Noticias del proyecto South Australian iNaturalists

08 de octubre de 2019

“iNaturalist Australia” Launched


The Atlas of Living Australia has launched the "iNaturalist Australia" website.

See the "Announcement on the iNaturalist Blog" and "blog post on ALA"

At present observations can still be "uploaded to ALA through their Record a Sighting tool" but this will be phased out in favour of uploading observations through the iNaturalist platform.

Observation from iNaturalist are synced with ALA but the details on frequency of syncing, refreshing of records and which observations were synced have been a little unclear. The process has been explained by ALA HERE, and is worth quoting in full below:

Data is harvested from iNaturalist Australia to ALA daily. After processing, it is refreshed once per week.

Observations will come across to the ALA if they are:

Shareable under a Creative Commons license
In Australia
Verifiable observations - those which are marked Needs ID or Research Grade

If an iNaturalist observation is updated with a new identification, image, or a changed location, the record in ALA will be updated as part of the regular data harvest.

If records are removed from iNaturalist, they will be removed from ALA.


So which site should you use? This iNaturalist Blog post explains most of the differences with comments from some ALA staff.


By making iNaturalist Australia your "iNaturalist Network Affiliation", ALA will be given access to the location data of your obscured observations. This will provide those using the ALA data for research and conservation efforts with more valuable information. To make this change, head to your iNat User Profile and select "Edit Account Settings and Profile". Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and change your "iNaturalist Network Affiliation" to "iNaturalistAU"


Anotado en octubre 08, martes 08:53 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de octubre de 2019

SA iNaturalists – State & Project Update (End of Sept 2019)


This month we surpassed 50,000 observations in South Australia!


The total number of observations have doubled in the last 12 months and quadrupled in the last 24 months.







Anotado en octubre 02, miércoles 10:15 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de septiembre de 2019

Native Orchids of South Australia – Identification Resources


There are more than 350 native Orchid species in South Australia. While some have distinct characteristics that make identifying them relatively easy (when flowering), others can be a lot more difficult. Below I’ve compiled some resources that should help to aid both the beginner and experienced enthusiast in identifing local Orchids.


Beginner
For the beginner "The Common Native Orchids of the Adelaide Hills" is a two-page poster detailing 30 species of native Orchid commonly found in the Adelaide Hills.

If you are after a bit more detail, the 2011 Heritage Bushcare publication "Start with the Leaves: A simple guide to common orchids and lilies of the Adelaide Hills" by Robert Lawrence, provides info on 50 common native Orchids (and others that may be mistaken for Orchids). This book is also applicable to Kangaroo Island, Northern Lofty and South-East SA.

Other books that may be of use, but aren’t specific to Orchids, are "It’s Blue With 5 Petals: Wildflowers of the Adelaide Region" and "Focus on Flora: Native Plants of the Adelaide Hills and Barossa"


Enthusiast
For the enthusiast looking to dig deeper, "Orchids of South Australia (R.J. Bates & J.Z Weber, 1990) " is a comprehensive publication covering all Orchids in SA as of 1990. However this list in now quite outdated, describing only around 140 species from the 350 or so now known. It is freely available through the Department for Environment and Water website (click the link above to download the PDF). It includes keys, species descriptions, distributions, flowering times, etc. It also includes a colour plate of each species.

More recently the Native Orchid Society of South Australia published a DVD of South Australia’s Native Orchids (R.J. Bates, 2011). The included PDF builds upon the previous version of “Orchids of South Australia”. The text doesn’t follow the format of a traditional "Flora" and is quite easy to read. It is available for purchase through "NOSSA" and can be borrowed from a public library.


Online
The primary online resource is the "Native Orchid Society of South Australia" website. The site has a blog and numerous articles on all aspects of local Orchids.


Future
In 2017 the University of Adelaide received a sizable citizen science grant to develop the "Wild Orchid Watch" project to collect, record and share scientific information about native Orchids. A short introductory video was recently released summarising the project. The project includes the development of an app allowing citizen scientists to record and upload native Orchid sightings, planned for release in 2020. (The app will have some iNaturalist integration, but as yet I am unsure what form this will take)


Pterostylis or Linguella? Caladenia or Arachnorchis? Corybas or Corysanthes?
Attempts have been made in the past to split up some of the larger Orchid genera (i.e. Pterostylis, Caladenia and Corybas) resulting in inconsistent naming conventions. The NOSSA article "A Beginner’s Guide to South Australian Orchid Name Usage" provides some background and a list of the common synonyms. A full list of synonyms published in South Australia’s Native Orchids (R.J. Bates, 2011), can be found "HERE". iNaturalist handles synonyms reasonably well, i.e. if you begin to ID an observation as Linguella it will adjust it to Pterostylis to match the taxon scheme in use by iNaturalist.


What Orchids can I expect to find?
Again, the NOSSA website has some valuable info. The article “When Do Orchids Flower?" shows the number of species that can be found in flower in any given month or region across SA. The associated article “Month by Month Flowering Times" provides a full list of Orchids that may be flowering in each month.


SA Orchid observations
There have been a total of 1,374 observations of Orchids uploaded in SA from 88 species. This month there has been 290 observations from 37 species. That leaves around 260 species of native Orchid that have no iNaturalist observations recorded in SA, with upwards of 235 of them flowering during October.

Just one more reason to head out and see what you can find this Spring.

Anotado en septiembre 28, sábado 07:01 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de septiembre de 2019

Shifting Baseline Syndrome…and why that’s not really a big fish

Shifting Baseline Syndrome (SBS) describes a gradual change in the accepted norms for the condition of the natural environment due to a lack of human experience, memory and/or knowledge of its past condition.(1) In the absence of past information or experience with historical conditions, members of each new generation accept the situation in which they were raised as being normal.(2)

The fisheries biologists, Daniel Pauly, introduced the term in a 1995 article. In 2017 he discussed the idea in his TED Talk "The Ocean's Shifting Baseline"

He and George Monbiot, an environmental writer and proponent of the idea, discussed it in a 2017 article with Oceana.org "Daniel Pauly and George Monbiot in conversation about shifting baselines syndrome"

The recent ABC article “Bird populations are collapsing, and it's a sign of a bigger problem” suggests the lack of monitoring of Australian insect populations, a vital food source for a number of bird families, means we lack objective data to combat SBS.

I recently visited a local suburban pond surrounded by trees and flowering plants, birds singing, and juvenile fish at the water’s edge. The trees were Willows (Salix sp), the flowering plants Boneseed (Osteospermum moniliferum moniliferum), Gazanias (Gazania sp), Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) and Onion-Leafed Asphodel (Asphodelus fistulosus), the birds European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis) and Eurasian Blackbirds (Turdus merula), the fish European Carp (Cyprinus carpio) and Mosquito Fish (Gambusia holbrooki). This environment may well form the 'baseline' for some of the next generation.

As an example, take the Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla). This little Parrot has not been recorded in the Mount Lofty Ranges and Adelaide region in many decades and is considered a rare seasonal visitor travelling up from the South-East of the state. However historical accounts suggest it was present and breeding in the region. (The Little Lorikeet in South Australia) Without these accounts, our 'baseline' for this region may not have included this Parrot.

The 2017 paper “Shifting baseline syndrome: causes, consequences and implications” proposes three main causes:
(1) Lack of data on the natural environment,
(2) Loss of interaction with the natural environment, and
(3) Loss of familiarity with the natural environment

To address these causes, two of the recommendations are to "increase monitoring and collecting data" and to "increase people's natural history knowledge through education".

It is here where the value of iNaturalist becomes apparent. The primary goal being connecting people to nature through a platform that provides a space to share biodiversity information and help people learn, while also generating scientifically valuable biodiversity data from these personal encounters. iNaturalist works to address all three potential causes of SBS listed above.

So consider when making an observation that a species that is common in an area today, may be rare or entirely absent in that area at a future time. That record will help to establish an objective baseline for the species historic distribution.

