24 de marzo de 2020

Observation patterns for spring wildflowers

I started using iNat late last summer, so I missed out on observing spring wildflowers in 2019. Now that those species are beginning to poke out of the ground again, I wanted to get a handle on what's out there to see. So I downloaded a raw dataset of iNat observations and loaded it into R to create some visualizations.

My dataset includes all research-grade plant observations in Cook County, IL in 2019. I focused on plant species that had 100+ observations and were mainly observed during the spring months. I created calendar heat maps to show the number of observations recorded on each day, with darker colors representing higher numbers of observations.

While many of these observations represent plants that were in bloom, the dataset also includes observations made before and after the blooming period when, for example, maybe only the leaves or a seed pod were present. So the calendar heat maps show when you might be able to see the plant, not necessarily when you will see it in bloom.

Here is the calendar heat map for Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), showing that most observations were clustered in mid-late April.

Eastern Shooting Star (Primula meadia) appeared later, with most observations logged during the month of May.

White Fawn Lily (Erythronium album) was observed during a narrow time frame...

while Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) had a cluster of spring observations, but also sporadic observations throughout the summer.

These visualizations have a lot of caveats since they're based on crowdsourced data. The observations don’t represent a systematic collection effort and there may be data quality problems. They show observations following a particularly harsh winter, and I’ll be curious to see if this winter's relatively mild weather results in different patterns in the timing of observations. But I think they still provide some helpful information about what I should look for over the next several months.

Here are a few other species that I graphed:

Anotado en marzo 24, martes 23:43 por joelmc joelmc | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de febrero de 2020

County map of my iNat observations

I just found out that you can download your iNat observations as a CSV data file. This is exciting news for me because, in addition to the plant identification nerd stuff, I’m also really into data visualization. So, here is my first effort: a map I created in R that shows the counties from which I have uploaded observations. Mostly they are in the Chicago area and eastern Iowa near my family’s farm in Louisa County, with a couple of trips to Madison and Milwaukee as well.

Looking ahead to warmer weather, I hope to take a few train/bike trips to new areas to log some observations. A few years ago (before I started using iNat) I took Amtrak to La Crosse and biked a trail along the Mississippi. It was a beautiful trip, and I’m looking for other Amtrak-accessible destinations. At the top of my list are southern Illinois, Michigan, and the Driftless region. I also plan to continue exploring southeast Iowa wetlands—there are some really interesting sites near our farm. At the end of the year I’ll update the map and hopefully there will be a lot more green.

Anotado en febrero 14, viernes 03:09 por joelmc joelmc | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario