Päiväkirja-arkisto kohteelle helmikuu 2024

helmikuu 20, 2024

A Reminder and Baseline Numbers

Just a reminder that the identification marathon starts THIS Friday at 7 PM! I'll tag everyone at the end of this post, but I am thrilled that we have over 50 people already signed up for this project.

Also, this past weekend I noted some "baseline data" about how the Needs ID pile of New England and New York plant observations changed over the same time period as the coming ID-a-thon. I put "baseline data" in quotes because these numbers are just one snapshot in time, but they do give us some idea of the "usual" numbers of plant IDs that push observations to Research Grade or Casual over the course of a weekend.

So, at 7 PM this past Friday night, Feb. 16, there were 1,573,607 observations of plants in New England and New York that needed IDs. Those are all plants at all taxonomic levels. By 7 PM Sunday night, Feb. 18, there were 1,572,488 observations of plants in New England and New York that needed IDs. That's a decrease of 1,119 observations, a reduction in the overall Needs ID pile. Of course, there were also new plant observations being added over the weekend, but overall, the IDs out-weighed the additions. Note that this figure of 1,119 is a minimum number of plant IDs made over the weekend, because there were almost certainly IDs being made that didn't result in the observations moving out of the Needs ID pile - for example, an ID that moved an observation at the Kingdom level (Plantae) down to the genus level (say, Acer).

Can we make enough IDs during the marathon to reduce the Needs ID pile by more than this "baseline" of 1,119? Absolutely! Can we make more than 10 times that number? Maybe? Can we reduce the plant Needs ID pile by 1%, which is 15,000 to 16,000 IDs in just 48 hours? I don't know about that, but we can try! I'll be back tomorrow with a post on the various ways an observation can become Research Grade or Casual, but in the meantime, I'll tag everyone (not just project members) here one last time:

@acknaturenerd, @adamkohl, @agave6_tomwalker, @akilee, @albach, @alex_abair, @alex_iosipenko, @allisonbf, @amandammvt, @anaturalfocus, @animalview29, @annschunior, @apgarm, @arethusa, @astrobirder, @azik, @babs22, @bellakat224, @beniiiii, @berkshirenaturalist, @bethstandard, @bgaudubon, @billmac, @birderboy2015, @birders130, @birdleaves, @bkatzenberg, @bmvig, @bpagnier, @brothernorbert, @bryanconnolly, @bryanpfeiffer, @btk, @bugman1388, @carex, @carl291, @cbarron, @cbuelow45, @ceaustin, @ceiseman, @cesarcastillo, @cgbb2004, @charlie, @choess, @cobrien207, @conboy, @connormac, @crx2aj3, @cschorn, @csledge, @curiousbynature, @cypselurus, @danbotany87, @danielatha, @dani_lilienkamp, @danlharp, @davidenrique, @dawnvla, @ddubois2, @deb59, @deparia1950, @djolles, @djringer, @dogwoodvalley, @donlubin, @dorothy, @doug_mcgrady, @dysm, @edfuchs, @edgarallenhoopoe, @erica_arborea, @edropkin, @elacroix-carignan, @elaphrornis, @elizajsyh, @ellenjones6, @ellsp, @er1kksen, @er-birds, @ericpo1, @erikamitchell, @frousseu, @garymitchell, @goosiaczek, @gpalermo, @grantfessler, @grazing, @gtasaints, @guidobrusa, @hallm, @hcoste, @hollyyoung, @human_landfill, @hydrophilus, @ian_medeiros, @igor_kuzmin, @ikinahandcr, @irag, @jackcadwell, @jacksonfrost, @jasondombroskie, @jef, @jformanorth, @jholmes, @jimbo225, @jljones, @joedziewa, @josh_rudder, @jsolfrian, @judyasarkof, @julie_richburg1, @karenlombard, @karolina, @karro_frost, @katamamurray, @kcbowmanphd, @kebsearcy, @kellyfuerstenberg, @klodonnell, @kpmcfarland, @larixlaricina, @larry216, @lmtaylor, @lovescinow, @lpagano, @lythronax246, @mamiles, @margaretcurtin, @marvelliott, @maryah, @matthias55, @mattstanton, @mcharpentier, @mickicolbeck, @mikeakresh, @mjpapay, @mnerrie, @mohale, @mollyopsis, @moxiel, @mradik, @mtjones, @mugglelissa, @natemarchessault, @nebotany, @nick2524, @nmes, @nonenmac, @no6km, @nsharp, @ntepper, @nycnatureobserver, @origamilevi, @patswain, @peakaytea, @petersmj, @plbuttercup, @plnthunter22, @polemoniaceae, @polypody, @quietlymagical, @radbackedsalamander, @rcurran, @rdstevenson, @rherold, @rinaturalist, @robbieedun, @russ_cohen, @rynxs, @sadawolk, @sally_jacobson, @sengelbo, @shaunmichael, @slamonde, @smpierce, @smrozak, @someplant, @splnddfairywren, @spochron, @spritelink, @srall, @stephanieradner, @stevendaniel, @susanelliott, @susanhewitt, @tarpinian, @thomashulsey, @threepogonias, @tmurray74, @tomaszavada, @trscavo, @tsn, @vicki_l, @vickidoo, @wanderingeden, @wayne_fidler, @wdvanhem, @wefwef, @wernerehl, @williambee, @wnyjw, @wojciech, @wsweet321, @xris, @yayemaster, @zihaowang, @zitserm

