07 de febrero de 2021

"Insect decline in the Anthropocene: Death by a thousand cuts"

Really important and interesting series of papers in PNAS:

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/2/e2023989118

And you can watch the presentations here: https://www.entsoc.org/insect-decline-anthropocene

"Nature is under siege. In the last 10,000 y the human population has grown from 1 million to 7.8 billion. Much of Earth’s arable lands are already in agriculture (1), millions of acres of tropical forest are cleared each year (2, 3), atmospheric CO2 levels are at their highest concentrations in more than 3 million y (4), and climates are erratically and steadily changing from pole to pole, triggering unprecedented droughts, fires, and floods across continents. Indeed, most biologists agree that the world has entered its sixth mass extinction event, the first since the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million y ago, when more than 80% of all species, including the nonavian dinosaurs, perished.

Ongoing losses have been clearly demonstrated for better-studied groups of organisms. Terrestrial vertebrate population sizes and ranges have contracted by one-third, and many mammals have experienced range declines of at least 80% over the last century (5). A 2019 assessment suggests that half of all amphibians are imperiled (2.5% of which have recently gone extinct) (6). Bird numbers across North America have fallen by 2.9 billion since 1970 (7). Prospects for the world’s coral reefs, beyond the middle of this century, could scarcely be more dire (8). A 2020 United Nations report estimated that more than a million species are in danger of extinction over the next few decades (9), but also see the more bridled assessments in refs. 10 and 11.

Although a flurry of reports has drawn attention to declines in insect abundance, biomass, species richness, and range sizes (e.g., refs. 12⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓–18; for reviews see refs. 19 and 20), whether the rates of declines for insects are on par with or exceed those for other groups remains unknown. There are still too little data to know how the steep insect declines reported for western Europe and California’s Central Valley—areas of high human density and activity—compare to population trends in sparsely populated regions and wildlands. Long-term species-level demographic data are meager from the tropics, where considerably more than half of the world’s insect species occur (21, 22). To consider the state of knowledge about the global status of insects, the Entomological Society of America hosted a symposium at their Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, in November 2019. The Society was motivated to do so by the many inquiries about the validity of claims of rapid insect decline that had been received in the months preceding the annual meeting and by the many discussions taking place among members. The entomological community was in need of a thorough review and the annual meeting provided a timely opportunity for sharing information.

The goal of the symposium was to assemble world experts on insect biodiversity and conservation and ask them to report on the state of knowledge of insect population trends. Speakers were asked to identify major data gaps, call attention to limitations of existing data, and evaluate principal stressors underlying declines, with one goal being to catalyze activities aimed at mitigating well-substantiated declines. All 11 talks were recorded and are available on the Entomological Society of America’s website, https://www.entsoc.org/insect-decline-anthropocene. Although this special PNAS volume is anchored to the St. Louis presentations, that effort is extended here to include new data, ideas, expanded literature reviews, and many additional coauthors."

Ingresado el 07 de febrero de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de enero de 2021

Rest in Peace -- Greg Lasley

Just got news that Greg Lasley, legendary iNaturalist and good friend, passed away this evening (30 Jan 2021). I will really miss Greg as many of you that knew him as well.

https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/17670-an-interview-with-greglasley

Ingresado el 31 de enero de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 23 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de enero de 2021

Back to ID'ing! :) Well... DFW area.

I had not done much ID'ing the past half year -- truth be told, I was a little burnt out from doing ID'ing after the city nature challenge. I know I'm not alone when I say that the growth of iNat can be a bit overwhelming. The growth is great, no doubt, but it's mighty hard to keep up!

Anyways, I'll be back to focusing on ID'ing -- mostly my local region (DFW metroplex).

We just past the 1 million mark for observations JUST in the DFW metroplex:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57484&subview=grid

I use this identify form to go through the observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=needs_id%2Cresearch&place_id=57484

If I miss your observations, or if you want me to take another look, don't forget to tag me @sambiology ! :)

Ingresado el 23 de enero de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de diciembre de 2020

Year in Review!!! You need to check out your stats!

Year in review is up! You've got to check it out:
https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/44876-year-in-review-2020
The iNat folks have obviously done a lot of work to put this together. Really interesting to see the data in these charts and graphs and stuff.

You can go to the bottom of the year in review of all of iNat:
https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2020

Then go to "view your 2020 stats."

So neat to see your year in review -- highly suggested! :)

Ingresado el 23 de diciembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de diciembre de 2020

Good news! The small park I frequent is doubling in size! :) Thanks, iNat!

iNaturalist may not be the sole reason for a purchase of land, but I think it adds some powerful fuel to an argument for the preservation of wild spaces!

In the far east side of Fort Worth, my home city, there's a park that I enjoy visiting called Cobblestone Trail Park. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=163142
It's relatively small -- about 25 acres, but the wild part of the park includes some really neat intact post oak forest. Recently, there was some interest from developers to...well... develop the 24 acres to the east. The City of Fort Worth purchased this land on Monday and will extend the area of the park! I can't wait to explore this section of extended post oak forest.

I wrote a letter to city council not for the advice of purchase but just to inform of the species that reside in the current area. So far, over 400 species that we've documented seek out this park as a refuge: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=163142&view=species
I know it was a lot of neighborhood interest and letters to keep this area wild, but I'm so grateful to have a tool like iNat to show others how important wild spaces are, and how much we seek out these areas to engage with nature. :)

If you find yourself on the east side of Fort Worth, you should visit this park! There is a trail on the north east side that takes you into the forest some more. :) I think it's similar to what the early settlers experienced, if just on a minute scale:

“I shall not easily forget the mortal toil, and the vexations of flesh and spirit, that we underwent occasionally, in our wanderings through the Cross Timber. It was like struggling through forests of cast iron,” Washington Irving writes in 1832
https://www.americanforests.org/magazine/article/cross-timbers-ancient-forest-americas-crossroads/

In the midst of bad news of 2020, here's something that I'm celebrating. :)

Ingresado el 03 de diciembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 27 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de noviembre de 2020

West TX iNat gathering -- April 16-19, 2021! Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area

So, gathering with fellow iNatters is one of my favorite things to do in life. I love doing a gathering each year too.

Last year was a bit smaller in the Panhandle, and this upcoming one will likely be a bit smaller too. It's important to watch the COVID numbers, especially in Texas:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Texas
The entire state may be completely shut down to travel by next April...

In case that it isn't completely shut down, perhaps we could gather over in West TX at Elephant Mountain WMA in April 16-19! Elephant Mountain is 23,000 acres, so there is plenty of area to 'spread out.'
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=7
Here's the place on iNat: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57408

I'm calling it a gathering rather than a bioblitz -- the data collection will happen as a by product, no doubt, but the more important aspect of this is the gathering. If you do come to gather, of course, let's mask up if you can't keep distant, especially at the black-lighting.

Alpine is the closest 'city' and there are some hotels there:
https://www.hotels.com/de1746170/hotels-alpine-texas/
No bunk house availability (and I don't want folks to gather inside) -- but camping should work for folks. I'll likely camp most of the days.

Not sure of a specific schedule or anything, but those are the dates that I'm planning on jumping over to west TX to hopefully gather with a few others! Anyways, mark the calendars if you're wanting to come!
April 16-19, 2021 at Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area!


Some asked questions....

Can we drive on the WMA?

So, this will be a special gathering, so we should be able to access many of the roads throughout the WMA. Now, there may be some spots that we won't access (big horned sheep area, perhaps).

Can we stay at bunkhouse?

Nope. We'll maybe set up some blacklights around it (and there is electricity there), but we won't stay in the bunkhouse. I don't want to put more than 1 person in a building during COVID. It'll all be outside. :)

Can my friends come?

Sure! Although, I do hope that folks that do come are at least willing/open to doing some iNatting with us all. :) I hope this is a celebration of iNat and the folks that enjoy iNatting -- although, we're a welcoming group, so if someone isn't an iNatter, hopefully he/she/they will be after this event!

Can we collect specimens?

Wellll.... I do have a permit, and specimens can be collected under my permit, but I'd really like to narrow down some physical collection of specimens. There are a few folks that have asked me about this already, and we've discussed it a bit in detail. Ideally, if specimens are collected, we want to make sure to leave a herbarium voucher or specimen voucher at the nearby university (Sul Ross).

Do I have to get a limited use permit to come?

You don't HAVE to (again, I'll be there and it'll be under my permit), buuuut I sure would love it if you do get a $12 limited use permit (or especially a hunting permit)!!! :) It does help the WMA. Even if you don't plan on hunting, it really does help the entire TPWD Wildlife program:
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/annual_public_hunting/

Why aren't you calling this a bioblitz?

Again, I want this mostly to be a gathering of naturalists to engage with nature. Sure, we'll collect some data, but that will be as a side-effect of the gathering. :)

Is this responsible to have a gathering during a pandemic?
I've had a few folks ask this, and it's genuinely a good question that we all need to take to heart. We will be playing this by ear, and I don't want anyone to feel any pressure or obligation to come if they don't feel comfortable to do so. There WILL be more of these in the future, so totally no frets if you can't make this one. I plan on wearing my mask throughout this gathering, and I'll pretty strongly enforce masks especially during the blacklighting when we'll be somewhat close together. I plan on going on quite a few times just by myself so I'll be able to keep a good distance from others. There are 23,000 acres, so hopefully we'll find some ways to keep at least 6 feet apart. :)

All of this to say that this gathering may be cancelled. The state may officially close the WMA entirely, even to outside TPWD folks (permit or not!). If that is the case, yep, we'll cancel this gathering and do it again when it's open and safe.
The pandemic is something that we should treat seriously, and I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable.

If you do have some concerns about this, please let me know (either here or on a message or whatever). We will do more of these, so if you're not able to make it, we WILL do it again. :)

Ingresado el 18 de noviembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 68 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de noviembre de 2020

"An Overview of Computer Vision in iNaturalist" - a good watch!

Just as an FYI -- Ken-ichi did a great presentation on some of the finer details of the computer vision of iNat. If you've got an hour of time, check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfbabznYFV0

Ingresado el 03 de noviembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de octubre de 2020

New life list feature!

So, I've been playing with the new life list feature. It's pretty cool! As with all new features, I'll have to play with it for a good while to get familiar with it.

One of the things I'm going to use the most is the "unobserved species" with the place filter. I can see the thousands of species that I've not yet seen, even in my home area!

Here are the nitty gritty details on the iNat blog:
https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/42454-a-new-kind-of-life-list

iNat gets better and better. :)

Ingresado el 28 de octubre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de octubre de 2020

An observation a day.... :)

So, some folks know that I've been trying my best to make at least one observation every day. This was inspired by @jmaughn , who has made daily observations for over the past 7 years! Well, I'm a couple years behind James, but for the past 2053 days, I've made at least one observation. Here's a fun "find your longest streak" program to see what yours might be:
https://mapsandapps.github.io/inat-streak/

So, why? Why in the heck would I do such a thing? It's sort of silly, right? Well, at first, it was just a challenge for myself. I won't lie, there are some miserably hot or miserably cold (believe it or not, we do get some cold icy days in TX!) where catching an observation was a challenge.

However, my reason for doing this has changed. Every day we interact with nature. I'm extremely lucky to live in an area where there are nearby parks or some green-ish roadsides to find some different plants or bugs. I'm also lucky to have relatively good health to walk around and search for things. Every day, I've been lucky enough to engage with some other species that are occupying the same space as I am. That's a cool thing!

And geez, I'm crazy lucky to be an urban wildlife biologist where I'm asked to know the local flora and fauna! Someone pinch me!

Like exercise, it feels better when you're doing it and afterwards. I definitely don't regret any day that I've been able to spend even a moment outside looking at/for nature. :) Being a plant and bug guy makes it a little easier -- these taxa are abundant in Texas!

Anyways, even if you're not making iNat observations, hopefully you're engaging with nature in some way, every day. :)

Ingresado el 22 de octubre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 14 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de septiembre de 2020

LLELA black-lighting on Friday, Sept 18th!

Hey friends,

We're planning to do some more black-lighting/mothing at LLELA on Friday, Sept 18th! Wanna come?!? Please let me know if you're planning on coming or want to come.

Also, make sure to wear a mask for this event -- there will be some UNT students joining us and we'll probably be doing a Facebook live vid or something.

I'm not exactly sure where we'll be meeting or the time yet, but as soon as I get that info I'll let yall know! :)

Ingresado el 11 de septiembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 24 comentarios | Deja un comentario