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Our goal was simple, we wanted to make benthic community analysis as inexpensive as possible - that encourages more effective monitoring and better ocean stewardship.  Since we spend hundreds of hours at the microscope each year, improving our organismal count and data entry procedures were the obvious place to start.  Afterall, we weren't doing 20th century analyses, so why continue to use 19th and 20th century counting methods?! 


Replace these:

tickshand countermulticounterold books


With this:

DX1 KeyboardBioTally screenshot


BioTally is a tallying system and digital library that uses your computer network to biologically organise, share, and protect your institution's valuable identification documents and photos.  If you or your technicians spend a lot of time identifying and counting specimens, flipping through papers, books, and photos and then spend even more time entering data for statistical analyses, there is a better way!


DX1 in lab environmentBioTally saves you time and labour costs

Tallying - Whether examining material in a tray or under a microscope, specimen manipulation requires one or two hands and counting requires another; references require two hands free.  The BioTally system is a special keyboard with movable keys coupled to computer software entering your counts directly into a database to make sample counting easier.


Instead of paying >$500 for a 7-key mechanical counter, you can enter data on a 15+ key counter while your data is directly logged into an enterprise-level databased designed for biologists.  BioTally also exports your names and counts in a typical species-sample matrix to a spreadsheet so you can manipulate it in statistical software (or Calc, Excel, etc.) the old-fashioned way.  Of course, you can also manipulate your data within the existing robust SQL database. The information can even be listed phylogenetically to reduce report and appendix frustrations!


Digital FilesDigital Library - The same keyboard operates an in-built browser to quickly flick through images, text, and .pdf reference materials linked to each species.  If operated in a networked environment, several users can view and add data at the same time. 


Data Entry - Your techs are paid for their taxonomic skills, not their typing speed!  Get rid of the paper marking and data entry steps entirely WITHOUT losing data quality.  Build a shared library of photos, tips, and papers so each new technician doesn't start from scratch or outdated material.



The DX1 currently supports Windows 2000 and Windows XP OS. Windows Vista support is being tested (not for use with Mac OS yet). BioTally is a Java application and PostgreSQL database schema. Opensource Java, and enterprise-level PostgreSQL software is distributed with BioTally and available for free download.


EBioTally Packageach BioTally licences includes:

  • DX1 keyboard that connects to your Win2k or XP computer via USB port and software driver
  • BioTally software and documentation
  • 50 moveable keys for use with BioTally and other computer applications
  • Second removable tray to personalise your system
  • Key labels and BioTally background layout sheet
  • Feature-static upgrades for 1 year from purchase
  • Email support for 1 year
  • Significant discounts on additional license periods with no-cost upgrades to future versions.


Benthic Science Limited is the sole NZ supplier of the Ergodex, design award winning, DX1 input systems.  We will provide discounts on orders of 5 or more units and can usually accept institutional purchase orders.




How much will BioTally save YOU?

Although BioTally has many other benefits to your lab, you probably want to know if it will save you money!  Call or email us for a current license quote, then use the form below to find out how much you save annually by using BioTally.  Educational institutions and labs in developing economies are eligible for discounts so please be sure to include institution information in email. 


Number of samples you process per year:

Average time (minutes) spent sorting and identifying per sample:

Average time (minutes) spent entering data from each sample into a computer:

Hourly cost of technician (include overheads):

   (Currency Conversion Tool) BioTally unit price:

Minimum NET annual  (+ is profit above cost):

Beyond saving time on data entry, it is much more difficult to calculate the value of faster reference searches, improved training, standardised references, sample progress reports, appendix formatting, and all of the other features that BioTally offers now and in future versions!