Julkaistu helmikuu 20, 2024 01:55 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 18 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

helmikuu 21, 2024

Getting to Research Grade or Casual Status

In theory, every observation that's posted to iNaturalist should be able to be sorted into Research Grade or Casual eventually. In practice, that's hard to accomplish, for several reasons: There simply aren't enough identifiers who know the more difficult taxa like graminoids, green algae, and mosses. There simply aren't enough identifiers, period, to keep up with the flood of new observations coming in all the time (oh, the perils of iNat's success!). There's an understandable caution on the part of even highly experienced identifiers to make use of the "As Good As It Can Be" designation in the Data Quality Assessment. Many observers (I'm sure I'm among them) don't include the necessary characters for identification down to the species level on every observation. And there are probably other reasons I'm not remembering right now (like the limited number of hours in the day, come to think of it). Nonetheless, we persevere.

(An aside: If all this talk of Research Grade, Casual, Data Quality Assessment, etc., is new to you, please go read through iNaturalist's help documents on the topic, here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started and here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#identification . If you're still confused, don't feel stupid; there's quite a learning curve to iNat - please feel free to ask questions.)

In this post, I wanted to write about some of the details of Research Grade and Casual status, at least the details I know about. Please add comments about anything I've missed or mis-interpreted.

Research Grade
Here's the simplest way Research Grade works: An observer posts a good photo of, say, Queen Anne's Lace and identifies it as Queen Anne's Lace. An identifier comes along and agrees with the ID. The observation is now Research Grade as Queen Anne's Lace. I don't have any good way to measure how many plant observations are as simple as this, but my wild guess would be somewhere around half of all plant observations in New England and New York. At the beginning of our ID marathon, I'll post a link to all the plant observations in our region that are already at species level; if an identifier agrees - hooray! We've cleared an observation out of the giant Needs ID pile!

But life and iNat are not always that simple. Here are some other ways an observation can get to Research Grade:

The original observer might not ID their observation at all (iNat calls these Unknowns) or they might ID it as Plants or Dicots. Then it will take at least two identifiers to agree on a species ID to get it to Research Grade. You might be surprised at how often this scenario occurs; I think maybe new iNat users don't know to add an initial ID or, even more likely, they don't know what species they've photographed and are hoping iNat can help out.

Research Grade can actually apply to observations above species level, taxonomically speaking, as long as there's agreement at the sub-family level or below. For example, if I photograph a Sphagnum from three feet away (because I don't want to get my feet wet!) and someone agrees with my ID as Sphagnum, then if I or anyone else clicks the "As Good As It Can Be" button in the Data Quality Assessment, the observation goes to Research Grade at the genus level. I suppose that technically a real expert could ID the observation to some section of Sphagnum, but I'm perfectly happy leaving many of my Sphagnum observations at the genus level (unless I collect a specimen, for example). Now, I tend to be slightly ruthless in using this method, but if an observer makes a comment objecting to my applying the "As Good As It Can Be" label to their observation, I will quite happily un-click that button. Some of the situations in which I feel comfortable using this way to get observations to Research Grade are Sambucus (with no flowers, fruit, winter flower buds of Red-berried Elder, or pith color); Vincetoxicum (with no flowers); Oxalis (the yellow ones, with no flowers or fruit); and many Rubus, Crataegus, Viola, Sisyrinchium, etc. (with no flowers, fruit, or distinctive leaves).

This second path to Research Grade needs to be used cautiously and with lots of attention paid to field guides and your iNat notifications, but I think it's the best way to get many observations out of Needs ID and into Research Grade. Remember, just because an observation is Research Grade doesn't mean it can't be found again on iNaturalist; it will still be there for future corrections if, say, the taxonomy changes or some expert determines there really are easily distinguished characters that differentiate among look-alike species.

Casual is iNaturalist's label for a wide range of kinds of observations that can't make it to Research Grade. For example, if an observation has no date or location or photo/recording, it is automatically labeled as Casual by iNaturalist upon uploading.

Another frequent reason for an observation to become Casual is if the plant that's observed is cultivated. Many times, a new observer may not understand the need for them to mark their houseplant or garden plant as cultivated when they upload a photo, or perhaps they don't even know how to tell what's wild and what's cultivated (don't laugh; I ran into this frequently myself in Australia where many parks are planted with natives, in quite natural arrangements). So if an identifier finds an observation of a cultivated plant, they should ID it to the best of their ability (even if that's just Dicot) and mark it as cultivated.

In addition, iNaturalist will automatically mark as cultivated an observation where at least 80% of the observations of that species in the vicinity have been marked as cultivated. For example, I've noticed that Kousa Dogwoods in the Boston area are automatically labeled cultivated, once they are identified to the species level. (By the way, this automatic labeling can be reversed if the observer or an identifier marks the observation as wild in the Data Quality Assessment, so if you observe a plant like hostas seeding themselves into a natural area, you should leave a note to that effect on your observation and mark it wild in the DQA.)

Additionally, there are those plant observations that can't be identified below the family level. For example, sometimes an observer will post a lovely scenic shot of a distant mountain (and often they forget to provide an initial ID as well). The diligent identifier will see that there are, say, both deciduous and coniferous trees on that mountain, so they ID the observation as Vascular Plants. Another identifier comes along and agrees with that ID - AND they click the "As Good As It Can Be" button. The observation becomes Casual. This path to Casual also works for those very fuzzy photos where Dicot or even just Plants are as good as it's ever going to get.

Sometimes observers add photos of more than one species to one observation. Here, it's best to comment, saying the observer should break up the observation into separate species (I use this language: Hi! Your observation includes photos of multiple species. In iNaturalist, each observation should show one species. Could you split them up, so each species is its own observation? Here’s a tutorial showing how to do this: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-fix-your-observation-with-photos-of-multiple-species/15096 Thanks!). While waiting to see if the observer responds (I usually give them a month), the identifier can ID the observation down to the lowest level that covers all of the photos. If the observer never responds, which is often the case, another identifier can then agree with the first ID and mark the "As Good As It Can Be" button, sending the observation to Casual.

I hope this wordy post helps you navigate the bristly thickets of Research Grade and Casual on iNat. If not - and especially if I've made a mistake! - please comment or ask questions.

Julkaistu helmikuu 21, 2024 01:28 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 5 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

helmikuu 22, 2024

Efficient Identifying

With more than one and a half million observations of plants in New England and New York that currently need identifying, we will have to work hard this coming weekend to reach our goal of making a noticeable dent in this giant pile of Needs ID observations. So, in this post I'm going to give some hints for how to make IDs in time-efficient ways. If you have other suggestions, please add them in the comments below.

Here's the link to all the plant observations in New England and New York that we're working on this weekend: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339,48. That's the view in the Identify mode; here's the same information in the Explore mode, if you prefer to work from that: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=52339,48&quality_grade=needs_id&iconic_taxa=Plantae

No matter which mode you prefer, if you just start at the beginning and scroll through looking for plants you can ID, you're likely to get frustrated fairly quickly because it will feel like you can help maybe only 1 in 30 observations, if that. You might hit pages of leafless brown twigs, or microscopic photos of algae, or out-of-focus green stuff you're not even sure is a Vascular Plant. This is when you might feel the need to go fold laundry or vacuum the living room or something useless like that (hint: do all that today, before the ID-a-thon starts).

Instead, it helps to filter. For example, if you want to look at observations that are already at the species level and therefore might need just one more Agree click to reach Research Grade, you can select the Species level in the high and low Rank boxes in the Filters, like this: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339%2C48&hrank=species&lrank=species

For real efficiency, you can filter for just one species. Here's an example of filtering for White Meadowsweet, Spiraea alba: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339%2C48&taxon_id=126823 (more than 900 observations needing IDs!).

