June 03, 2021

South Dallas County parks project -- species surveys in 10 parks!

Hey all,

We have an intern at the TPWD DFW office for this summer, and one of her projects will involve looking at 10 public parks in south Dallas county (locations around Duncanville, DeSoto, Lancaster, Dallas, etc...). At each park, we'll do some flora and fauna surveys -- lots of bug chasing, plant observing, and bird watching. :) We'll also do some 'human dimensions' study -- asking some of the fellow park visitors about their experiences with nature.

At the end of the project, we'll compare the size, management style, and human uses to the biodiversity that we document.

It should be loads of fun, and we'd love some help, if you want. We're also planning to use this data to highlight the biodiversity at our local parks -- these green places act as refuges to so many organisms!

Locations and dates/times to be determined. But if you're interested in helping, let me know! :) Oh, and I'll update this post with details as we get them.

Posted on June 03, 2021 00:20 by sambiology sambiology | 28 comments | Leave a comment

May 14, 2021

Who can document the most invasive species in TX???

Thanks to @aenglandbiol , we've got a new competition! Let's see who can document the MOST invasive species in Texas!!! :)

Here's Angela's post:

Get Ready! The 2021 Texas Invasive Species Bioblitz Starts Saturday, May 15!
Now that the City Nature Challenge is over, are you looking for another reason to use iNaturalist?

Saturday May 15 through Sunday May 22 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. This is a perfect opportunity for the Texas Invasive Species Bioblitz via iNaturalist.

In 2020, we had 3,104 observations of 121 species. There were 867 observers, and 299 identifiers.
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/texas-invasive-species-bioblitz-2020

Let's see if we can beat that this year!
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/texas-invasive-species-bioblitz-2021

If you have previously submitted records of invasive plants, you might want to return to the same place and take a new observation, and mention in your notes if you think the population is expanding, contracting, or changing, and if any attempted control efforts may have had an effect. You can include a link to those previous records too.

Any observations of species from the project list that are made in Texas May 15-22, 2021 will be automatically added to this project. It's a pretty extensive species list. If you're not sure if your organism is on it, go ahead and make the observation and if it is confirmed to be on the list, it'll count!

Happy hunting!

Posted on May 14, 2021 21:01 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 07, 2021

Blacklighting at LLELA - Saturday, May 15th, 7 pm until late!

Hey all,

Lots of great observations for the CNC, and I know so many folks really went all out! Wonderful stuff. Instead of resting, why not get lots of more observations?!? :)

I know @pfau_tarleton has a gathering planned for the weekend of May 15th, but for those of us that aren't able to make it, we'll do an evening of black-lighting at LLELA. It'll be interesting to see some of the overlapping species that we document in both locations.

If you'd like to come, meet at the greenhouse at LLELA close to the Jones St. entrance at around 7 pm. Here is the exact map location:
33°03'43.7"N 96°59'20.3"W
33.062126, -96.988968
https://www.google.com/maps/place/33%C2%B003'43.7%22N+96%C2%B059'20.3%22W/@33.0621305,-96.9911567,927m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m13!1m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x9d531440da7e0b1c!2sLLELA+Nature+Preserve!8m2!3d33.06209!4d-96.97958!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d33.062126!4d-96.9889677

I'll wear a mask when close to others -- especially at the sheets. So, if you wouldn't mind, please have a mask handy as you get close to others. We'll hopefully have quite a few stations, so there will be places to spread out.

In the past, we've had some really good mothing in this location, so fingers crossed for some reasonable weather!

I'm always leaving folks off of the tag list, so please, tag others!

Posted on May 07, 2021 22:10 by sambiology sambiology | 19 comments | Leave a comment

April 24, 2021

West Texas gathering! Horrible conditions but great company.

What a joy it is to spend time with the iNat community. I know that the data we collect and the information that we document is great and all, but I think the community is where the real power of iNaturalist comes in. And hey, it feels pretty dang cool to be with fellow nature folks. :)

Around 20 folks (@austinrkelly @jcochran706 @annikaml @connlindajo @gcwarbler @tadamcochran @mikef451 @eric_keith @knightericm @pynklynx @cmeckerman @butterflies4fun @centratex @k8thegr8 @amzapp @jwn @elizrose @bosqueaaron @lovebirder @charley) showed up for the Elephant Mountain WMA gathering (from now on, I'm going to label these as gatherings rather than bioblitzes -- I want data collection to be secondary to the actual gathering). The week leading up to the gathering, I saw the dismal weather (cold front!) and catastrophic drought map... Both were present when we showed up! Nonetheless, I think we had a good time -- at least, I sure did!

The first day we gathered for some 'mothing' at the Elephant Mountain WMA registration office. I'd say it was pretty rough mothing... Cold, windy, and oh so dry. We did still document a few nice bugs. Elizabeth and I camped the first night -- and the wind did NOT let up. It blew alllll night long, and the temps were in the 30's! We also set up a few Sherman traps (live mammal traps) and caught 4 kangaroo rats!

The next morning (Saturday), we all kinda split up to venture off at the WMA and other places. We didn't have much access to the actual mountain (big horn sheep calving season still), but lots of the 'driving tour' roads and bunkhouse area was open. Despite being massively dry (like, scary dry!), I was surprised at the amount of plants and bugs and birds we spotted. Elizabeth and I went to get a few hotdogs to cook them up for the group in the evening, and we stayed in Alpine for the night.

On Saturday night/Sunday morn, we didn't catch a single mammal! Most of Sunday, Elizabeth and I drove around -- visiting Marathon and Marfa and a few places in between. One great spot was "Post Park" south of Marathon. Chuck suggested this spot, and it was great -- water! We watched some vermillion flycatchers, scott's orioles, golden fronted woodpeckers, and even a javelina sneak out from the bushes. We stayed at the hotel in Alpine again this night.

Well, we did end up bringing some rain with us on the last day (Monday). It was just enough to get our tent and sleeping bags (which we unfortunately left at the campsite) to get all wet and muddy! We caught 5 wet kangaroo rats on that last morning. We then headed off east -- making a couple stops along the way (Big Spring State Park and a couple roadside stops).

Overall, it was a challenging gathering due to the conditions, but it was just the best time ever to spend with friends. I'm so genuinely lucky to be a part of this group! Another gathering coming up in the fall -- stay tuned for details!!! :) We're leaning towards east TX -- maybe the new Neches River WMA (as suggested by both @centratex and @cosmiccat !).

Posted on April 24, 2021 00:36 by sambiology sambiology | 7 comments | Leave a comment

April 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! :)

Posted on April 03, 2021 03:00 by sambiology sambiology | 16 comments | Leave a comment

March 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:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39559646
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).


NOCCAEA PERFOLIATA OR MICROTHLASPI PERFOLIATUM (BRASSICACEAE),
NEW TO THE FLORA OF TEXAS, U.S.A.

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.
sam.kieschnick@tpwd.texas.gov

ABSTRACT

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.

RESUMEN

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.

INTRODUCTION

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.

NOMENCLATURAL DISCUSSION

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.

DOCUMENTATION IN TEXAS

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).

CONCLUSION

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.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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.

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ROLLINS, R.C. 1993. The Cruciferae of continental North America: systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford University Press.
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.
USDA NRCS. 2021. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC. https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/. Accessed Mar 2021.
WEAKLEY, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Univ. North Carolina, Chapel Hill. October 2020 edition available at https://ncbg.unc.edu/research/unc-herbarium/flora-request/

LIST OF FIGURE CAPTIONS

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).

Posted on March 24, 2021 19:21 by sambiology sambiology | 16 comments | Leave a comment

March 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!

Posted on March 23, 2021 21:13 by sambiology sambiology | 31 comments | Leave a comment

February 07, 2021

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

Really important and interesting series of papers in PNAS:

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/2/e2023989118

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."

Posted on February 07, 2021 15:59 by sambiology sambiology | 2 comments | Leave a comment

January 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.

https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/17670-an-interview-with-greglasley

Posted on January 31, 2021 01:49 by sambiology sambiology | 23 comments | Leave a comment

January 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:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57484&subview=grid

I use this identify form to go through the observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=needs_id%2Cresearch&place_id=57484

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

Posted on January 23, 2021 23:07 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment