August 23, 2019

Observing For Our Project

High Quality Observations

Examples Of High Quality Observations

What does a high quality observation look like? Here are a few observations that meet all of the requirements we ask for:
Example Observation 1) Polycera hummi
Example Observation 2) Ipomoea pes-caprae



Observation Requirements For This Project

This is what we require for observations submitted to this project:
1) Appropriate Identification: You need to make an identification that is to (at minimum) the Kingdom level. If you have a general idea of what you're posting, go ahead and include it. That could be as broad as "bird" or "plant." Many people helping identify observations on iNaturalist will filter the observations by the group of species they know how to ID (like birds or plants), so observations with a blank ID or incorrect ID will be excluded from those filtered searches. Putting in a general ID helps funnel your observation to someone who might know what they're looking at so that it can get identified more quickly. Also, please don't add joke or otherwise false identifications on iNaturalist.
2) Accurate Date and Time: Contains an exact date and time when the observation was made. Note that your observations must be made after the start of the semester. Older observations will not be accepted.
3) Multiple, Clear Photos: An observation should have multiple photographs (if possible) of the organism that are high quality, and show key characteristics such as coloration, texture, and (if present) reproductive structures.
4) Accurate Location: Contains a precise location with coordinates that are within Florida and are not private. If you are concerned about revealing the location of a sensitive organism (or where your house is), you can hide the exact location from the public by changing the "geoprivacy" of the observation to "obscured", but please do not make your observation "private".
5) Detailed Description: Each observation must include a description for the observation that includes a visual description of organism, the habitat in which the observation was made, and a reference. The visual description should include shape, size, color(s), behavior, and (if present) reproductive structures. At least one reference (such as a website or field book) is provided that contains a description of the organism.
6) Wild Organism: Observations for this project cannot be cultivated, captive, domesticated, feral, dead, and / or a specimen. iNaturalist is primarily about observing wild organisms.

Low Quality Observations

Multiple Observations For One Organism

One organism = One observation. Avoid adding multiple observations of the same organism. Also avoid adding an observation with photos of many different organisms. Each observation should be about a single species.

This is the same alligator, but the photos are spread out over two observations. These observations need to be combined into one.

What Is Being Observed Here???

If your photo is too zoomed out, it may be unclear what you are observing. Here the user is observing a lichen, but which lichen? There are multiple lichens in the photo, but it is unclear which lichen they would like identified. It's helpful if you can crop the photo more closely to the subject. Cropping usually makes it easier to get an identification too.

There are multiple lichens in this photo! iNaturalist could not identify an organism beyond the Kingdom level because it was not clear what organism the observation was about.

Captive, Cultivated, Domesticated, Dead, Feral, and Specimens

For this project you must avoid observing captive, cultivated, domesticated, dead, feral, and specimen organisms.

Cultivated

This is cultivated plant. Signs of a cultivated plant include maintenance on and around the plant, such as pruning, sprinkler systems, and mulch. We are not interested in cultivated organisms for this project.

Dead
Anyone home? If the answer is no, then this organism cannot be submitted to our project. We are only interested in organisms that are still contributing to the biodiversity of Florida.

Captive, Domesticated, and/or Feral
For our project we are not interested in organisms that are not wild, which includes those that are captive, domesticated, and/or feral. This is a Domestic Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata var. domestica). It is domesticated, so it is not an acceptable observation for our project.

Specimen

Did you observe the organism in our lab? Then it was probably a lab specimen. These organisms are cultivated and cannot be submitted to our project.

Questions?

Are you not sure if your observation meets the requirements for this project? Please leave a comment on this journal post or contact your professor.

Posted on August 23, 2019 13:13 by marymangiapia marymangiapia | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Common Habitat Types Found In Florida

Coastal

Located along the coastline, this habitat is dominated by communities adapted to life along the sea where wind and salt spray shape the environment.

Marine and Esturaine

These ecosystems occur along coastlines and include subtidal, intertidal, and supratidal zones.
Estuarine communities may temporarily exhibit freshwater conditions during periods of heavy rainfall or upland runoff or marine conditions when rainfall and upland runoff are low, but generally are areas within which seawater is significantly diluted with freshwater inflow from the land. Marine habitats are those areas without significant freshwater inflow. Common marine and estuarine wetlands are:
- Salt Marsh
- Salt Flat Mangrove Swamp
- Buttonwood Forest Keys Tidal Rock Barren

Freshwater

These ecosystems are characterized by aquatic ecosystems containing freshwater. Freshwater habitats come in many different forms in Florida. Common freshwater habitats are:
- Rivers and Streams
- Ponds and Lakes
- Non-Forested and Forested Wetlands
These freshwater habitat types can be broken down even further into many sub-types. More information and photo examples of these habitat types and sub-types can be found on the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Forests

This is an ecosystem whose flora is characterized by a large number of trees. Forests come in many different forms in Florida. Common forest types are:
- Hardwood Forested Uplands
- High Pine
- Pine Flatwoods
These forest types can be broken down even further into many sub-types. More information and photo examples of these forest types and sub-types can be found on the catalog of UF Forest Ecosystems and the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Prairies

Prairies are treeless, open grasslands, many of which are seasonally inundated with water. These prairies contain communities of low shrubs and grasses occupying vast, level expanses in three major areas north and west of Lake Okeechobee in south-central Florida. Common prairie species in Florida are saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), dwarf live oak (Quercus minima), dwarf wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera var. pumila), and dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa; Carr 2007).

Scrub and Sandhill

These are dry, sandy habitats found away from Florida's coastline.
Scrub is a community composed of evergreen shrubs, with or without a canopy of pines, and is found on dry, infertile, sandy ridges. These are Florida's desert and possess well-drained, loose “sugar sand”. Common scrub species are shrubby oaks like Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides) and sand pine (Pinus clausa).
Sandhill is characterized by widely spaced pine trees with a sparse midstory of deciduous oaks and a moderate to dense groundcover of grasses, herbs, and low shrubs. Sandhill occurs on the rolling topography and deep sands of the Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain. Indicator species of sandhill habitats are longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), turkey oak (Quercus laevis), and wiregrass (Aristida stricta var. beyrichiana).

Urban

Primarily absent of any natural habitats and are often dominated by manmade habitats (such as manmade planters).

Disturbed

A location that was impacted by human activity in the past, but may be in a state of remission. Natural succession in these locations are interrupted regularly or frequently. Disturbed habitats around USF include roadsides and vacant lots.

More Information

More information on the habitats of Florida can be found on the Florida Natural Areas Inventory: https://www.fnai.org/natcom_accounts.cfm. Note that many of the descriptions here come from Florida Natural Areas Inventory.
Note that this is not a full list of the many habitats found in Florida, but is instead an introduction to common habitats you may encounter.
Please keep in mind that a growth form is not the same as a habitat. A lichen may be epiphytic and grow on the side of a tree, however, for this project the tree is not considered its habitat. To determine the habitat, observe the other organisms that dominate the community in which you found the organism.


Posted on August 23, 2019 13:12 by marymangiapia marymangiapia | 0 comments | Leave a comment

How to add and observation to our project

Add an Observation Using the iNaturalist App

Using the IOS App (iPhone)
https://youtu.be/X0DZmhd-1no

Using the Android App

Video coming soon!

Add an Observation Using the iNaturalist Website

https://youtu.be/tNJCuLYRpOU

Posted on August 23, 2019 13:10 by marymangiapia marymangiapia | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Observing Wildlife for iNaturalist

Welcome to our class project!
If you are new to iNaturalist, please be sure to check out the Getting Started Guide and the Help pages. These will walk you through some of the main features of the site and answer many of your questions. Be sure to also check out the iNaturalist Community Guidelines for information on what iNaturalist considers acceptable behavior on their site.
If you are ready to start observing, please keep the following guidelines in mind:


Being a Good Naturalist

It is very important that you do not disturb any wildlife. For your own safety and the safety of the organism, do not touch the organism you are observing. Be aware that some organism, such as threatened species, may be legally protected against harassment (including touching and picking up the organism). Other organism may harm you if touched (such as plants that can cause skin reactions like poison ivy). Some organisms may be provoked if you approach them or their offspring. Keep a safe distance from the organisms you are observing and be aware of your surroundings. Safety is a priority.
Do you recognize this plant? It is poison ivy!


Public

iNaturalist is a public site. Do not upload images that break iNaturalist Terms and Services or violate Copyright Laws. Do not take identifiable photos of yourself. It is ok to include your hands, feet, and clothing in your photos, but please do not include full photos of yourself or others in observations.
For example, it is ok to include your hand in a photograph. In this photo the naturalist carefully lifted up this sea grass for a better photo of the sea slug eggs.


Observe Wildlife

For this project avoid taking a photo of a captive, cultivated, domesticated, dead, and feral organism. Also, only observations within the state of Florida made since the beginning of this semester can be added to this project.
Take multiple, clear photos at different angles. The photo quality needs to be high enough that the organism can be identified.
Document key information including the time and date at which the observation was taken, the habitat in which your observation was made, visual characteristics of organism, and other important information (behavior, presence of a symbiont, etc.).

Wild sea slug Elysia papillosa from multiple angles.

Posted on August 23, 2019 13:07 by marymangiapia marymangiapia | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Online ID Guides

Before Making An Identification

Before you make an identification for your observation, be sure to do two things:
1) Check out the "Identifying Organisms" tab on the Getting Started Page
2) Do some research on what you think you saw using the free online guides below.


Free Online Guides

Having trouble identifying an organism? Think you have the correct ID but need some resources to verify it? These free online ID guides can help you!

All Life

Encyclopedia of Life
Catalogue of Life
Integrated Taxonomic Information System
NCBI

Plants

General Plant Guides
Atlas of Florida Plants
The Plant List
Florida Invasive Plant Species
USDA
Florida Native Plant Society
Discover Life Plant ID
Vascular Plants
General Vascular Plants
Plants of the World Online
What Tree Is That? Online
UF Trees of Florida
Ferns
UF - An Overview and Informal Key of the Ferns of Florida (PDF)
Florida Native Ferns: Ptropical Pteridophytes (PDF)
Discover Life - Ferns
Gymnosperms
Common Pines of Florida (PDF)
Angiosperms
Southeastern Flora ID
Nonvascular Plants
Bryophyte Flora of North America
Guide to the Identification of North American Mosses


Fungi and Lichen

Fungi
Mushroom Observer
USF species project - Florida Fungi
Mushroom Expert
MycoBank Database
Field Guide to Common macro-fungi in Eastern Forests (PDF)
Species Fungorum
Index Fungorum
Lichens
Ways of Enlichenment
Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria
Key for Florida Lichens (PDF)

Animals: Radiata, Porifera, Protostomes

General Animal Guides
Animal Diversity Web
General Marine Guides
World Register of Marine Species
Reef Guide
FWC Marine Invertebrate Guide
Picture Guide to Gulf of Mexico Invertebrate (PDF)
Sponges
Reef Guide-Sponges
Corals
Reef Guide – Soft Corals
Reef Guide – Stony Corals
Mollusks
MolluscaBase
Florida Reef Mollusks
Applesnails
Terrestrial Mollusc Tool
Insects
General Insect Guides
Bug Guide
Insect Identification - Florida
Bug Identification Key
Ants
AntWeb
Mantids
Mantodea Species File Online
Stick and Leaf Insects
Phasmid Species File Online
Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids
Orthoptera Species File Online
Caterpillar, Butterfly, and Moth
A Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada
Discover Life Caterpillar ID
Spiders
World Spider Catalog
Spider ID
Project Noah-Arachnids
Myriapoda
ChiloBase
MilliBase

Animals: Deuterostomes

Echinoderms
Reef Guide-Sea stars
Reef Guide-Sea Urchins/Cucumbers
Marine Fish
FishBase
FWC Freshwater Fish Guide
FWC Saltwater Fish Guide
Space Coast Saltwater Fish ID guide
Sharks, Skates, and Rays
Skates and Rays
Florida Museum Skates and Rays Species Profiles
Sharks and Rays
Reef Guide–Sharks and Rays
Sharks
Florida Museum Field Key to Atlantic Shark Species
Amphibians
Amphibian Species of the World
Florida Museum Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles
Reptiles
General Reptiles
The Reptile Database
Snakes
Florida Museum Snakes Identification Guide
Birds
The Clements Checklist
Florida Ornithological Society-Official Florida State Bird List
FWC Bird ID Guide
Central Florida Backyard Identification
Mammals
General Mammals
IUCN Red List
FWC Florida Mammal Guide
Marine Mammals
Reef Guide

Protist

Diatoms
Diatoms of North America
Amoebozoa
International Society for Testate Amoeba Research
Discover Life - Slime Molds
Algae
Reef Guide – Algae
Florida Gulf Coast University Algae ID guide (PDF)


Become An Even Better Identifier

Want to become an even better identifier? Here is where you can find tips to become a better identifier: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/lets_id_some_arthropods

Posted on August 23, 2019 13:03 by marymangiapia marymangiapia | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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