Or filter for a particular date or month. If going through more than 900 White Meadowsweet observations seems tedious, filter for White Meadowsweet observations made in June and July, when it's likely the plants are in bloom: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339%2C48&taxon_id=126823&month=6%2C7

If you're not sure how to filter for a group of observations you're interested in, let me know in a comment or message and I'll help you construct a filter that works. Poales on Mt. Washington in August? Marine algae around Long Island? Your particular town? We can get you there.

Tagging in Other Identifiers
Another way to move observations to Research Grade efficiently is to team up with each other by tagging, or mentioning, other active identifiers. This brings an observation to the attention of a second identifier quickly, rather than leaving it to chance and hoping someone comes along.

Here's an example of how that works: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/173820677. I filtered for the genus Epipactis and came upon an observation where the original observer chose the wrong species in the genus (a mis-click, perhaps? we all do that). Another identifier identified it as Epipactis helleborine, I agreed with that ID, and I mentioned @peakaytea in a comment. Peakaytea swiftly looked at the observation, agreed with the ID as E. helleborine, and the observation became Research Grade (thanks, Patti!).

So, if an observation needs just one more ID besides your own, please tag someone to come help. Feel free to tag me, although I'll warn you there are many plants I can't ID, and if you feel comfortable having other people tag you in, please mention that in a comment below.

Cultivated Plants
Filtering and tagging are two ways to move observations quickly to Research Grade, but on the other hand, you are likely to come across many, many observations of cultivated plants that are not labeled as Not Wild. Once they are labeled Not Wild, they become Casual and drop out of the Needs ID pile. iNaturalist prioritizes wild organisms, so cultivated plants and captive animals are Casual observations.

Particularly in April, May, and September, when biology teachers tend to assign iNat to their students, those students haven't quite grasped the concept of wild vs. cultivated, much less remembered to mark observations of garden plants as Not Wild. So, if you see a plant in a pot, or a street tree in its small square of earth, or a shrub or tree with a circle of mulch around it, please give it as best as an ID as you can can (even just Dicot) and mark it as cultivated.

If you're a gardener and know the common garden plants in our region, it can be productive to filter for, say, Delphinium or Tulipa, and look closely to see if the observations are of garden plants. This also works for university campuses and botanic gardens, as it's quite likely many of the larger plants in these sites were planted by humans. You could even filter for, say, the genera Rhododendron or Spiraea or Rosa and pick out the cultivated observations.

I hope these hints help you make the most of your time making IDs. Please add any hints you have in thew comments below.

Julkaistu helmikuu 22, 2024 02:22 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 7 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

An In-Person ID-a-thon Event

Laura (@quietlymagical) has very generously extended this invitation to everyone!

Open invite: Laura (@quietlymagical) is inviting any local iNat enthusiasts to an in-person ID-a-thon event at her home in Medford MA, Sunday Feb 25, 1-4pm. Feel free to drop in and out. Bring your laptop or smartphone, make some IDs, and meet some local naturalists! Wi-Fi, tea, snacks provided.

Comment here if you're interested, and Laura will message you her address.

Julkaistu helmikuu 22, 2024 04:04 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

Yet Another In-person Event!

I live too far away to take up @quietlymagical on her lovely invitation to gather at her house Sunday afternoon to make IDs together, so I decided to throw an event of my own in my own town. You are all hereby invited to join me Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24th, from 1 to 4 PM, at the Millers River Environmental Center, 110 Main St., Athol, MA. Bring your laptops or smartphones and help make identifications; we'll provide wi-fi and snacks. Thanks go to @davidhsmall for allowing this to happen at the center on short notice!

Julkaistu helmikuu 22, 2024 11:16 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

helmikuu 23, 2024

Making Sure Everyone Gets These Posts (I Hope)

Since there seems to be some concern that not all project members aren't receiving notifications of journal posts unless I tag them in the post, here I'm going to tag all the members (67 of you!) and link to the most recent journal posts, in the hope that everyone will see this. And I'll be back this evening with the very last pre-event post!

Post of Feb 21: Getting to Research Grade or Casual Status

Post of Feb. 22: Efficient Identifying

Post of Feb. 22: An In-person ID-a-thon Event (this one is in Medford, MA, on Sunday afternoon)

Post of Feb. 22: Yet Another In-person Event (this one is in Athol, MA, on Saturday afternoon, plus there's mention in the comments of people getting together at the Red Barn at Cornell in Ithaca, NY)

@apgarm, @babs22, @brothernorbert, @bryanconnolly, @carex, @cbuelow45, @ceaustin, @cgbb2004, @chr3951, @cobrien207, @conboy, @connormac, @cs16-levi, @curiousbynature, @dani_lilienkamp, @ddubois2, @donlubin, @edfuchs, @erica_arborea, @gak0, @hcoste, @ikinahandcr, @jackcadwell, @jackieschnurr, @jformanorth, @jljones, @jsolfrian, @karro_frost, @kathie13, @kellyfuerstenberg, @kennamae, @klodonnell, @kristishepler, @lmtaylor, @margaretcurtin, @maryah, @michaelnj, @mjpapay, @mohale, @mollyopsis, @natemarchessault, @nmes, @no6km, @nsharp, @nycnatureobserver, @olenah, @patswain, @peakaytea, @quietlymagical, @rinaturalist, @robbieedun, @russ_cohen, @slamonde, @splnddfairywren, @stephanieradner, @tarpinian, @tomaszavada, @trscavo, @tsn, @turtless, @vicki_l, @vickidoo, @wernerehl, @xris, @yayemaster, @zihaowang

Julkaistu helmikuu 23, 2024 06:45 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

Here We Go!

It is just a few minutes before 7 PM on Friday night. Our plant identification marathon is about to start!

Right now, there are 1,568,580 plant observations needing IDs in New England and New York. Our goal is to make a noticeable dent in this number in 48 hours. With 67 project members (!!), to reduce this Needs ID pile by 1% or 15,686, each of us only needs to make 235 or so IDs that move an observation to Research Grade or Casual (and there need to be no new plant observations). I think that's doable!

Here's a link to all of the plant observations needing IDs: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339,48. Ignore that iNat says New England in the Place box at the top of the grid of observations; the fact that place_id=52339,48 is in the URL means that this link includes both New England (52339) and New York (48).

I've added some observations to the project that seemed interesting to me (and were beyond my botanical skills). Have a look at them if you get a chance, and feel free to add others that might interest everyone.

I'll be back now and then with progress/cheerleading posts. In the meantime, enjoy yourselves, learn something, ask questions whenever you need to, remember to filter and tag others, and take a break now and then. And thank you so much for participating!

Julkaistu helmikuu 23, 2024 11:55 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

helmikuu 24, 2024

In Just 12 Hours

Overnight, the number of Needs ID plant observations has shrunk by just over 4,000 - that's amazing! Keep up the great work!

Julkaistu helmikuu 24, 2024 11:50 AP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

The Halfway Point - And I'm Astounded!

I had to check this number twice: just over 18,000 fewer plant Needs ID observations than when we started. WOW! That is MORE than I thought we could do in 48 hours, and here we've reached that goal in just 24 hours. You all do good work!

I hope you're enjoying yourselves and I hope you take a break now and then (Seriously, it's OK if you get 8 hours sleep tonight.) I'll be back in the morning with the 36-hour numbers, and then we'll push on to victory!

(Eighteen thousand. I can't believe it.)

Julkaistu helmikuu 24, 2024 11:55 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

helmikuu 25, 2024

Twelve Hours Left

Apparently, some of you never sleep, because the plant Needs ID pile is now down by just over 22,000 from where we started. I really can't believe it. Who wants to guess the ultimate number? Two percent of the pile? That's over 30,000! And who knows how many individual IDs we'd have to make to reach that!

But it's possible. Definitely within reach.

If you're getting a little bored with your usual identifying tactics, here are a few links for different ways to attack the pile.

At the Flowering Plants level: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339%2C48&taxon_id=47125&lrank=subphylum&hrank=subphylum

Pre-Mavericks: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339%2C48&project_id=156949

Anyone for the leftovers from last year's City Nature Challenge? https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339%2C48&project_id=146322

I spent part of yesterday checking Cultivated on observations from the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA, and the Smith College Botanic Garden in Northampton, MA. They are both beautiful places to visit, but probably 95% of the plants there are cultivated. So choose your favorite public garden or university campus and push observations to Casual, where appropriate.

Finally, if you enjoy wading through pages and pages of unidentifiable photos, you could look at mosses: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&place_id=52339%2C48&taxon_id=311249

Stay warm and have fun!

Julkaistu helmikuu 25, 2024 12:43 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 16 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti