Journal archives for October 2019

October 11, 2019

Curaçao - iNaturalist World Tour

Curaçao is the 109th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. Curaçao sits between Aruba and Bonaire in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. Here, top observers include visitors (e.g. @avocat @jasondombroskie @anudibranchmom @zahnerphoto @anthonysarkiss and @stanvrem), people doing research on the island (e.g. @wernerdegier studying symbiotic crustaceans) and people who live / have lived on Curaçao (e.g. @clifford and @patrickas). Somewhat unusually, 50% of the observations are from a project by California Academy of Sciences coral reef researcher @pimbongaerts which I'll describe at the end of this post.



While the number of observations per month has ticked up in recent years, the graph is dominated by @pimbongaerts field season in July of 2019.



West Indies bird expert @chrisharpe leads in bird IDs, @maractwin leads in fish IDs and @greenline leads in plant IDs. Other top identifiers include @adamwang. But the top identifier, leading in 'other animals' (in this case corals) is @ianespanol1 who was @pimbongaerts's Summer Systematics Institute at the California Academy of Sciences charged with identifying corals recorded during the field season.



@pimbongaerts (aka Pim Bongaerts) and @ianespanol1 (aka Ian X Espanol De La Cruz) are interested in conserving coral reefs. They used iNat to record and identify observations of 29 coral species from their field sites in Curaçao. Working with UC Santa Cruz researcher Collin Hurst, they used this data to train a coral classifier to explore if they could train the computer to recognize Caribbean coral species based on corallite-scale. Eventually, they hope to automate monitoring of coral biodiversity.

What can we do to get more people in Curaçao using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

@pimbongaerts @avocat @jasondombroskie @anudibranchmom @zahnerphoto @ianespanol1 @chrisharpe @adamwang @maractwin @greenline

We’ll be back tomorrow in the El Salvador!

Posted on October 11, 2019 22:26 by loarie loarie | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 04, 2019

Paraguay - iNaturalist World Tour

Paraguay is the 103rd stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. The top observer by a healthy margin is @jaykeller with observations around the capital of Asunción. Several other top observers such as @joaquinmovia (a volunteer at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural del Paraguay) and @emiliobuongermini (a biologist involved in an NGO dedicated to improve the knowledge of Paraguayan biodiversity) and @titolahaye. Other top observers such as @elacroix-carignan (a biology student at Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec), @rob21, @mfaucher have observations clustered around Loma Plata in the Paraguayan Chaco. @watarumatsunaga has observations clustered along the Paraná river border with Argentina and @ammartin's observations are in a great transect across the country. @alee4 doesn't appear on the map (which was crunched on Septermber 1st) but has many new observations in the southern half of the country and is now 10th on the observer leaderboard.

Paraguay es la parada 103 en el iNaturalist Tour Mundial. El observador superior por un margen saludable es @jaykeller con observaciones alrededor de la capital de Asunción. Varios otros observadores importantes como @joaquinmovia (voluntario en el Museo Nacional de Historia Natural del Paraguay) y @emiliobuongermini (biólogo involucrado en una ONG dedicada a mejorar el conocimiento de la biodiversidad paraguaya) y @titolahaye. Otros observadores principales como @elacroix-carignan (estudiante de biología en la Universidad de Sherbrooke en Quebec), @rob21, @mfaucher tienen observaciones agrupadas alrededor de Loma Plata en el Chaco paraguayo. @watarumatsunaga tiene observaciones agrupadas a lo largo de la frontera del río Paraná con Argentina y las observaciones de @ammartin se encuentran en un gran transecto en todo el país. @alee4 no aparece en el mapa (que fue procesado el 1 de septiembre) pero tiene muchas observaciones nuevas en la mitad sur del país y ahora es el décimo en la tabla de clasificación de observadores.



Observations seem to have ticked up in 2019. The peak in April 2017 was driven by @jaykeller while the peak in Jan-Mar 2019 was largely driven by @joaquinmovia, @elacroix-carignan, and @rob21.

Las observaciones parecen haber aumentado en 2019. El pico en abril 2017 fue impulsado por @jaykeller mientras que el pico en Enero-marzo de 2019 fue impulsado en gran medida por @joaquinmovia, @elacroix-carignan y @rob21.



@nicoolejnik from nearby Argentina is the top identifier and leads in birds, arachnids, and mollusks. Top observer @joaquinmovia leads in insect and plant IDs and top observer @emiliobuongermini leads in herp and mammal IDs. Thanks to other top identifiers such as @jbroadhead and @john8.

@nicoolejnik, de la vecina Argentina, es el principal identificador y es líder en aves, arácnidos y moluscos. El observador superior @joaquinmovia lidera en identificaciones de insectos y plantas y el observador superior @emiliobuongermini lidera en identificaciones de herpes y mamíferos. Gracias a otros identificadores principales como @jbroadhead y @john8.



What can we do to get more people in Paraguay using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

¿Qué podemos hacer para que más personas en Paraguay utilicen iNaturalist? Comparta sus pensamientos a continuación o en este hilo del foro.

@jaykeller @joaquinmovia @emiliobuongermini @elacroix-carignan @titolahaye @rob21 @watarumatsunaga @nicoolejnik @jbroadhead @john8

We’ll be back tomorrow in Saint Kitts and Nevis!

¡Volveremos mañana en Saint Kitts y Nevis!

Posted on October 04, 2019 23:48 by loarie loarie | 0 comments | Leave a comment

New Caledonia - iNaturalist World Tour

New Caledonia the 102nd stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. @lisa_bennett is the top observer and unusually has observations clustered on Ouvéa Island, one of the smaller Loyalty Islands. @harryrosenthal also has observations clustered on the Loyalty Islands. Most of the other top observers have observations on the largest island of Grande Terre. Many top observers such as @damienbr have observations clustered around the capital of Nouméa. Other top observers on Grande Terre include @vmoser,, @leonperrie, @jakob, @freddesmoulins, @lennarthud, @nataliemhowe, and @mazancourt.



The graph of observations per month shows an increasing since mid 2018.



@maractwin is the top identifier and leads in fish. @jakob leads in insects and @whimbrelbirder leads in birds, @phelsumas4life leads in other animals, @leonperrie leads in plants and @susanhewitt leads in mollusks. Thanks to other identifiers such as @rfoster.



What can we do to get more people in New Caledonia using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

@lisa_bennett @damienbr @leonperrie @vmoser @jakob @freddesmoulins @maractwin @whimbrelbirder @rfoster @phelsumas4life

We’ll be back tomorrow in Paraguay!

Posted on October 04, 2019 07:40 by loarie loarie | 4 comments | Leave a comment

October 27, 2019

Maldives - iNaturalist World Tour

We're in the Maldives for the 126th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. Again, apologies for the abbreviated World Tour post today as we continue to deal with power outages and evacuations in Northern California. The top 10 observers are @lovelyclemmy, @nakarb, @tictac, @chamaeleo, @nadyky, @missnarjess, @jim-anderson, @maractwin, @ktatum21, and @bobbyj2004.



Observations per month are still quite jagged but the background rate has inched up in the last year.



The top 5 identifiers are @maractwin, @jeyre, @tim_wilms, @clinton, and @joe_fish



What can we do to get more people in the Maldives using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below.

@lovelyclemmy @nakarb @tictac @chamaeleo @nadyky @maractwin @jeyre @tim_wilms @clinton @joe_fish

We’ll be back tomorrow in Guyana!

Posted on October 27, 2019 22:59 by loarie loarie | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 09, 2019

Cyprus - iNaturalist World Tour

Cyprus the 107th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. The political boundaries within the Island of Cyprus are controversial. First, Akrotiri and Dhekelia British Overseas Territories (mostly military bases) carved out of the island. Second, the northern half of the island is the defacto state of Northern Cyprus after Turkey invaded in 1983. GADM treats Northern Cyprus as a separate country even though it is only formally recognized by Turkey. Following GADM, Cyprus (officially the Republic of Cyprus) is the Island of Cyprus minus Akrotiri and Dhekelia and Northern Cyprus.

The top observer is botanist @danielcahen with observations clustered in the mountainous Platres region. @jakovosdemetriou, studying biology at the National and Kapodistrian University in nearby Athens, Greece has observations clustered along the west coast along with other top observers such as @denis_m, @luca63, @sandy_rae, @clamsdell, and @sandralamberts. @jurga_li has observations clustered along the southern coast along with @bogmyrtle and @purperlibel.



The graph of observations per month has been ramping up since 2018.



@ronf is the top identifier and leads in plant IDs. @johnascher leads in insects and @sammyboy2059 leads in birds and mammals. @jakovosdemetriou is both a top identifier and top observer. @cliygh-and-mia comes in 5th on the identifier leaderboard.



What can we do to get more people in Cyprus using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

@danielcahen @jakovosdemetriou @denis_m @luca63 @jurga_li @sandy_rae @ronf @sammyboy2059 @jakovosdemetriou @cliygh-and-mia @johnascher

We’ll be back tomorrow in the Uruguay!

Posted on October 09, 2019 05:03 by loarie loarie | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 20, 2019

Nigeria - iNaturalist World Tour

Nigeria is the 118th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. Despite having relatively few observations compared to other nearby countries like Benin
Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there appears to be a lot going on with iNaturalist in Nigeria. The top observer, @dotun55, is naturalist in Nigeria with observations clustered around the capital of Lagos in the southwestern part of the country along with other top observers such as @petersoroye. The second top observer, @agboola, runs an Nigerian NGO called the Environmental Resources Conservation Initiative and has observations clustered around the city of Jos in the center of the country. @agboola is working on a masters at University of Ibadan which is located just to the north of Lagos. Several other top observers such as @taiyeadeyanju, @restlessspaces, and @ddk_photos have observations clustered near the University of Ibadan. In the northern part of the country @abumuazu has observations clustered near Malumphashi and Katsina. @abumuazu was involved in the Kastani Flora project administered by @abubello associated with a Systematic Biology class at Umaru Musa Yardua University in Katsina. You can see the cluster of students participating in this project around Katsina near the northern border with Niger. Also in the northern part of the country, @a_s_ringim has observations clusterd around Dutse and @umarsalehgwani clustered around Bauchi. In the southeastern part of the country, @also_sprach_susscrofa has observations clustered around the Iko Esai Community Forests and you can see the cluster around Port Harcourt associated with the 2019 City Nature Challenge Port Harcourt organized by @epsi.



The number of observations per month ticked up in mid-2017 and has been relatively steady since then. The peak in October 2017 was from the Kastani Flora project mentioned above.



The top identifiers are the usual identifier champions for most of the African countries we've examined so far. @jakob leads overall and in all categories except plants, birds, and fungi. @cabintom is the second top insect identifier (along with @jakob), @marcoschmidtffm and @abumuazu lead in plants (check out @marcoschmidtffm's Flora of Africa project here and @johnnybirder leads in birds.



What can we do to get more people in Nigeria using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

@dotun55 @agboola @taiyeadeyanju @abumuazu @petersoroye @a_s_ringim @jakob @marcoschmidtffm @johnnybirder @cabintom

We’ll be back tomorrow in Suriname!

Posted on October 20, 2019 20:19 by loarie loarie | 3 comments | Leave a comment

October 10, 2019

Uruguay - iNaturalist World Tour

Uruguay is the 108th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. The top observer, @santiagomailhos, has observations are throughout Uruguay but most are clustered south of the city of Paysandú on the banks of Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina as are @cmbiancardi's observations. @pablobaldu has observations clustered near the capital of Montevideo and along this southeastern coast of the country. Many other top observers also have their observations clustered here such as @mirmeleon, a student at Facultad de Ciencias (Universidad de la República) in Montevideo, @leo_lagos, editor of the daily science section of Uruguay's newspaper, @phviny, @liuid, and @ori86. @liuid is doing a PhD studying bats at the University of La Plata (Argentina) and is currently based in southern Brazil. @joaco5 has observations clustered along border with Brazil near the city of Rivera. @roget, associated with Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina, has more observations across the Rio de La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina.



The graph of observations per month has been ramping up in 2019. Peaks in April 2019 and August 2019 were mostly driven by @santiagomailhos and @pablobaldu respectively.
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The top identifier is @rafatosi, a bird oriented Uruguayan biologist, who also leads in bird, mammal, and herp IDs. Top observer @mirmeleon is another local top identifier and leads in 'other animals'. Most of the other top identifiers are from nearby Argentina including @lrubio7 (who leads in insects & arachnids), @nicoolejnik (who leads in mollusks and fish), and @r-a-p.



What can we do to get more people in Uruguay using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

@santiagomailhos @pablobaldu @mirmeleon @joaco5 @leo_lagos @phviny @rafatosi @lrubio7 @nicoolejnik @r-a-p

We’ll be back tomorrow in the Curaçao!

Posted on October 10, 2019 07:45 by loarie loarie | 5 comments | Leave a comment

October 16, 2019

Angola - iNaturalist World Tour

Angola is the 114th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. The top observer is @rogerioferreira who is a resident of Angola with observations clustered around the capital of Luanda. Other top observers such as @luisquerido, @markuslilje, and @pecardoso also have observations clustered here. Along the southwest coast, @omateus, a paleontology professor, @andrew_hankey, @fmop_lages, @desertnaturalist have clusters of observations. Further inland, @alexanderr and @intotheokavango (associated with National Geographic Okavango expeditions), are clustered. Don't miss this Angolan Central Potto observed by @rogerioferreira that was recently the observation of the day.



the number of observations per month jumped up in 2017 to around 100-200 a month and has been holding more or less steady.



@jakob is the top identifier and leads in birds and mammals. @cabintom leads in insect IDs. @david_goyder who works on tropical African plant diversity at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew leads in plant IDs. Other top identifiers include @johnnybirder, @ldacosta, and @robert_taylor.



What can we do to get more people in Angola using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

@rogerioferreira @omateus @luisquerido @alexanderr @andrew_hankey @jakob @johnnybirder @cabintom @ldacosta @robert_taylor

We’ll be back tomorrow in the Montenegro!

Posted on October 16, 2019 17:42 by loarie loarie | 2 comments | Leave a comment

October 23, 2019

A Mexican Biologist Comes Across a Parasitic Fungus - Observation of the Week, 10/23/19

Our Observation of the Week is this parasitic fungus, seen in Mexico by @dianafr!

“I was always a very curious person,” says Diana Laura Fuentes de la Rosa, a biologist at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. That plus her professors who “shared with me their fascination and passion about all living things in the world” led her to study biology. Her main interests now are ecology and the conservation of terrestrial vertebrates. So of course, her observation of a fungus on an invertebrate is chosen as Observation of the Week. But the strangely beautiful tableau seen above was discovered while Diana was out looking for amphibians.

“When I was doing my field work in the Lacandona Jungle for my bachelor degree thesis I was just searching leaf litter frogs (genus Craugastor),” she recalls. “When suddenly I saw a strange larva in front of me on the forest floor. I picked it up, remembered my fungi lessons, and had no doubt on taking the picture.”

What she found was the larva of a scarab beetle that had been parasitized and killed by a fungus. There looks to be some disagreement on exactly which fungus this might be (if you know, please add an ID and comment!) but in general these fungi will attack a host animal and eventually sprout fruiting bodies (what we see here) out of the host, to spread more spores. Famously, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis parasitizes ants and changes their behavior so it can spread its spores.

“I mainly use iNaturalist to ease identification and register every species that crosses my way,” says Diana (above), “[and] I definitely think that iNaturalist changed my way to see our natural world. 

Since I became a member of this community I got into the habit of registering everything I see and I became more interested in plants, insects and fungi. Furthermore, I now think  that citizen science has surpassed our expectations of what it was capable of...it is a novel key tool for monitoring endangered, endemic and invasive species.

Some of Diana’s quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.


- BBC’s segment depicting Ophiocordyceps infecting ants is a classic.

- Fly death fungus is also a thing!

Posted on October 23, 2019 20:05 by tiwane tiwane | 3 comments | Leave a comment

October 02, 2019

Solomon Islands - iNaturalist World Tour

The Solomon Islands are the 100th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. Cheers to making it through 100 stops! The top observer by a very healthy margin is @maractwin who is an avid diver. Several other top observers such as @insequentways and @tonydiver also focus on the rich marine life the Solomon Islands have to offer. Many top observers such as @devonderaad, @isaacrush, and @juliasunnarborg have observations clustered in the Western Province. Its noteworthy that all of @juliasunnarborg's iNaturalist observations are from the Solomon Islands. Other top observers such as @jbecky and @vespadelus have observations clustered in the Guadalcanal Province. Don't miss this Observation of the Week post about a snail seen in the Solomon Islands by @vespadelus observed during biodiversity survey he was involved in. @plantcrazy007 uniquely has observations clustered in the Malaita Province. You can read more about @plantcrazy007 in this Observation of the Week post about a Land Planarian he found Solomon Islands while researching forest ethnobotany. @obinfiji, who works for BirdLife International on nearby Fiji, uniquely has observations clustered in the Rennell and Bellona Province.



The graph of observations per month is dominated by 3 visits by the prolific @maractwin in Dec 2014, Apr 2018 and May 2019. But if you ignore these peaks there appears to be some organic growth in 2019.



@kemper is the top identifier and also the top fish identifier. @isaacrush leads in bird IDs and
@phelsumas4life leads in 'other animals' (aka Solomon Island marine inverts). @glmory, @petdoc and @maractwin are also top identifiers.



What can we do to get more people in the Solomon Islands using iNaturalist? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread.

@maractwin @devonderaad @jbecky @isaacrush @insequentways @tonydiver @kemper @glmory @petdoc @phelsumas4life

We’ll be back tomorrow in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba!

Posted on October 02, 2019 06:09 by loarie loarie | 4 comments | Leave a comment