Polytrichous Challenge Accepted

Next month I'm going to be attempting to put together a field ID guide for all North American plants I think look similar to Polytrichum. So mostly Polytrichum, Polytrichastrum, and maybe Pogonatum but not Atrichum. Every year I have people trying goad me into this crazy thing called NaNoWriMo where you're supposed to write an entire novel in one month. Of course whenever I have tried it I give up as soon as it comes time to actualy start writing something. But perhaps I can have more luck if I stick to something I care about like moss.

Trying to identify these mosses on iNat has been really frustrating. All the ones that don't have infolded leaf margins blur together so the best I can do is family. But then occasionally someone comes along and plops down Polytrichastrum ohioense and it makes me super jealous. It doesn't help that I haven't been able to find any of these mosses near where I live to study. Seriously, my state has 0 observations in Polytrichaceae right now even though it's quite possibly the most photogenic family of mosses out there.

But when I went to the Pacific Northwest I found lots of them of course, and have started to get a better grasp of the family while working on identifying them. And what better way to really master the subject than writing about it?

Writing may not be the best word for what I will be doing. What I want to make is a graphical guide. Something along the lines of the stuff at the Northern Forest Atlas or this blog post. I'm picturing a big grid showing side-by-side photos and stylized illustrations of each facet of the plant's anatomy. Perhaps several different examples to showcase the full range of morphotypes, like what diatoms.org does. I don't like the approach of writing out a whole separate thing for each species. You spend at least half the words when you do that comparing the species to others like it anyway. And I really don't like dichotomous keys (does anyone?). And I really, really hate attempting to use specimen-based keys for IDing photos on iNat. This sort of table is exactly the sort of thing I wish I had for every species.

A month might not be realistic considering I have no graphic design skills to speak of and also have to learn how to tell the species apart myself first, but I should at least be able to make some crappy version of it.

Anotado por zookanthos zookanthos, 27 de octubre de 2019 a las 10:51 AM


Great idea! Can't wait to see this.

Anotado por wdvanhem hace casi 3 años (Advertencia)

Love this idea! Personally, I find even a cobbled together version of things on power point or publisher can look plenty good enough. Looking forward to seeing the fruits of this endeavor.

Anotado por ewarden hace casi 3 años (Advertencia)

I'm late to reading but this resonates. Big time. So much this:

This sort of table is exactly the sort of thing I wish I had for every species

Anotado por woodillj hace 4 días (Advertencia)

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