(1) https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Shifting-baseline-syndrome%3A-causes%2C-consequences-Soga-Gaston/53abd5532902523b2b29205bc133061845c8f082
(2) http://strangesyndromes.blogspot.com/2018/12/shifting-baseline-syndrome.html

Anotado en septiembre 23, lunes 23:48 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

17 de septiembre de 2019

Observation Search and Filtering Tips

One of the first things I wanted to do when I began using iNat was to find out what species had been seen in various conservation areas I wanted to visit. I used the Explore page and searched for Onkaparinga River National Park, which returned an over-sized rectangular Bounding Box around the park that also included observations from lots of other areas I wasn’t interested in. I tried the same for Scott Creek Conservation Park and it returned a Bounding Box far smaller than the park. This wasn’t quite what I was after.


iNaturalist “Places”
iNaturalist has some built-in locations that can be searched. These are “Standard Places”. For example, enter “South Australia” into the search location box and you can select that standard location from the down-down list. However, many local places are not listed at all. This is where the “Community Curated Places” come in. Any user (with at least 50 observations) can create their own place, with any boundary that they choose, and save it to the iNat database of places. These places can then be used by any iNat user through the search filters, or the place can be added to a Project. To search or add Places, click the “More” drop down menu in the iNat page header and select “Places”. (https://www.inaturalist.org/places).

How to Search Community Curated Places
The Community Curated Places don’t appear when typing the place name into the location box on the “Explore” page. This appears to be restricted to the Standard Places. To search for a community curated place, on the “Explore” page open the “Filters” box, click the “More Filters” button to expand the filtering options, then in “Place” type in the community curated place name and select it from the dropdown list.

After creating the necessary community curated places, I could now use the above search/filter method to return observations from much more accurate locations.


Which Species Have Been Seen?
Using the above search will return a full list of observations, in date order, from within that place. To see a summary list of which species have been observed, select the “Species” tab below the search boxes (shown below). This will return a grid list of the species observed in the place in order of frequency seen. Provided the place has a good number of observations, this can provide a guide as to what you are most likely to see when visiting the place.


If you have a particular interest area, further filters can be applied to narrow the search to particular taxa, i.e. Lepidoptera in Onkaparinga River National Park

Further the URLs can be manually modified to filter in increasingly complex ways. This URL shows only Pterostylis and Caladenia Orchid species recorded during Spring months in Onkaparinga River National Park and Scott Creek Conservation Park: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?month=9,10,11&place_id=137877,70310&taxon_ids=83401,140838&view=species

Currently Existing “Places” in SA
Finding that many interesting places in SA were not listed, I set about creating places I wanted to be able to search, and then creating places I wanted to visit, eventually putting many of them together in a single Umbrella Project covering the protected parks of SA. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/protected-parks-of-south-australia. Each of the places in this project are now searchable using the above filtering methods. There are also a growing number of local marine and coastal places being added to the iNat places database and used in various projects, for example the Aldinga Bay and Sellicks Beach places used in the “Aldinga Bay, South Australia” project https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/aldinga-bay-south-australia (@wamoz @danimations). There are presently 554 places listed within South Australia.

If you have any questions regarding searching iNat records, please ask in the comments section below.

Anotado en septiembre 17, martes 08:48 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de septiembre de 2019

SA iNaturalists - Nature Talk (Sept 2019)

Have any questions about local species or natural areas? Please use the comments sections of this post as a place for general discussion on local species and local natural areas during September 2019

Guidelines:
A place to ask questions about local species and places.
Share your knowledge of a local species or experience of local natural areas.
Do not discuss specific location details of vulnerable / endangered species.

Anotado en septiembre 01, domingo 23:08 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

SA iNaturalists – Project Update (End of Aug 2019)

Anotado en septiembre 01, domingo 22:46 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de agosto de 2019

iNaturalist Australia 'node' in the works

Back in May of this year the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) announced they had signed a member agreement with iNaturalist. This means that soon ALA will have it's own iNaturalist 'node' known as iNaturalist Australia. See the full article in the link below.

https://www.ala.org.au/blogs-news/ala-inaturalist-collaboration/

The iNaturalist Network currently has 6 countries with Branded Gateways (think, country specific homepages): Panama, Mexico, Columbia, Canada, Portugal and New Zealand. See the link below for a more detailed explanation of the iNaturalist Network.

https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/network

Anotado en agosto 13, martes 17:10 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de agosto de 2019

The intriguing world of Holothuroidea (Sea Cucumbers)

Although many members of this project have a lot of experience with marine environments, for those of us who don't (myself included), here is a fascinating introductory animated video on Sea Cucumbers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUA7MAlOok4

There are currently 80 observations on iNat of Holothuroidea recorded in SA. See them all here: 

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=6899&subview=grid&taxon_id=47720

Sea Cucumbers as a food? Dr Stephen Purcell, an Australian expert on Sea Cucumbers, in conjunction with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, has developed a guide for Pacific Island fishers processing sea cucumbers into 'beche-de-mer':

https://www.aciar.gov.au/file/81256/download?token=XqDl7ejx  (PDF download)

If anyone has knowledge/info on local Sea Cucumbers they'd like to share, please do so in the comments section below.

