The Public Data Portal supports queries based on taxonomy(scientific names only), geography, attribution fields (i.e. collectors and taxonomists), specimen depositories, project or dataset codes, specimen and sequence identifiers (sampleids, museumids, processed, etc). Free text searches are allowed, the system will try to extract meaningful terms from the search. Search terms should be separated by a space, search terms containing more than one word ("United States" or "Mus musculus") should be wrapped in quotes.
Search examples (Searches are case insensitive):
Culicidae: will return all the mosquitoes in the database
Mammalia Aves: will return all the mammals and birds in the database. Using two terms under the same context (taxonomic in this case), returns all records that match either term.
Aves Peru: will return all the birds collected in Peru. Using two terms under a different context (taxonomic and geographic), returns records that only match both terms.
Hawaii -Chordata: will return all non-chordates, or invertebrates, collected in Hawaii. It is often necessary to exclude records based on a search criteria and is accomplished by adding a minus sign immediately in front of the search term.
"Biodiversity Institute of Ontario" Lepidoptera Florida: will return all moths and butterflies in the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario collection that were collected in Florida. Complex queries are possible by combining multiple search terms.
No spaces in terms when using a multiterm seach (correct: "United States" Mammalia)
Negative symbol (-) is an exclusion operator which must be preceded by a space
If the same term appears in multiple contexts (i.e. "Florida" appears in both the geography list and in "University of Florida"). When using a free text search for the state Florida, employ the context clarification '[geo]' (eg Florida[geo]). Other context clarification tags are [tax], [ids], [inst], [researcher].
John Wilson, Rodolphe Rougerie, Justin Schonfeld, Daniel H Janzen, Winnie Hallwachs, Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Ian J Kitching, Jean Haxaire and Paul DN Hebert When species matches are unavailable are DNA barcodes correctly assigned to higher taxa? An assessment using sphingid moths BMC Ecology 2011-08-01;11(1):18 (PDF)