אפריל 03, 2021

Back into ID'ing -- a slow process (maybe just my computer though?)

I had taken a bit of a hiatus from ID'ing observations, but with the City Nature Challenge coming up soon, I really need to get back into it.

I've mentioned it before, but ID'ing observations (or tossing on comments) is the most welcoming thing we can do especially to new iNat users! It's a great way to share our knowledge and what we've learned to teach others. And yep, I've been wrong thousands and thousands of times, but each time I've learned from my errors (albeit, I still make some!). Because there are soooo many new observations, I've had to narrow down my geographic focus to DFW (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?place_id=57484).

Anyways, as I'm getting back into ID'ing, I'm noticing that it's taking a lot longer than usual. Are others experiencing this?

I'll click on "agree" or add in a new ID, and there's a pretty lengthy delay (the grey circle with rotating green) before the observation updates... It's highly likely that it's just on my end -- my internet's never been super fast and my computer is a bit slow to begin with...

Have you been experiencing this too?

Nonetheless, super important to add in some ID's! :)

פורסם ב אפריל 03, 2021 03:00 לפנה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 16 comments | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 24, 2021

Paper published using iNaturalist observations! Woo hoo!

Hey all! Fairly exciting -- Amanda Neill and I have published a paper using iNaturalist observations to document a 'new' species for the state. :) Here was the observation that sparked it all:
Keep an eye out for this little plant too. It's a winter annual here in north central TX, so take closer looks at those little mustards. :)

Pre-print of accepted manuscript, subject to final revision, copyright Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (https://www.brit.org/journal-botanical-research-institute-texas).
Intended citation: Neill, A.K. & S.R. Kieschnick. 2021. Noccaea perfoliata or Microthlaspi perfoliatum (Brassicaceae), new to the flora of Texas, U.S.A. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 15(1). NOTICE the volume/issue of 15(1) and not 14(2).


Amanda K. Neill Sam R. Kieschnick
Botanist-at-large DFW Urban Biologist
Krum, Texas, U.S.A. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
amanda.neill@gmail.com Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.


The nonnative plant species contentiously known as either Noccaea perfoliata or Microthlaspi perfoliatum is reported in Texas for the first time, with iNaturalist observations from Collin, Dallas, and Grayson counties.


Se reporta por primera vez para Texas con observaciones de iNaturalist de los condados de Collin, Dallas y Grayson, la especie de planta no-nativa conocida polémicamente como Noccaea perfoliata o Microthlaspi perfoliatum.

KEY WORDS: Noccaea, Microthlaspi, Coluteocarpeae, Brassicaceae, pennycress, adventive, nonnative, state record, Texas; iNaturalist.


The diminutive, herbaceous early-spring annual commonly known as claspleaf pennycress, perfoliate pennycress, or thoroughwort pennycress (Brassicaceae: Coluteocarpeae) is native to Europe, eastern Asia, and northern Africa (Al-Shehbaz 2010). Britton & Brown (1913) noted the plant’s early introduction to the western hemisphere in New York and Ontario; it is now a naturalized weed of roadsides and disturbed areas across a midsection of the eastern and central U.S., mainly from southern New England to the central Great Plains, with a few records from Washington and Idaho (iDigBio.org). The species has been recognized since the time of Linnaeus and is unquestionably distinct, but its generic placement has been tumultuous, resulting in confounding disagreement amongst currently authoritative nomenclatural resources. This creates a difficulty in crafting the appropriate announcement of its presence in the Texas flora, and compels us to discuss the nomenclatural history of the taxon prior to the details of its discovery in the state.


The species of note was long included in the large and unruly genus Thlaspi (as T. perfoliatum L.) in North American accounts (Payson 1926; Holmgren 1971; Rollins 1993). Based on morphological characters, Meyer (1973, 1979, 2003) split Thlaspi into 12 genera, using the species in question to typify the new genus Microthlaspi (as M. perfoliatum (L.) F.K. Mey.), while also resurrecting the genus Noccaea Moench. The next two decades produced a veritable spate of molecular phylogenetic studies (well-summarized by Koch and Mummenhoff (2001) and Koch and Al-Shehbaz (2004)) that asserted the unnaturalness of Thlaspi sensu lato and supported many of Meyer’s segregate generic concepts (including Noccaea), but brought into question the monophyly of Microthlaspi. In the Flora of North America (Al-Shehbaz 2010), this species was treated as the only representative of Microthlaspi, promulgating a position still held by some respected taxonomic resources (e.g., Brassibase (Koch et al. 2020)). However, Al-Shehbaz’s generic synopsis of Noccaea (2014) subsumed Microthlaspi and nine other Meyer-segregate genera and published the new combination Noccaea perfoliata (L.) Al-Shehbaz, a name now accepted by other authoritative resources (e.g., The Global Biodiversity Information Facility’s GBIF.org and Kew’s PlantsoftheWorldOnline.org). Recent tribal-scale phylogenetic studies have taken contrary (Ali et al. 2016) or equivocal (Özüdoğru et al. 2019) positions, with the latter calling for more comprehensive analyses, stating, “Although we lean, at least for now, toward supporting the position of Al-Shehbaz (2014) in accepting a broad concept for Noccaea, we believe that it may not be the final answer.”
For the purposes of this state record publication, we assert Noccaea perfoliata (L.) Al-Shehbaz is the correct name for this entity, following Al-Shehbaz (2014); however, as that name has not yet been consistently adopted across authoritative platforms, we retain the synonym Microthlaspi perfoliatum (L.) F.K. Mey. in our title, hoping to provide a fair chance to every reader and indexing service for discovery and recognition.


Claspleaf pennycress—under any of its scientific names—is absent from checklists and floras of Texas (Correll & Johnston 1970; Hatch et al. 1990; Jones et al. 1997; Diggs et al. 1999; Turner et al. 2003) and checklists of nonnative plant species in Texas (Nesom 2009; Aplaca 2010). Texas was not included in the range in Al-Shehbaz’s FNA treatment (2010) or the most recent multistate regional flora for the southeastern U.S. (Weakley 2020). Other than reproduction of the recent iNaturalist observation records we cite below in detail, the species has not been mapped as occurring in Texas by any authoritative species-mapping resource or herbarium portal, such as the PLANTS Database (USDA-NRCS 2021), BONAP.net (Kartesz 2015), iDigBio.org, Bison.USGS.gov, Explorer.Natureserve.org, EDDMaps.org, or PlantsoftheWorldOnline.org. The species has been recorded infrequently in the neighbor-states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana (Kartesz 2015; and according to digitized herbarium records in the TORCH and SERNEC herbarium portals), but these reported localities were not near the Texas border.
The recent appearance of claspleaf pennycress in Texas came to the attention of the first author (A.K.N.) while searching for uncommon taxon records on iNaturalist.org during Brassicaceae treatment research for the Illustrated Flora of East Texas, Vol II, in preparation by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) Press. iNaturalist is an immensely popular and well-curated global citizen-science biodiversity observation tool, with over 1.3 million users and more than 50 million documented observations of wild organisms (California Academy of Sciences 2020). Accessible online at iNaturalist.org or via a free stand-alone app, contribution is open to any registered user following the guidelines. Contributors document a record of organism occurrence by providing all the data one would typically expect to find on a natural history collection label, supported by one or more photographs of the organism in situ. Annotations are facilitated and encouraged; annotations in agreement can accrue to result in designation of a record’s quality as “research-grade,” and these records are shared with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF.org). Skilled amateur and professional biologists have enriched iNaturalist with high-quality observations including precise geolocalities and high-resolution photographs, and while these lack the physical permanence of a museum-deposited voucher, they can be linked to records of such, if a sample of the organism is simultaneously obtained. Most importantly, the born-digital observation can be immediately uploaded for research use, while a physical voucher may take weeks or years to be processed, accessioned, and digitized for remote examination.
In the pandemic years of 2020–2021, every digital observation and specimen gained additional value, allowing timely research to continue, remote from the restrictions and risks of the physical world. As former staff of BRIT-SMU-VDB, one of the larger herbaria in the United States, we are compelled to affirm that the responsible collection of physical vouchers will forever remain integral to the growth and value of natural history collections and should be highly encouraged—when legality, conservation status, and population size allow it. However, many unusual records would have been long-delayed in recognition and collection (e.g., Singhurst et al. 2020) if the traditional methods of documentation were the only acceptable methods . Urban species records in particular may be passed over by professional biologists, but these are being documented more frequently by citizen scientists—by an order of magnitude, for some charismatic organisms (Spear et al. 2017).
Claspleaf pennycress was apparently first observed in Texas on 31 Jan 2019 by the second author (S.R.K., who also identified the species; Figs. 1–2), in the north-central part of the state in Grayson Co.; this occurrence was documented with precise geocoordinates and several high-resolution images in iNaturalist, where observations are assigned a unique number that forms the last segment of the permanent URL, i.e., S.R.K.’s Grayson Co. observation is #20000793 and can be viewed at: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20000793. A second locality was documented by S.R.K. on 4 Mar 2020 in Collin Co. (iNaturalist observation 39559646) (Figs 3–5). A third observation was made by iNaturalist contributor Annika Lindqvist on 7 Mar 2020 in Dallas Co. (iNaturalist observation 39684417). The excellent quality and resolution of the images of entire plants, racemes, flowers, and maturing fruit on iNaturalist supporting these well-documented observations were sufficient for definitive determination as the fortunately-morphologically-distinctive Noccaea perfoliata (= Microthlaspi perfoliatum); Dr. Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz at MO viewed these records and provided his expert confirmation (pers. comm. to A.K.N.).

These observations hinted at the incipient naturalization of an adventive, exotic species in our state, providing the impetus to initially submit this note based on observations alone, unconfident in our ability to obtain reproductive vouchers of this ephemeral spring annual between the continuing COVID pandemic and the enthusiastic mowing schedules apparent at two of the localities. Thankfully, we were able to return to the Collin Co. location in Mar 2021 and obtain a set of specimens for distribution by BRIT-SMU-VDB.

Herbarium voucher: U.S.A. TEXAS. Collin Co.: Lavon, Mallard Park, W of TX-78, S of park/lake access road, just E of path to rest area, 33.048415°, -96.425459°, accuracy 2 m, large population in flower and fruit, on regularly mown roadbank, in full sun, on sandy soil; with Sherardia arvensis, Medicago, Oxalis, 12 Mar 2021, S.R. Kieschnick & A.K. Neill 1751 (BRIT); Sam Kieschnick (sambiology) iNaturalist observation 71085243 (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/71085243).

Digital vouchers [additional locality and habitat data interpreted by A.K.N. inserted in brackets]: U.S.A. TEXAS. Collin Co.: Lavon [Mallard Park], 33.048415°, -96.425459°, accuracy 6 m, [with Medicago, Trifolium, Anemone, Veronica], 4 Mar 2020, S.R. Kieschnick (sambiology) iNaturalist observation 39559646 (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39559646). Lavon [Mallard Park], 33.048415°, -96.425459°, accuracy 6 m, 5 Mar 2021, A.K. Neill (aneill) iNaturalist observation 71287992 (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/71287992).
Dallas Co.: Ferris [Parkinson Rd., S of Tenmile Creek], 32.563171°, -96.62362°, accuracy 6 m, 7 Mar 2020, Annika Lindqvist (annikaml) iNaturalist observation 39684417 (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39684417). Grayson Co.: Howe [Bicentennial Park, W of I-75, just S of southern baseball diamond], 33.51114°, -96.618564°, accuracy 4 m, [on regularly mown field, in full sun, at top of slope to adjacent creek drainage; with Sherardia arvensis, Soliva, other spring weeds], 31 Jan 2019, S.R. Kieschnick (sambiology) iNaturalist observation 20000793 (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20000793).

We encourage other botanists in the state, particularly in northeast Texas, to be alert for this species, and to document any additional populations with herbarium vouchers and concurrent iNaturalist observations. Herbarium searches may uncover other records in the state. Specimens might be misidentified as Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. or Thlaspi arvense L., due to similarities in winter-annual habit, clasping-auriculate stem leaves, flattened obcordate silicles with winged margins, and white corollas less than 5 mm long. Capsella bursa-pastoris is stellate-pubescent, with basal leaves pinnately lobed or runcinate, and cuneate fruit bases, whereas N. perfoliata is nearly glabrous, with basal leaves obtusely dentate or entire, and obtuse fruit bases. Thlaspi arvense fruits are held perpendicularly, and have wide marginal wings (3.5–5 mm wide near apex) and a narrow, deep apical notch (to 5 mm deep), and the seed coats are concentrically striate, but N. perfoliata fruits are held more horizontally, and have narrower wings (1–2 mm wide near apex) and a wider, shallower apical notch (1–1.5 mm deep), and the seed coats are smooth. Noccaea perfoliata also tends to be half the size of either of those species, with stems typically less than 40 cm tall. A description follows, based on Al-Shehbaz (2010).

