iNat projects!

Since I'm "between opportunities" as someone put it (thanks Brent) when introducing me at the FWNC&R BioBlitz, I've had a lot of time to think. Too much time really but that's not really worth elaborating on here. All of this time has been good for me in some ways though as I have gone deeper into what has been a passion of mine for years: dragonflies.

Not being pestered by a job to bolster a sense of purpose, self-worth or money, I've been free to spend the hottest hours at local parks, alone, immersed in the noises of crickets, birds and rustling leaves. It's been very peaceful for the fleeting moments I forget reality and my extreme disconnect with the lifestyles/society here.

Anyway, it's obvious I love watching dragonflies and trying to understand their lives and their interactions with others in their ecosystem. I have chosen some topics that have fascinated me for years but I have only been able to collect small amounts of observational and visual data on. As iNaturalist Projects seem extremely well-suited toward aggregating large amounts of information from various sources, I've made Projects revolving around those topics.

These topics are interesting enough to look at as individual cases even if there is not enough data yet to draw any hypotheses. Another point to note is that only data that is observed will ever show up here (obviously)--species with more secretive or reclusive habits (or that just exist where people with cameras are not) won't be available for analysis. There's no solution to this lack of data in any format, iNat or otherwise, but I wanted to acknowledge it. Still, though this is a makeshift, passive way of acquiring data I believe there can be value in both scientific and non-scientific ways, possibly including outreach.

But...I think that the observations compiled in many of these projects will at least be enough to spark interest in others or bring more attention to dragonflies in their habitats, as they are mostly "action shots" and humans seem to be drawn more to that sort of things (probably since they can relate to eating or fighting with other humans much more than standing still for nice lateral shots (that was a joke)).

I'll stop writing bullshit. Here are the projects. Feel free to join and submit any relevant observations. If you would like to be a "manager" or whatever to write journals concerning the topics, message me.

Odonata - anomalies
Odonata - as prey
Odonata - eating
Odonata - emerging complications
Odonata - inter/intraspecies aggression
Odonata - parasitism

There are definitely some other great topics that crowdsourcing would lend itself well to and we could add. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know. Thanks to those who have already contributed in different ways, notably, @beschwar, @sambiology and @greglasley.

Brian

Posted by briangooding briangooding, August 16, 2016 23:29

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Observer

briangooding

Date

August 10, 2016 11:37 AM CDT

Description

Asilidae

I had a fun time at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge BioBlitz yesterday with @sambiology, @brentano + Brenna, @nativefishnic, @griff, @hannalieb, @brenledbetter and whoever else I missed. Lots of people on iNat!

We didn't see a whole lot of dragonfly diversity and were in an extremely limited area due to the event sort of being a promo thing (we were probably not even out there for much more than an hour) but it was still fun.

Here's a list of what I saw yesterday in the way of dragonflies:

Anisoptera:
Celithemis eponina
Erythemis simplicicollis
Libellula incesta
L. luctuosa
Pachydiplax longipennis
Pantala hymenaea
P. flavescens
Perithemis tenera
Plathemis lydia

Zygoptera:
Ischnura ramburii

Some of the guys had spotted and got some nice photos of Macromia taeniolata on the island earlier, which I don't think has previously been seen there. Hopefully we can all go out soon and get some stuff in-hand.

Tags

Comments

Thumb

I think they're great projects! It's already changed what I'm looking for -- dragonflies as prey and dragonflies with food. :)

I'll especially keep looking for these things now. :)

Posted by sambiology almost 5 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Awesome! I'm glad you're interested.

Another good one is submerged oviposition. Oh...Sam I also need your help with something involving plants and dragonflies...remind me on Friday.

Posted by briangooding almost 5 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

And I will try to do a better job of adding appropriate records as well. You may be "between opportunities" and even though I'm not looking for "opportunities" and as a retired old geezer it may seem as if I have unlimited time for such things, I cringe at the thought of going through the thousands of records I've posted to see which ones might fit the various projects. I wish there was an easier way of doing it. I know you have found some of mine and undoubtedly will find others...it just is too tedious for my feeble brain to contemplate at the moment.

Posted by greglasley almost 5 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

I'll happily continue to add observations to these really interesting projects. It is really nice to see someone using iNat for this. I have not really dug into what/how folks are using iNat observations for research (even with the many limitations to the data), but it does seem that there should be a lot of ways to do so, and that's really one of the main reasons I observe; in the hopes that someone now or in the future will be able to use the information.

Even if nothing is obvious right now, I'm sure that patterns or interesting consistencies will start to emerge with more and more information collected, even if only for individual species or genera.

Posted by beschwar almost 5 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@greglasley it may be tedious to go through them for you but actually it's kind of nice for me--it takes me to a lot of different places I can't go right now and it's helpful for me to see multiple examples of different species I have little or no experience with. I've been adding a couple of fields to some different observations to hopefully help parse data once it grows. It's possible to export observations based on criteria/metadata fields into a spreadsheet and then manipulate the data or transfer it to something more powerful--this is where I think iNaturalist can be a boon for researchers.

@beschwar, glad you're on board! I agree the patterns/consistencies that may emerge could be extremely interesting. Invasive species (say, a plant) interaction with local species (possibly herbivorous insects) could be a good way to explore this. Unfortunately I don't have much knowledge in areas other than dragonflies but maybe @sambiology can recommend some good ideas. It's possible some areas may not have no research interest/funding currently but here the data can still be aggregated and, if IDs are correct and relevant metadata fields appended, possibly yield meaningful results. Or it could all be a fun waste of time. ;) Either way, I'm fine with trying.

Posted by briangooding almost 5 years ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments