Journal archives for February 2017

February 03, 2017

ID'ing observations for other... Paper on species ID's by experts and non-experts...

So, I was glancing at a few papers today, and I spotted this one:

Species identification by experts and non-experts: comparing images from field guides. G. E. Austen, M. Bindemann, R. A. Griffiths & D. L. Roberts -- Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 33634 (2016)

Abstract: Accurate species identification is fundamental when recording ecological data. However, the ability to correctly identify organisms visually is rarely questioned. We investigated how experts and non-experts compared in the identification of bumblebees, a group of insects of considerable conservation concern. Experts and non-experts were asked whether two concurrent bumblebee images depicted the same or two different species. Overall accuracy was below 60% and comparable for experts and non-experts. However, experts were more consistent in their answers when the same images were repeated, and more cautious in committing to a definitive answer. Our findings demonstrate the difficulty of correctly identifying bumblebees using images from field guides. Such error rates need to be accounted for when interpreting species data, whether or not they have been collected by experts. We suggest that investigation of how experts and non-experts make observations should be incorporated into study design, and could be used to improve training in species identification.

Anyways, I was thinking about the ID system here on iNat. I really enjoy ID'ing observations for folks -- I try to focus on the stuff from TX, but every now and then I try to tackle some observations from outside of TX.

I've been wrong hundreds/thousands of times, probably. My ego's not too too massive -- it's ok that I've been wrong! I do learn a lot from mistakes and from being corrected. And as any natural history collection (digital or physical) goes, each mistake doesn't diminish the integrity of the database -- the mistakes are eventually caught... "Eventually" can mean a long time though. That's the nature of collections! :)

The more folks that ID, the stronger the database gets too. Even if it's verifying an observation that's already been verified/research grade, that's a valuable annotation, in my mind. It's a safe-guard against some of the new folks to iNat that give a more general ID and change the taxon as well.

Tagging some of my favorite ID'er to see if you'd like to look at that paper too.
@greglasley @carrieseltzer @gcwarbler @d_kluza @mako252 @maractwin @aguilita @kueda @kevinhintsa @john8 @loarie @lisa_bennett @nlblock @susanhewitt @cosmiccat @charlie @silversea_starsong @glmory @robberfly @borisb @nathantaylor7583 @muir

Posted on February 03, 2017 03:45 by sambiology sambiology | 29 comments | Leave a comment

February 17, 2017

Counties of the DFW area included in this competition

The DFW area encompasses these counties:
Wise, Parker, Denton, Tarrant, Johnson, Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Rockwall, and Kaufman.

Any observation uploaded in these areas during 14 - 18 April will be automatically added to this project.

Hope you're excited! We are! :)

Posted on February 17, 2017 18:20 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 26, 2017

Help needed... Personally, why do you like to name things?

So, I'm giving a 3 hour presentation to a group of master naturalists about taxonomy and citizen science, and there's one question that I'd love to get some input from my fellow iNatters: why do you like to name things? Why is it important to you, personally, to give an organism a name? Is it something you enjoy? Why does it matter to you?

There are quite a few reasons that I like to learn something's name. For me, that's the first step in appreciating it. It's the first step in how I can learn more about it too. I use the name to communicate about it to others as well.

I'm wrong with its name a bunch, but still by giving it a name, somehow it becomes more meaningful to me.

Would LOVE to hear why you like to give an organism a name. :)

Posted on February 26, 2017 16:38 by sambiology sambiology | 31 comments | Leave a comment