Things I'm working on

I am making this journal post to list a few observation fields and projects I am working on. I have spent a lot more time at home than I'd like because of Covid-19 so I've been trying to keep busy by adding observation fields and working on a few things, switching between them to not let it get too monotonous. Most things I'm doing involve looking through hundreds to thousands of observations so they can be pretty taxing after a while.

The first two things I mention have to do with observation fields I am adding to observations that are already on iNaturalist, mostly focusing on Miami-Dade County. You can only see and edit observation fields from the website and not the app, so that's important to consider if you want to see some of the data or help add observation fields. I think iNaturalist is pretty taxed with bandwidth so they haven't made it very easy to work with observation fields but there are still ways to see and use the data.

I uploaded a video to explain one of the main observation fields I'm working with for species/flower interactions, which you can watch here:

1) "Interaction-> Visited flower of" (Observation Field)
Video explaining this here:
This observation field is meant to show what flower the insect (or bird or bat or whatever else) is visiting. It can be tricky figuring out what the plant is but the result is seeing some species associations. I had originally been using the "nectar plant" observation field but spoke to a friend, Suzanne Kennedy who helped me realize it probably isn't the best option since it implies that the flower is serving as a nectar source for the insect/bird/bat/etc. visiting the flower when there may be something else going on. Many insects collect pollen rather than trying to get nectar, for example. She also reminded me that some plants have even evolved to trick insects into thinking they can get nectar but don't actually reward them for a visit. I looked through existing observation fields and figured one that simply mentions that the flower is being visited would be much more appropriate. Here are some common lawn weeds' with this observation field filled out. I mention some things to consider when viewing the data below the examples.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle frogfruit):

Bidens alba (spanish needles):
I have been adding the ID for this observation field as Bidens alba instead of Bidens pilosa because iNaturalist is apparently about to split Bidens pilosa and all of the Bidens down in South Florida is supposed to be Bidens alba instead of Bidens pilosa. It is going to be a pain in the butt to change all of the Bidens pilosa ID's to Bidens alba so I am just trying to do this so they don't need to be changed later.

Spermacoce verticillata (shrubby false buttonweed):

Richardia grandiflora (largeflower mexican clover):

Hamelia patens (firebush)-- not a weed but a commonly cultivated native:

Where I am as of Spetember 14th, 2020:
I went through all of the native bee and skipper observations in Miami-Dade County and added the "interaction->visited flower of" observation field to all of the ones showing interactions with flowers up to July 7th, 2020, I have also gone through all of the fly observations up to July 21st, 2020.

I started on the butterflies (not including skippers) and so far have gone through all of them uploaded before April 9th, 2020 in Miami-Dade. This is the link for me to pick up where I left off:

Also working on honey bees... Those uploaded before Feb 3rd 2019 have been added... to continue:

Separately working on Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies). I filtered out the bees since I had already been working on them. So far I'm up to February 14th, 2019. Link here:

This would leave beetles and moths and then other insects, which I will work on eventually:,47201,47822

2) "Eating" & "Eaten By" (Observation Fields)
The "eating" observation field is meant to show organisms eating other organisms and have the predator as the subject of the observation. The field is meant for what's being eaten. I'm thinking this can include things like insects nectaring but I am trying to focus on adding the observation fields to photos of organisms that are eating "prey" although I am also adding ones where fruit is being eaten. Examples:

Crab spiders:
Unlike the links I posted above, this link focuses on the search of a species and then has the "eating" observation field blank (see how it says "Eating=" and is blank at the end of the link?). This means it will show any observations that have the "eating" observation field, without requiring the eaten organism to be something in particular. This is different from the "nectaring plant" observation field examples I provided above where the organism search was blank and it was focusing on which organisms had that field filled out.

You can also search for observations in a similar way to the "Interaction->Flowers visited by" links above. For example, these observations show brown anoles being eaten.
^this number represents brown anoles
Whereas these observations show brown anoles eating something (like the crab spider link above):

The "eaten by" observation field shows observations that focused on prey and so the field says what is eating them.
Some examples:
Organisms eaten by alligators in Florida:

Organisms eaten by great egrets in Florida:

To do your own search for these observations, you can leave the "eating=" above blank and then search for an organism within an area or you can leave the search blank and add the organisms number after the "eating=" above. You need to look up the organisms' taxon number on iNaturalist and you can do that by typing in the species name in the search and then clicking about in the dropdown. You then copy paste the number and add it to the link. This is what I mean about this not being very user friendly but it is still very cool to see the data out there! Hopefully iNaturalist will eventually add a search filter for this... The limited amount of observations that show up with these fields will only get better as more observations have these observation fields added so please consider helping out with your own observations or adding them when you see observations that should have the fields added. It's also very beneficial to "fave" observations that are interesting or show predation because they will show up first when you look through observations in order of "faves." I have run into so many cool observations that didn't have any faves and it's a shame when they slip through the cracks as just another data point when they show something cool happening.

3) Bat Spectrograms (Project)
Most bats found in North America rely on echolocation to eat and to fly around. I still don't know much about bats but bought an "Echo Meter Touch 2" microphone from Wildlife Acoustics, which allows people to find and record bats using a smart phone or tablet. The mic hooks up to your device and then you can go out at night and find bats with the app associated to the microphone. It's a lot of fun and is a cool way to contribute citizen science data. I made a project on iNaturalist that collects these observations so I am always searching through the bat observations for spectrograms to add to the project. Here is the project:

Updated with observations made before January 8th to pick up where I left off:

I also made a youtube video for beginners to learn how to best post their recordings to iNaturalist:

4) Reefs of South Florida (Project)
This project focuses on organisms seen in reef habitats in South Florida & the Florida Keys... I try to go through observations in the "Some Reefs" place I created to see if anybody has added new observations in that area that aren't in the project.
This is the link I use to find observations in the "Some South Florida Reefs" place I created that haven't been added to the project:

It's up-to-date so far

5) Caterpillars of Florida (Project)
This project includes all observations of Lepidopterans (butterflies and moths) that are marked as "Larva" in the "Life stage" annotation section. These are a little easier to search through and it is also easier to add the annotation than the observation field. Because there are so many lepidopteran observations it can be difficult to not let this one pile up. I haven't touched them in a while but a lot of other users add the life stage annotations so this project grows pretty consistently.

6) Hole-in-the-Donut Restoration (Project)
This project includes all observations taken within places I have created on iNaturalist for the different Hole-in-the-Donut restoration areas. It's pretty tedious drawing the polygons and matching the HID res. areas so I've gotten lazy and haven't finished adding them. I think I still have at least five more to go. I worked many weekends from November-June in the HID and added many observations while I was working hence the large observation counts I have out there :-)

There are probably a few other things I am working on but this journal post will help me bit a bit more organized and hopefully a few people will read it and learn a little bit more about how many things can be done on iNaturalist! Feel free to message me or comment below if you have any questions!


Publicado por joemdo joemdo, 03 de julio de 2020


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