Identifier Profile: @clauden

This is the tenth in an ongoing monthly (or almost monthly!) series profiling the amazing identifiers of iNaturalist.

I’ve come across Claude Nozères (@clauden) on iNat few times and have always been impressed not only by his 30k+ identifications, especially of marine organisms (a diverse and difficult group), but his encouraging comments as well as his ability to dig up for ID discussions. So I’m happy to be writing about him for this Identifier Profile.

Claude grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia (on the western side of North America) and tells me “[I] was always interested in the seashore and the mountains, though in the end the sea won out and I pursued marine biology at university, focussing on the ecology of food webs with seals and whales.” After being offered an internship in Quebec (on the eastern side of North America) to work with seals, he stayed in the area to get his master’s degree at Laval University - researching the diet of St. Lawrence beluga whales

To do my project, I had to collect over 60 potential prey species of fish and invertebrates to analyse their chemical signatures. I noticed there was no one best resource to identify all the animals in the NW Atlantic, and some mistakes were being made using southern (US) or eastern (Europe) guides. And the illustrations in ID keys were not always easy to interpret when examining organisms, especially for fresh colors. Because my project involved processing (blending!) prey samples to obtain their chemical profile, I had to be sure of their identification.

So he began documenting the prey photographically - first on film, then on a (one megapixel!) digital camera. 

Taking shots of organisms on fisheries surveys, folks were impressed with how I could show them the diversity in their catch. After learning about photo cataloguing and page layout, I made my first photo guide in 2002. I became good at photo-documenting and identifying species on surveys, so now I work as a biodiversity biologist in this region. Currently, I help other biologists on marine fish surveys and give advice to folks on marine species names and their identification, mostly in the Atlantic and the Arctic, but also in the Pacific. I am fascinated by the similarities and differences across these oceans—sometimes coldwater and deep species are found in very different environments. I find Echinoderms, molluscs, and crustaceans are especially interesting in their distributions, and their diversity in forms and colors are also revealed with iNaturalist.

In the 2000s, Claude would add photos to the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) galleries but rarely received feedback about them. He joined iNat in 2011 and has since added IDs to over thirty thousand observations, mostly fish and marine invertebrates. “Amazingly,” he says, “making shared, digital observations has led to me opening up books more often, to learn about organisms (and sometimes their behavior in a region or season).”

When identifying for iNaturalist, Claude focuses on marine organisms and takes the time to really delve into various resources. In addition to using computer vision suggestions and nearby observations on iNat to narrow things down, but if those don’t suffice

I may then search for related records for the taxonomic group ou a broader region. It starts with iNaturalist, to see other related taxa of a group in the area (state, province, water body). If no obvious visual candidates, then turn to OBIS/GBIF for observed occurrences, and to WoRMS to see if it has linked documents or resources for a taxon I am trying to confirm…For certain groups, I also consult key documents I have found, from NMFS, DFO, and Smithsonian, especially for fishes, crustaceans, and cnidarians. 

He also periodically goes back through observations to see if new photos or new observations in a particular location can help him confirm previous observations he wasn’t sure about. 

So it may look like I have deep knowledge, but it is highly dependent on posted observations, if several are similar, and if resources are online to confirm what is seen in photo(s). I defer to experts when a group is too much for me with just a photo (plankton and polychaetes, for example!). In the end, I can identify for others on iNat because others have already posted and done so—the shared photos and locations that are easily searchable in one place make it easy to do. 

What I find interesting, in asking about process and resources, is that iNaturalist is reaching a size that is becoming a key resource on its own. While I consult the sites above, the work on iNaturalist is the place for vetted data (because of photos and posted community opinions)—at least for the taxa and the places that are posted so far. Other resources may have more, but are too generic or not reliable for locations (not confirmable). On iNaturalist, we identify, confirm, and update. On OBIS/WoRMS, it is a more static, classical approach to updating (send an email if an error).

Currently, Claude assists other marine biologists in surveys and helps with marine IDs on both coasts of North America, and he’s using iNat to collate skate egg capsule observations, or working with @thomaseverest on a bivalve siphon project

The community is why I use iNaturalist: posting, identifying and commenting on observations of organisms observed in an area. Folks are happy to learn more about the ‘thing’ they find, and being connected on iNaturalist means you often get a rapid response—from a local who knows the flora and fauna, or from a world expert on a group. I get as excited posting a bee from my garden and learning it is a rare find as I am to help folks know the odd beast they caught is a crustacean with a special biology. Beyond the community, though, it is the toolset underlying our exchanges—the ability to search, filter, get updates, auto-suggest names, show taxonomic hierarchy all helps to get results and makes it seem less like work and more fun to discover finds.

