact the Head Office for more information or to request a quote.