Description.—Noccaea perfoliata (L.) Al-Shehbaz (= Microthlaspi perfoliatum (L.) F.K. Mey.) (Figs. 1–5). Plants diminutive, herbaceous, winter annuals; glabrous and glaucous; stems to 28(–40) cm, often purple-tinged, sometimes branching; basal leaves in a loose rosette (some withered by fruiting), petiolate, blades elliptic to ovate, to 2(–2.7) cm long, apex rounded, margins entire or remotely and obtusely dentate; stem leaves alternate, sessile, ovate-cordate, to 4(–5.5) cm long, margins entire to repand or with a few obtuse teeth, bases auricled and strongly cordate-clasping (amplexicaul); racemes corymbose, several-flowered, considerably elongated in fruit; sepals 4, green with white margins, apices often pinkish or purplish; petals 4, white, 2–3.5(–4.7) mm long × 0.5–1.3 mm wide, spatulate to oblanceolate, claw obscure; stamens 6, slightly tetradynamous; fruiting pedicels slender, 2.5–8 mm long, spreading or horizontal; fruits silicles, dehiscent, sessile (lacking a gynophore), obcordate, 3–6.5(–8) mm long × (2.5–)3–6(–7) mm wide, strongly flattened perpendicular to the replum separating the two locules, the midline (valve) keeled, marginal wings narrow basally increasing to 1–2 mm wide near fruit apex, apical notch 1–1.5 mm deep; style obsolete or to 0.3 mm long, stigma capitate; ovules 4–8 per ovary; seeds ovoid, smooth, yellowish, unwinged, mucilaginous when wetted. Flowering Jan–Mar (in Texas).


The documentation of an adventive, annual, exotic weed in Texas seems an inconsequential thing amid the existential turmoil of the COVID pandemic, and it feels strange to focus on the communication of this minor botanical drama. This little plant is not generally considered noxious in North America, and is unlikely to have major economic impacts if it should naturalize in Texas; it merely joins the huge cohort of other European springtime annuals and biennials that thrive on disturbed ground and grassy, weedy roadsides—species that infrequently displace or crowd out any native plants in those already completely unnatural environments. As we consider the ease of weed propagule dispersal, we are now witnesses to the worldwide dispersal of the most noxious organism of our lifetimes. While the documentation of the SARS-CoV2 invasion is appropriately prolific, the record of it should be immortalized in all our rhetoric, perhaps especially in the typically dispassionate documentation of natural history—perhaps the only news we will still re-read, hundreds of years after it is written.


We sincerely thank Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz for confirming the species determination and reviewing a draft of this manuscript, and for his heroic research untangling the mysteries of the mustard family. We are grateful for the organizations and funding sources that support iNaturalist.org, and thank all the citizen scientists contributing valuable observations of Texas plants. We appreciate helpful manuscript reviews from Jason Singhurst and David Lemke. Finally, we can hardly express our gratitude to all those who labored collaboratively for decades to create the standards, tools, and portals that now allow us to reap the benefits of digitized natural history collections and associated literature.