- You can take a look at Claude’s publications here, and some posters he’s made. 

- Invertebrate salad? “At one point, we were doing an open house for a university, and I did photo cards, including one for sea organisms that have ‘vegetable’ common names—so I did an oddball salad portrait showing sea broccoli, sea cucumber, sea potato, sea strawberry. The visiting kids would be all, ‘Whoa! Those are animals in the sea?’. It was especially fun to show folks what lay hidden on the shoreline and beyond. So close yet so little known.”

- There’s a nice quote from Claude on this previous Observation of the Week by @imlichentoday

Publicado el viernes, 13 de mayo de 2022 a las 04:28 AM por tiwane tiwane


Congrats Claude! Best in the iNat shrimp business haha @clauden

Anotado por colorado_crustaceans hace casi 2 años

My goal is to be as cool as @clauden!!!

Anotado por diegoalmendras hace casi 2 años

One of my favorite iNat'rs!

Anotado por muir hace casi 2 años

@clauden is the man!

Anotado por alanarama3 hace casi 2 años

Congratulations, you deserve it! And thank you so much for all the IDs!

Anotado por lpbateman hace casi 2 años

Awesome @clauden!

Anotado por bgregoire hace casi 2 años

Congratulations @clauden, your help via iNaturalist inspires me to look even closer at the world around me. Thank You!

Anotado por kljinsitka hace casi 2 años

Incredible! Congratulations. Thank you for all of the difficult work you do here on this site. We appreciate you!

Anotado por mbwildlife hace casi 2 años

Congratulations!! Your observations and identifications have been a great resource!

Anotado por vvildlife hace casi 2 años

Awesome job @clauden!!! Thanks for the IDs!

Anotado por gatorhawk hace casi 2 años


Anotado por steph_thecnidarian hace casi 2 años


Anotado por mkbthe2nd hace casi 2 años

Lovely to see this @clauden . Thank you so much for all the ID's and your redirections to experts in the field! Mahalo, merci et thank you!

Anotado por hermissenda hace casi 2 años

Wonderful! @clauden thanks for all of your dedication to welcome naturalists to the community! :)

Anotado por sambiology hace casi 2 años

Way to go @clauden !! You have taught me more about caridean shrimp than you could possibly know -thank you 🙂

Anotado por ksprague hace casi 2 años

A wonderful profile, and congrats to @clauden ! He makes iNat a better place and I'm so grateful for all the IDs and thoughtful discussions.

Anotado por thiebaud hace casi 2 años

Thanks @tiwane, and all the folks here--familiar user names, and the new ones to me! Here's to learning more with you all!

Anotado por clauden hace casi 2 años

I have been very grateful for the input @clauden has given my observations and to those observations of others I know here on the west coast. First class. Thank you. I am also pleased to see this profile to give me a better understanding of how someone on the east coast can be so helpful on the west coast - thanks @tiwane

Anotado por bobmcd hace casi 2 años

Great work!

Anotado por susanhewitt hace casi 2 años


Anotado por dysm hace casi 2 años

I'm so happy to see @clauden featured. He's been such a wonderful iNat identifier, and has helped me learn more about some of less well-known species in my area. Thanks, Claude!

Anotado por leftcoaster hace casi 2 años

Congrats Claude! You are a jewel for this amazing website!

Anotado por leila_brunner hace casi 2 años

Yay Claude! Thanks for your ID expertise!

Anotado por entoandrew hace casi 2 años

Impressionnant! Bravo @clauden pour tout ce travail énorme et encore merci pour ton aide que j'apprécie toujours!

Jean-François Rousseau @rouj
Observateur des pêches en mer

Anotado por rouj hace casi 2 años

So glad to see you featured, @clauden!

Anotado por larid_dylan hace casi 2 años

Congrats @clauden! You deserve this and thank you for your help!

Anotado por miguel_guerreiro hace casi 2 años

awesome! I've enjoyed all your comments and thoughts and IDs on my marine critters -- even way over here in the N pacific.

Anotado por mckittre hace casi 2 años

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