Thanks to Warwick (@warmoz) for suggesting this video.

Anotado en agosto 10, sábado 12:09 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de agosto de 2019

What is a ‘Verifiable Observation’ and how does it reach ‘Research Grade’?

For those members who are new to iNaturalist, below is a short primer on some terminology you will encounter when uploading and identifying observations.

This is intended as a brief introduction (with some broad generalizations). More detailed information can be found on the Help page and in the iNatForum:
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help
https://forum.inaturalist.org/

Data Sharing -

Observations uploaded to iNaturalist that reach ‘Research Grade’ are shared with various partners including the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) (https://www.ala.org.au/about-ala/). As such it is important that any records being shared are of the highest quality. The process below shows how iNaturalist works to ensure accuracy in their dataset.

‘Verifiable Observation’ -

This status is applied to any observation that is uploaded that contains a valid date, a location, has photo or sound, and isn’t of a captive/cultivate organism. Without any one of these vital pieces of information, an observation cannot reach Research Grade and is not shared with the ALA. However, such observations can still be uploaded to iNaturalist, and they will have a ‘Casual’ status.


‘Needs ID’ -

Observations that are ‘Verifiable’ begin life with ‘Needs ID’ status. From here the iNat community of experts and knowledgeable people can assist in identifying the organism. If enough people agree, the observation can reach a ‘Research Grade’ status.

‘Research Grade’ -

This status is achieved when a ‘Verifiable Observation’ has been reviewed and the community is in agreement on the ID. The observation will now be shared with the ALA and other iNat partners.


Data Accuracy -

Having an observation reach ‘Research Grade’ comes with a sense of achievement. However, it is not necessary, and not always appropriate, for an observations to reach a ‘Research Grade’. Many organisms simply cannot be identified to species with photographs alone and pushing these to ‘Research Grade’ may only result in inaccurate records being included in the ALA and other databases. Learn to be comfortable with ‘Needs ID’ and be patient. New experts and knowledgeable users join iNat regularly. I have had observations IDed by an expert after more than a year at ‘Needs ID’.


Confirming IDs -

A minimum of two agreeing IDs are required to reach ‘Research Grade’. The intent is that two experts or knowledgeable people must review the observation before it can become ‘Research Grade’. When confirming IDs using the ‘Agree’ button (particularly on your own observations), consider your own knowledge of the particular taxon. An identification confirms that you can confidently identify the organism yourself compared to any possible lookalikes.

There are a few reasons that an observation may stay at ‘Needs ID’:

- There may not be enough experts on that particular taxon currently using iNat
- It may not be possible to ID to species from photos for this organism
- Diagnostic features are not visible in the photos.


Photo Quality -

Pretty photos are great, but iNat is not concerned with your photography skills. Only that the photos provide the necessary evidence to help the community achieve a consensus on the identification. If you are not familiar with the species you are observing, taking photos of each feature of the organism can assist the community in identifying it.


Some Examples -

Poor quality photos can still be useful - My first photo of a Wedge-tailed Eagle was blurry and heavily cropped, but the tail shape is diagnostic for this bird at this location, so it was still able to reach ‘Research Grade’: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19191487

Unable to ID to species from photos – This Raven from Belair National Park is still identified only to Genus because these are difficult to ID to species even with good photos: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18534282 (See “The Trouble with Ravens”: http://birdlife.org.au/australian-birdlife/detail/the-trouble-with-ravens).

Even experts have their limits without a specimen to assess – With clear (but insufficient) photos this unusual Robberfly could only be IDed to Genus at best: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20723481

Hopefully the above has provided a little insight as to how observations are assessed. Any questions about this or other aspects of how iNaturalist works, please ask in the comments section below.

Anotado en agosto 06, martes 07:34 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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