AL-SHEHBAZ, I.A. 2010. Microthlaspi. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. Fl. North Amer. 7:599–600. Oxford Univ. Press, New York and Oxford. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=314393
AL-SHEHBAZ, I.A. 2014. A synopsis of the genus Noccaea (Coluteocarpeae, Brassicaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 19(1):25–51. https://huh.harvard.edu/files/herbaria/files/19_1_25_al-shehbaz.pdf
ALI, T., A. SCHMUKER, F. RUNGE, I. SOLOVYEVA, L. NIGRELLI, J. PAULE, A.K. BUCH, X. XIA, S. PLOCH, O. ORREN, & V. KUMMER. 2016. Morphology, phylogeny, and taxonomy of Microthlaspi (Brassicaceae: Coluteocarpeae) and related genera. Taxon 65(1):79–98. doi:10.12705/651.6
APLACA, J. 2010. The non-native flora of Texas. Thesis, Dept. of Biology, Texas State Univ., San Marcos. https://digital.library.txstate.edu/handle/10877/3149
BRITTON, N.L. & A. BROWN. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States: Canada and the British Possessions from Newfoundland to the parallel of the southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102d meridian, 2nd Ed. (Vol. 2). Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. 2020. Global nature observation network iNaturalist surpasses 50 million wild plant and animal observations. https://www.calacademy.org/press/releases/inaturalist-50-million.
CORRELL, D.S. & M.C. JOHNSTON. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation, Renner.
DIGGS, G.M., B.L. LIPSCOMB, & R.J. O’KENNON. 1999. Shinners and Mahler’s Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas. Sida Bot. Misc. 16. Botanical Research Institute of Texas Press, Fort Worth, Texas.
HATCH, S.L. K.N. GANDHI, & L.E. BROWN. 1990. Checklist of the vascular plants of Texas. Texas Agric. Exp. Sta. Misc. Publ. 1655:1–158.
HOLMGREN, P.K. 1971. A biosystematic study of North American Thlaspi montanum and its allies. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 21:1–106.
INATURALIST.ORG. 2021. The California Academy of Sciences. http://www.inaturalist.org/. Accessed Mar 2021.
JONES, S.D., J.K. WIPFF, & P.M. MONTGOMERY. 1997. Vascular plants of Texas: A comprehensive checklist including synonymy, bibliography, and index. Univ. of Texas Press, Austin.
KARTESZ, J.T. 2015. The Biota of North America Program (BONAP) Taxonomic Data Center. Chapel Hill, N.C. [Maps generated from Kartesz, J.T. 2015–onward. Floristic Synthesis of North America, Biota of North America Program (BONAP)]. http://www.bonap.net/tdc. Accessed Mar 2021.
KOCH, M. & I.A. AL-SHEHBAZ. 2004. Taxonomic and phylogenetic evaluation of the American “Thlaspi” species: Identity and relationship to the Eurasian genus Noccaea (Brassicaceae). Syst. Bot. 29(2):375–384. doi: 10.1600/036364404774195566
KOCH, M. & K. MUMMENHOFF. 2001. Thlaspi s. str. (Brassicaceae) versus Thlaspi s. l.: morphological and taxonomical characters in the light of ITS nrDNA sequence data. Plant Syst. Evol. 227:209–225. doi: 10.1007/s006060170049
KOCH, M.A., M. KIEFER, D.A. GERMAN, I.A. AL-SHEHBAZ, A. FRANZKE, K. MUMMENHOFF, & R. SCHMICKL. 2020. BrassiBase: Tools and biological resources for Brassicaceae character and trait studies—version 1.3. University of Heidelberg, Germany. http://brassibase.cos.uni-heidelberg.de/. Accessed Mar 2021.
MEYER, F.K. 1973. Conspectus der “Thlaspi”—Arten Europas, Afrikas und Vorderasiens. Feddes Repert. 84:449–470. doi: 10.1002/fedr.19730840503
MEYER, F.K. 1979. Kritische Revision der “Thlaspi”—Arten Europas, Afrikas und Vorderasiens, I. Geschichte, Morphologie und Chorologie. Feddes Repert. 90:129–154. doi: 10.1002/fedr.19790900302
MEYER, F.K. 2003. Kritische Revision der “Thlaspi”—Arten Europas, Afrikas und Vorderasiens, Spezieller Teil, III. Microthlaspi FK Mey. Haussknechtia 9:3–59. https://www.zobodat.at/pdf/Haussknechtia_9_2003_0003-0059.pdf
NESOM, G.L. 2009. Assessment of invasiveness and ecological impact in non-native plants of Texas. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 3(2):971–991. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41971892
ÖZÜDOĞRU, B., K. ÖZGIŞI, B. TARIKAHYA-HACIOĞLU, A. OCAK, K. MUMMENHOFF & I.A. AL-SHEHBAZ. 2019. Phylogeny of the genus Noccaea (Brassicaceae) and a critical review of its generic circumscription. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 104(3):339–354. doi: 10.3417/2019347
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SINGHURST, J.R., J.N. MINK, & W.C. HOLMES. 2020. Eulophia graminea (Orchidaceae) naturalized in Texas. Phytoneuron 2020-22: 1–5. http://www.phytoneuron.net/2020Phytoneuron/22PhytoN-Eulophiagraminea.pdf
SPEAR, D.M., G.B. PAULY, & K. KAISER. 2017. Citizen science as a tool for augmenting museum collection data from urban areas. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5:86. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2017.00086/full
TURNER, B.L., H. NICHOLS, G. DENNY, & O. DORON. 2003. Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas, Vol. 1: Dicots. Sida Bot. Misc. 24. Botanical Research Institute of Texas Press, Fort Worth, Texas.
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Fig. 1. Claspleaf pennycress in Grayson Co., Texas, on 2019-01-31: petiolate rosette leaves and early inflorescence (photo by Sam Kieschnick; iNaturalist observation 20000793).

Fig. 2. Claspleaf pennycress in Grayson Co., Texas, on 2019-01-31: inflorescence with immature fruits (photo by Sam Kieschnick; iNaturalist observation 20000793).

Fig. 3. Claspleaf pennycress in Collin Co., Texas, on 2020-03-04: petiolate basal leaves and cordate-clasping (amplexicaul) stem leaves (photo by Sam Kieschnick; iNaturalist observation 39559646).

Fig. 4. Claspleaf pennycress in Collin Co., Texas, on 2020-03-04: cordate-clasping stem leaves and lower raceme with maturing fruits (photo by Sam Kieschnick; iNaturalist observation 39559646).

Fig. 5. Claspleaf pennycress in Collin Co., Texas, on 2020-03-04: inflorescence with immature fruits (photo by Sam Kieschnick; iNaturalist observation 39559646).

פורסם ב מרץ 24, 2021 07:21 אחה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 15 comments | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 23, 2021

Mothing at Mockingbird Nature Park! April 30! (not a public event, but open to iNatters/moth-ers)

Hey all!

So, most public bioblitzes are still wisely being postponed or cancelled, and it's a bit of a bummer... buuuut, if you want to gather with some fellow moth-ers, we're planning a little mothing at Mockingbird Nature Park on the first day of the city nature challenge! This will be on Friday, April 30th. Big time thanks to @cgritz for the contacts to allow us to do this.

Now, let's still do this wisely -- have your mask with you at all times. Wear it when you're close to others. Stay some distance from other folks. This is just smart and kind to do, so let's do it.

Who can come? Well, anyone! However, we don't want to promote it as a public event -- this is more of a 'gathering of moth-ers.' :)

If you don't feel comfortable coming, totally no problem -- I promise that we'll be able to do more of these in the future!

Again, Friday, April 30th, Mockingbird Nature Park in Midlothian (https://www.midlothian.tx.us/facilities/facility/details/Mockingbird-Nature-Park-10). If you have some moth gear, bring it! I don't think we'll have access to electricity, which is fine -- I've got some portable batteries to run about 7 stations myself! But if you have some gear, bring it!

If you have questions or concerns, please toss up a comment or send me a message. Thanks!

פורסם ב מרץ 23, 2021 09:13 אחה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 21 comments | הוספת תגובה

פברואר 07, 2021

"Insect decline in the Anthropocene: Death by a thousand cuts"

Really important and interesting series of papers in PNAS:


And you can watch the presentations here: https://www.entsoc.org/insect-decline-anthropocene

"Nature is under siege. In the last 10,000 y the human population has grown from 1 million to 7.8 billion. Much of Earth’s arable lands are already in agriculture (1), millions of acres of tropical forest are cleared each year (2, 3), atmospheric CO2 levels are at their highest concentrations in more than 3 million y (4), and climates are erratically and steadily changing from pole to pole, triggering unprecedented droughts, fires, and floods across continents. Indeed, most biologists agree that the world has entered its sixth mass extinction event, the first since the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million y ago, when more than 80% of all species, including the nonavian dinosaurs, perished.

Ongoing losses have been clearly demonstrated for better-studied groups of organisms. Terrestrial vertebrate population sizes and ranges have contracted by one-third, and many mammals have experienced range declines of at least 80% over the last century (5). A 2019 assessment suggests that half of all amphibians are imperiled (2.5% of which have recently gone extinct) (6). Bird numbers across North America have fallen by 2.9 billion since 1970 (7). Prospects for the world’s coral reefs, beyond the middle of this century, could scarcely be more dire (8). A 2020 United Nations report estimated that more than a million species are in danger of extinction over the next few decades (9), but also see the more bridled assessments in refs. 10 and 11.

Although a flurry of reports has drawn attention to declines in insect abundance, biomass, species richness, and range sizes (e.g., refs. 12⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓–18; for reviews see refs. 19 and 20), whether the rates of declines for insects are on par with or exceed those for other groups remains unknown. There are still too little data to know how the steep insect declines reported for western Europe and California’s Central Valley—areas of high human density and activity—compare to population trends in sparsely populated regions and wildlands. Long-term species-level demographic data are meager from the tropics, where considerably more than half of the world’s insect species occur (21, 22). To consider the state of knowledge about the global status of insects, the Entomological Society of America hosted a symposium at their Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, in November 2019. The Society was motivated to do so by the many inquiries about the validity of claims of rapid insect decline that had been received in the months preceding the annual meeting and by the many discussions taking place among members. The entomological community was in need of a thorough review and the annual meeting provided a timely opportunity for sharing information.

The goal of the symposium was to assemble world experts on insect biodiversity and conservation and ask them to report on the state of knowledge of insect population trends. Speakers were asked to identify major data gaps, call attention to limitations of existing data, and evaluate principal stressors underlying declines, with one goal being to catalyze activities aimed at mitigating well-substantiated declines. All 11 talks were recorded and are available on the Entomological Society of America’s website, https://www.entsoc.org/insect-decline-anthropocene. Although this special PNAS volume is anchored to the St. Louis presentations, that effort is extended here to include new data, ideas, expanded literature reviews, and many additional coauthors."

פורסם ב פברואר 07, 2021 03:59 אחה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 2 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 31, 2021

Rest in Peace -- Greg Lasley

Just got news that Greg Lasley, legendary iNaturalist and good friend, passed away this evening (30 Jan 2021). I will really miss Greg as many of you that knew him as well.


פורסם ב ינואר 31, 2021 01:49 לפנה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 23 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 23, 2021

Back to ID'ing! :) Well... DFW area.

I had not done much ID'ing the past half year -- truth be told, I was a little burnt out from doing ID'ing after the city nature challenge. I know I'm not alone when I say that the growth of iNat can be a bit overwhelming. The growth is great, no doubt, but it's mighty hard to keep up!

Anyways, I'll be back to focusing on ID'ing -- mostly my local region (DFW metroplex).

We just past the 1 million mark for observations JUST in the DFW metroplex:

I use this identify form to go through the observations:

If I miss your observations, or if you want me to take another look, don't forget to tag me @sambiology ! :)

פורסם ב ינואר 23, 2021 11:07 אחה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 23, 2020

Year in Review!!! You need to check out your stats!

Year in review is up! You've got to check it out:
The iNat folks have obviously done a lot of work to put this together. Really interesting to see the data in these charts and graphs and stuff.

You can go to the bottom of the year in review of all of iNat:

Then go to "view your 2020 stats."

So neat to see your year in review -- highly suggested! :)

פורסם ב דצמבר 23, 2020 09:39 אחה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 03, 2020

Good news! The small park I frequent is doubling in size! :) Thanks, iNat!

iNaturalist may not be the sole reason for a purchase of land, but I think it adds some powerful fuel to an argument for the preservation of wild spaces!

In the far east side of Fort Worth, my home city, there's a park that I enjoy visiting called Cobblestone Trail Park. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=163142
It's relatively small -- about 25 acres, but the wild part of the park includes some really neat intact post oak forest. Recently, there was some interest from developers to...well... develop the 24 acres to the east. The City of Fort Worth purchased this land on Monday and will extend the area of the park! I can't wait to explore this section of extended post oak forest.

I wrote a letter to city council not for the advice of purchase but just to inform of the species that reside in the current area. So far, over 400 species that we've documented seek out this park as a refuge: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=163142&view=species
I know it was a lot of neighborhood interest and letters to keep this area wild, but I'm so grateful to have a tool like iNat to show others how important wild spaces are, and how much we seek out these areas to engage with nature. :)

If you find yourself on the east side of Fort Worth, you should visit this park! There is a trail on the north east side that takes you into the forest some more. :) I think it's similar to what the early settlers experienced, if just on a minute scale:

“I shall not easily forget the mortal toil, and the vexations of flesh and spirit, that we underwent occasionally, in our wanderings through the Cross Timber. It was like struggling through forests of cast iron,” Washington Irving writes in 1832

In the midst of bad news of 2020, here's something that I'm celebrating. :)

פורסם ב דצמבר 03, 2020 04:28 לפנה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 27 comments | הוספת תגובה

נובמבר 18, 2020

West TX iNat gathering -- April 16-19, 2021! Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area

So, gathering with fellow iNatters is one of my favorite things to do in life. I love doing a gathering each year too.

Last year was a bit smaller in the Panhandle, and this upcoming one will likely be a bit smaller too. It's important to watch the COVID numbers, especially in Texas:
The entire state may be completely shut down to travel by next April...

In case that it isn't completely shut down, perhaps we could gather over in West TX at Elephant Mountain WMA in April 16-19! Elephant Mountain is 23,000 acres, so there is plenty of area to 'spread out.'
Here's the place on iNat: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57408

I'm calling it a gathering rather than a bioblitz -- the data collection will happen as a by product, no doubt, but the more important aspect of this is the gathering. If you do come to gather, of course, let's mask up if you can't keep distant, especially at the black-lighting.

Alpine is the closest 'city' and there are some hotels there:
No bunk house availability (and I don't want folks to gather inside) -- but camping should work for folks. I'll likely camp most of the days.

Not sure of a specific schedule or anything, but those are the dates that I'm planning on jumping over to west TX to hopefully gather with a few others! Anyways, mark the calendars if you're wanting to come!
April 16-19, 2021 at Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area!

Here are a few more details: there's no electricity at the campsite, but we do have electricity at the registration building. We also have electricity at the bunk house (although, it's going to be closed and not for us to use -- except for some outlets outside). Masks will still need to be worn if anyone goes inside any building - just out of kindness to anyone else in the facility.

COVID's still going on, so this gathering needs to acknowledge this. If you're with folks that want you to wear a mask, please wear a mask. Let's try to keep somewhat distanced from each other -- again, this is just smart to do. In the future, we'll hug like crazy, but for this gathering, let's retain some distance. The WMA is open to the public during this time too, so we may not be the only people on the 23k acres.

I know that some folks are staying at hotels in Alpine. It's not too too far from Elephant mountain, although "not too too far" in west TX is still pretty far in reality! I'll be camping each night and will smell quite ripe by the end of this trip!

Also, feel no obligation to stay at Elephant Mountain this whole time! There are SO many great spots out in West TX -- some of them are way far off ("way far off" in West TX is really far in reality!), so Big Bend, Big Bend State Park, Guadalupe Mountains, and I'm sure a whole other places are definitely worth the visit! I'll honestly be focusing my time just there at Elephant Mountain -- only a few thousand acres for us to explore. ;)

If you're able to, meet at the "Registration station" sometime in the evening on April 16th. Here's the map with the star as the spot:
I'll be there by like 5 or so. Maybe we'll toss up some mothing lights and gear there.

Some asked questions....

Can we drive on the WMA?

So, this will be a special gathering, so we should be able to access many of the roads throughout the WMA. Now, there may be some spots that we won't access (big horned sheep area, perhaps).

Can we stay at bunkhouse?

Nope. We'll maybe set up some blacklights around it (and there is electricity there), but we won't stay in the bunkhouse. I don't want to put more than 1 person in a building during COVID. It'll all be outside. :)

Can my friends come?

Sure! Although, I do hope that folks that do come are at least willing/open to doing some iNatting with us all. :) I hope this is a celebration of iNat and the folks that enjoy iNatting -- although, we're a welcoming group, so if someone isn't an iNatter, hopefully he/she/they will be after this event!

Can we collect specimens?

Wellll.... I do have a permit, and specimens can be collected under my permit, but I'd really like to narrow down some physical collection of specimens. There are a few folks that have asked me about this already, and we've discussed it a bit in detail. Ideally, if specimens are collected, we want to make sure to leave a herbarium voucher or specimen voucher at the nearby university (Sul Ross).

Do I have to get a limited use permit to come?

You don't HAVE to (again, I'll be there and it'll be under my permit), buuuut I sure would love it if you do get a $12 limited use permit (or especially a hunting permit)!!! :) It does help the WMA. Even if you don't plan on hunting, it really does help the entire TPWD Wildlife program:

Why aren't you calling this a bioblitz?

Again, I want this mostly to be a gathering of naturalists to engage with nature. Sure, we'll collect some data, but that will be as a side-effect of the gathering. :)

Is this responsible to have a gathering during a pandemic?
I've had a few folks ask this, and it's genuinely a good question that we all need to take to heart. We will be playing this by ear, and I don't want anyone to feel any pressure or obligation to come if they don't feel comfortable to do so. There WILL be more of these in the future, so totally no frets if you can't make this one. I plan on wearing my mask throughout this gathering, and I'll pretty strongly enforce masks especially during the blacklighting when we'll be somewhat close together. I plan on going on quite a few times just by myself so I'll be able to keep a good distance from others. There are 23,000 acres, so hopefully we'll find some ways to keep at least 6 feet apart. :)

All of this to say that this gathering may be cancelled. The state may officially close the WMA entirely, even to outside TPWD folks (permit or not!). If that is the case, yep, we'll cancel this gathering and do it again when it's open and safe.
The pandemic is something that we should treat seriously, and I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable.

If you do have some concerns about this, please let me know (either here or on a message or whatever). We will do more of these, so if you're not able to make it, we WILL do it again. :)

פורסם ב נובמבר 18, 2020 04:32 לפנה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 130 comments | הוספת תגובה

נובמבר 03, 2020

"An Overview of Computer Vision in iNaturalist" - a good watch!

Just as an FYI -- Ken-ichi did a great presentation on some of the finer details of the computer vision of iNat. If you've got an hour of time, check it out:

פורסם ב נובמבר 03, 2020 10:58 אחה"צ על־ידי sambiology sambiology | 3 comments | הוספת תגובה