October Kick-off - Mollusca with Friends

I was very fortunate to have the chance the start the month of October off with friends, both new and old, at one of my favorite "shelling" locations in San Diego. @susanhewitt was in town from New York and organized a get together with a few other SoCal people that are interested in Mollusca. @jannvendetti @cedric_lee @silversea_starsong joined Susan and me for a fun time along the coast.

It was great to get meet Jann, Cedric for the first time and re-meet James again. Each of them has helped me with or more life forms in the past.

It is always a learning experience when I get to spend time with Susan. And it is so much fun. He knowledge of the shells that are strewn along the beach is just amazing, and not only does she teach you how to figure out the species of the shell, but can provide the life history of them to. It makes finding a chuck of sculptured calcium carbonate so much fun.

Jann let me know how I can help her SLIME project with my observations here in the San Diego area. I look very much forward to doing this. She thanked me for my previous contributions to SLIME, but were it not for SLIME I am certain that I wouldn't have taken photos of just about every snail and slug that I encounter. I think I'm getting better with identifying them to species, but it isn't easy at all.

I am flabbergasted by the knowledge that Cedric that has gained in a relatively short time with the local Land Snails and Slugs (Order Stylommatophora). Plus he taught me trick to hopefully start finding some additional species on my own even though I will have no idea of what they. I bet I'll be typing "@cedric_lee " lot in the future.

James is very well rounded with interests all across the board. I'm not sure if he has a true specialty any longer as it seems he's venturing all over the place with flora and fauna, but it used to lady beetles and he is my go to source there.

This outing was a perfect example of how iNaturalist can bring together professional scientist with avid amateurs in the growing of Citizen Science. I urge all iNat users to meet with specialist, whether professional or amateur, whenever they get the chance. The fun times and knowledge gained during these outings is invaluable.

That you all for starting off my October on such a high note.

Anotado por finatic finatic, 03 de octubre de 2016 a las 03:59 PM


Pleasure meeting you again BJ! Hope we can organize something again some time.

I think me and @cedric_lee are secretly twins -- both of us have been extremely invested in the entire realm of fauna for most of our lives, but recently in the past couple of years we've each taken to specializing to a specific subject area. I've personally never been a true specialist, except as a birdwatcher in my early days.

Anotado por silversea_starsong hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Ah, BJ, thanks for this lovely journal post!

That was my first real Naturalist meet-up if you don't count the huge East Hartford Bioblitz that I attended, @berkshirenaturalist and I were the only mollusk people. That was really a great occasion too, but very hard work because the group of 180 scientists were trying to (and succeeded in) beating the world record species total for a bioblitz. :)

I may have to write my own journal post on this, but that will probably have to wait till I get back in NYC, as I am packing and doing last minute chores today, and leaving tomorrow morning.

Anotado por susanhewitt hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

@susanhewitt you realize that you just threw up a challenge for me, right? So, what is the world record species total for a bioblitz?

@pileated, do you think the NHC @ SDSU would be up for the challenge? I'll help organize it. @kueda, this would be awesome for iNaturalist if we could get all of the data entered in.

Anotado por finatic hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Regarding data, I think you'll find it pretty challenging to get scientists who don't already use iNat to enter their data on iNat. The CT Bioblitz, for all its merits, still hasn't posted the complete lists anywhere online, let alone on iNat, mostly because participating scientists have their own workflows and its hard to get 30+ scientists to just send you a spreadsheet, let along try an entirely new platform (see http://www.inaturalist.org/journal/reallifeecology/6430-connecticut-state-bioblitz). To date, the only bioblitzes that seem to have representative counts on iNat are the ones where iNat is the only way to participate, and/or the organizers recruit an army of people doing data entry (which usually means tons of photo-less observations transcribed from paper data sheets).

Anotado por kueda hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Yeah I've been to a few bioblitzes where scientists and collectors will take specimens, or even a large quantity of specimens, but never report back. They keep the data to themselves.

Anotado por silversea_starsong hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

I found this article.

algae 184
parasites 116
mollusks 25
bryophytes 74
lichens 36
birds 100
fish 29
herps 17
mammals 31
fungi 120
plant pathogens 49
arachnids 111
aquatic & other insects 87
hemiptera 87
beetles 320
diptera 183
hymenoptera 197
lepidoptera 442
vascular plants 557
Total 2765


Anotado por finatic hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

The previous record was around 2,500, but the East Hartford Bioblitz did not have the Guiness Book of Records people on hand to officially verify breaking the record.

And, actually... I believe that the bacteria people added another roughly 30,000 taxonomic units to that total!!!

The weather had been super dry for months, otherwise Jason and I would have been able to add more land gastropods. And although the freshwater habitats were nice, there was no marine habitats to bump up the mollusk total. And it was very difficult having just two people driving around all over the place in one car to try to records all the mollusks in 24 hours, including the ones that other groups came up with. We really needed at least 4 people for mollusks, even if two of them had been beginners.

We only did as well as we did because Jason had scoped out a few good areas the day before. And a Connecticut Conservation lady found several extra river mussel species that added to our total.

Anotado por susanhewitt hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

And yes, we were all so extremely busy that there was very little time to get iNat records up. And many of the scientists were very good but they were super busy and had no time or inclination to try to use iNaturalist.

Anotado por susanhewitt hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Adding to iNat after the fact would be totally understandable. Did everything have to be identified during the 24 hours? Or could specimens be worked on afterwards as long as a voucher was collected (photo or body) during the allotted time? I can't image they were able to key everything out in real time.

Bacteria is crazy. I bet we could find that many in the Tijuana River though. I just need to find the specialists to do it. I think making a run at the record could be possible here in San Diego in the right location with the right people involved.

Anotado por finatic hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Let us know! I'd take a train down to San Diego to see a few bacteria identified to species! (or their equivalent of species, anyhow).

Anotado por silversea_starsong hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

BJ, the list you cited was something I transcribed while people were calling out numbers at the end of the event (which included an all-nighter for a lot of people), just so we'd have a count. There's no single list of names behind those numbers, to my knowledge, i.e. as far as the world at large is concerned, we don't know what was observed at the event (except for the stuff that made it to iNat), we only know how many "species," where "species" almost certainly meant different things to different people (some people probably counted things they were pretty sure were unique but couldn't ID, others probably included putative or provisional species, even people within teams may have been using different concepts).

Anyway, all this is to say that a bioblitz can be a swell thing, but keep in mind that goals like breaking so-called records are a bit vaporous, and that it's sort of impossible to collect the maximum amount of data and add all that to iNat. If you're going to focus on stats, my preference is generally to base the stats exclusively on what's on iNat, which unfortunately excludes a lot of things that are hard or impossible to photograph and makes it a lot harder to get something like a solid number the day of the event, but at least provides a reasonable point of comparison. Maybe an even better approach would be to do something like an eBird count, an iNat count, and a sequencing count if you have microbial folks in the mix like we did in CT, or maybe split it up by species as reported (i.e. what people said they saw but can't prove) species as documented (with specimen or media evidence), and species as sequenced (since the number will vary wildly based on your sequence assembly methodology and sampling and isn't really comparable to observational data).

I'd also like to point out that just in terms of iNat data, the CT bioblitz probably was a record-breaker, possibly the most speciose 24-hour effort and almost certainly the most species / person. Now I'm feeling like I need to run some stats to prove that...

Anotado por kueda hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Yes, at the end of the 24 hour period we were required to say how many species we found, even if we did not have a confident species ID on one or more of them, as long as we were quite certain it was another species.

Anotado por susanhewitt hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Very interesting information. And a very odd way of coming up with a total count. For a legitimate bioblitz I would think that there would need to be some documentation to "count" a species, be it a photo, sound recording, computer printout from a sample. Also, assigning an species level ID could be done at a later time as long as the specimen or media were acquired during the specified time frame. And entering it into iNaturalist at a later time would obviously be fine.

Anotado por finatic hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

I've done a few BioBlitzs. Typically I am the only mollusk person. My goal has been to beat the herpers; sometimes they make it close :-)

The NHC@SDSU is doing another BioBlitz in the spring. I think @maierpa will be organizing it. I am not sure I will be around. I need to finish this dissertation and thus can't commit to extra-curricular activities right now. However, hopefully we get some rain this winter, for I want to collect some Pristiloma before I leave southern California.

Anotado por pileated hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Envy! What fun. :)

Anotado por sambiology hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

Of course, you're invited too @sambiology

Anotado por finatic hace mas de 5 años (Advertencia)

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