Suggesting IDs and Observation highlights

Wow! What a great 5 days of being out observing nature!

I hope everyone found something exciting. I think my favorite observations were the spring ephemerals. I also found an Italian wall lizard, which was something I had not personally observed before! I'd love to hear what you all were most excited by. California Academy of Science would also like to know. If you have any particular observation that you think was remarkable, let me know! CAS is asking us to make a list so they can highlight them in their results press release.

The other thing we could use help with is identifications. There are quite a few unknowns that could be added to. I'll be working my way through them in the next two days, but any help is greatly appreciated! Special thanks to our top identifiers @tsn @susanhewitt @zihaowang @mickley @xyz @elaphrornis @curiousbynature @john8 @psweet. If anyone really wants to help with this task, let me know and I'll change your status in the project to 'curator'.

Thank you everyone!

Posted by klodonnell klodonnell, April 20, 2017 01:25

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For me the most exciting observations were Dolomedes albineus (as a southern species that's not acknowledged as being present in NYS by most sources, and NYC possibly having one of the northernmost populations) and live, fruiting Castanea dentata. Thank you for your hard work organizing this event!

Posted by er1kksen about 3 years ago (Flag)
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I would say the most exciting observation for me was finding a nice large valve of the estuarine (low-salinity) bivalve species the Atlantic Rangia -- Rangia cuneata -- on a beach facing the Harlem River on Ward's Island, part of Randall's Island Park. This species is native to the Gulf of Mexico, but it also occurs as an introduced species/invasive at several estuarine localities up the East Coast. It has previously been recorded from the estuary of the Hudson River as its furthest north occurrence, so this is not a range extension, but I thought it was very interesting nonetheless.

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5698011

I should point out that I had found several valves of the same species in the same place the week before:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5643962/edit

And that species was one of a number of marine mollusk species that I found on that beach, so that was all pretty amazing. The biodiversity of mollusks there is a good sign that the estuary is in pretty good shape now in terms of how clean it is of pollutants, compared with how it used to be.

Posted by susanhewitt about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Hi @klodonnell, when I add an identification to my observations the status of "Needs ID" remains. What should I do differently, if anything? (I'm adding IDs as localecologist and wspecoprojects, FYI.)

Posted by localecologist about 3 years ago (Flag)
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@localecologist , as another observer I think I can answer your question. That's OK, just leave it as is. The software will change the status of the observation to "Research Grade", once someone else agrees with you on the ID.

Posted by susanhewitt about 3 years ago (Flag)
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@er1kksen Those are really cool! We definitely did not find that spider during our 2015 Freshkills BioBlitz. Stay strong, Chestnut!

@susanhewitt That's great the biodiversity of mollusks is improving in the rivers around us.

@localecologist Susan is correct. Your own ID needs to be confirmed by another observer before the "Needs ID" gets dropped. If you're highly confident about your observation, I recommend you leave that as a note. I noticed that Susan has been doing that and it's very helpful.

Posted by klodonnell about 3 years ago (Flag)
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@klodonnell it's pretty restricted to one specific habitat, but maybe once Freshkills has had a half-century of tree growth on one of the hills it'll expand over that way! The purseweb spiders I added are also very habitat-restricted and are honestly even more exciting, as NYC's probable only mygalomorph, and without available documentation prior to this observation- except the species is still unclear from the specimens observed.

Posted by er1kksen about 3 years ago (Flag)
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About the Atlantic Rangia -- I discovered that the Hudson River clams may in fact be a relict population from the Pleistocene, rather than a re-introduction by humans from the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently the DNA is different enough from the GOM populations that the idea of relict populations may in fact be valid. Pretty cool!

Posted by susanhewitt about 3 years ago (Flag)
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@susanhewitt That is so cool! Thanks for sharing. I definitely want to keep an eye on your observations so that I can learn more about mollusks.

Posted by er1kksen about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Feel free, Erik! And ask me any questions you like! Unfortunately the soil in NYC is almost entirely acidic, so there are not an lot of land snail species, and most of the terrestrial snails and slugs in NYC are introduced species, but still I find them interesting. The marine mollusk fauna is not bad here though -- a pretty good biodiversity. I haven't had much of a chance to look at freshwater mollusk species in NYC. If you ever want to meet up we could do that, although right now I am off to the West Indies for 4 weeks.

Posted by susanhewitt about 3 years ago (Flag)
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That sounds like a fascinating trip. I'm actually hoping we might be able to pull together some NYC iNaturalist community meetups in the near future. A shore walk would be a great way to do that. Any input from anyone else reading this is very welcome! iNaturalist seems to lack a "group" or "discussion" feature, so I'm not sure how to go about organizing that.

Posted by er1kksen about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Fort Tilden, next to Jacob Riis Park on the Rockaway Peninsula, is a great place for a shore walk. But it does take me 2 hours to get there on the bus and subway.

Posted by susanhewitt about 3 years ago (Flag)
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I am totally down for an iNaturalist meet up! But you're right, there is no good contact feature really for things like that. You could try sending messages to all the top users, like I did for the CNC. You could also create a journal post and tag those same people in it. I know DC has done meet ups like that (see: http://www.inaturalist.org/journal/carrieseltzer/4556).

Posted by klodonnell about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Lots of bioblitzes and other meetup opportunities get posted here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/iNaturalistNewEnglandNewYork/

Kenichi Ueda has family in New Haven and we did a Christmas iNaturalist meet-up in CT a few years ago. I'd encourage the organization of these sorts of things.

Tagging people in a post isn't the most effective. Sending messages is a little better, but iNaturalist correspondence isn't well read by many people.

Posted by mickley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Thanks @klodonnell and @mickley , I've just requested to join the facebook group and I'm going to try to get something together in June, as that's the end of the busy work season for me, @susanhewitt should be back, and there should be lots of life to observe... I'll keep an eye out for anything anyone else might get together in the meantime!

Posted by er1kksen about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Yes, keep us posted. I'm close enough that I'd consider coming down to NYC if I had time. And @susanhewitt has come up here to CT.

Posted by mickley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Thanks @mickley. I had no idea about the FB group. I just joined it!

Posted by klodonnell about 3 years ago (Flag)
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I came up once to CT for a bioblitz, but it is a bit of a long haul for an old-timer like me.

Posted by susanhewitt about 3 years ago (Flag)

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