Homework from the Big Thicket “Mini” BioBlitz

I don’t know what was “mini” about it!

Making the observations and hanging out with all our iNat friends is the exquisite fun of a bioblitz. Now comes the hard part: the uploads and identifications and corrections and discussions and cussin’. It’s fun in it’s own way—what a tremendous learning experience even well after the field effort—but we all know it can be an intellectual, mental, and physical challenge. (I got in better shape by hiking around in the Big Thicket—despite @sambiology force-feeding me hotdogs; now I’m spending my time sitting at a computer for hours, (voluntarily) eating junk food and getting no exercise.)

So what is your routine like at this stage of a bioblitz? Here’s where I find myself: I sit in my home office surrounded by hundreds of books, with literally 20+ of the most relevant ones piled right at my elbow(s) for ready access. My desk is groaning from the weight of knowledge in print form. This includes, of course, such volumes as the Manual of Vascular Plants of Texas, the Flora of North Central Texas, the Flora of East Texas Vol. 1, Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Texas, wildflower guides, fern guides, butterfly guides, herp guides, grasshopper guides, along with other guides and checklists to just about everything under the sun.

Then there’s my computer desktop on which I keep open my own array of images (on iPhoto), documents such as Stuart Marcus’s moth list for Trinity River NWR, and a browser with at a minimum 8 or 10 tabs open simultaneously: (1) My Observations on iNat, (2) iNat Upload page, (3) Moth Photographer’s Group, (4) BugGuide, (5) Lepidopterist’s Seasonal Summary Query Page, (6) Barcode of Life Database (BOLD), (7) BONAP county maps, (8) Integrated Taxonomic Info System (ITIS), (9) USDA PLANTS Database, (10) Google Images (usually a couple of tabs for different things), Then there’s other online refs to open (e.g., pdf’s of obscure original literature, checklists of whatever, etc.). It’s information overload to revel in.

In the meantime, I’m burning my blacklights and MV bulb outside to see what else I can document on my own backporch.

Ain’t life as an iNaturalist grand!

Lähettänyt gcwarbler gcwarbler, 20. lokakuuta 2016 04:58

Havainnot

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

gcwarbler

Päivämäärä

Lokakuu 14, 2016 08:22 PM CDT

Kuvaus

One of the brightest little Pyraustine's that showed up at the mothing event for the BioBlitz.

Kommentit

I had a lot of fun at the bioblitz, too. However, I ended up with a swollen ankle and have been housebound all week. I've been sitting on my bed with a giant pile of books.

Lähettänyt cosmiccat noin 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

Be sure to use the species guide from the project page too:
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations?project_id=6820&place_id=any&verifiable=any&captive=any&view=species

You can modify it to "Asteraceae" or "Lepidoptera" -- granted, it's not perfect and I'm sure it'll need some corrections, but it's sure given me some guidance already.

I get a little overwhelmed as I'm uploading a bunch after a trip like this... however -- I am firm in my belief that it's ok to upload something with the aside of "will work on this ID later." I'm waiting for a really really icy winter for me to dig through these upmteen bazillion observations of mine that still need work. :)

I had such fun this past weekend -- wonderful to get to meet many other explorers and iNaturalisters. You should have eaten more hotdogs. That's all Elizabeth and I have eaten for 8 meals straight. ;)

Lähettänyt sambiology noin 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

Thanks for the post, Chuck! It makes me wonder, could we create some kind of group indoor event for uploading and/or identifying? An Idento-blitz? Would there be value in such a thing? Getting together and helping each other identify and/or upload observations? It could be a real meeting or virtual (skype, gotomeeting, etc.)

Lähettänyt mikaelb noin 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

Over a beer sometime, I'd like to hear how you're using BOLD. I'm assuming you're not running your own gene sequencing and then entering the sequences to search for a match. :-)

And on the topic of online resources, I just started investigating GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility). Looks very useful and powerful, though I'm still just learning my way around it.

Lähettänyt billdodd noin 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

@billdodd, I just bought a new pair of DNA-sequencing binoculars. Didn't you order a pair yet??

As an example with moths, when MPG or BG has few images (or only a single spread specimen), I'll often follow the link from the MPG page to the BOLD page for the same species. There, I browse through the array of pinned specimens (some spread, but often not). BOLD has both advantages and disadvantages. There are often many more specimens than are illustrated on MPG, but often they are unspread and many often appear to be quite worn, indicating they were probably taken in some type of moth trap left overnight or for more extended periods. BOLD simply offers a chance to see more variation in a species. Depending on how diverse a genus is and how tough the ID is, I will sometimes back up to the genus level on the BOLD page, then selectively wander through the list of species, clicking on each one to examine for other ID possibilities. Since BOLD covers (at least) all of the New World, including the tropics, this can be daunting for any genus that has dozens and dozens of tropical representatives, but nonetheless, it again offers a view of variation within a genus.

@mikaelb, Although I love to socialize with iNatters and Master Nats, I don't feel like group ID-ing would be efficient, at least for initial IDs. For me, identifying is a free-wheeling, wide-ranging (print and online) investigation and intellectual exercise that requires (of me) intense concentration. That said, I could see some utility in having some type of get-together to iron out tough challenging IDs. For instance, find a convenient quiet venue (e.g., not B-B Rover's), and everyone bring their laptop with a small set of their toughest challenges, such as 5 moths, 5 bugs, 5 plants, etc. Then have a roundhouse discussion and ID search among the participants. That I could get into.

Lähettänyt gcwarbler noin 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

Thanks Chuck! I see now. When I tried it out originally, I searched for Hexalectris which had no associated images. After I saw your response, I searched for a moth and saw the nice selection of images of pinned specimens.

Lähettänyt billdodd noin 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

I like your ideas Chuck! Or we could base gatherings on a group of taxa that are not getting ID'd frequently enough. And maybe find an expert to invite to increase the number of people who can identify them.

Lähettänyt mikaelb noin 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

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