April 15, 2021

iNaturalist Licensed Observation Images in the Amazon Open Data Sponsorship Program

Making biodiversity data freely accessible for science and conservation is an important part of iNaturalist’s mission. We’re excited to announce the inclusion of the iNaturalist Licensed Observation Images dataset in the Amazon Open Data Sponsorship Program (ODP). This collaboration covers costs associated with storing and sharing (i.e. bandwidth) licensed photos posted to iNaturalist to sustain and promote the use of iNaturalist photos for research applications.

Importantly, nothing has changed regarding what data and photos are being made available, or what company is hosting them (we already host all our media with Amazon). This program just makes it easier to access these photos and their associated data and passes the bill on to Amazon. Only photos with Creative Commons Licenses are covered by this collaboration. The benefits of the collaboration are:

  • Amazon ODP is now offsetting the rapidly growing costs of storing these photos
  • Amazon ODP covers the costs associated with downloading these photos.
  • We’re releasing new tools to facilitate and encourage the use of these data

Reducing storage costs
Thank you to everyone who has licensed their iNaturalist photos. We now estimate that 70% of photos on iNaturalist have Creative Commons licenses. We estimate the cost savings of hosting these photos via the Amazon ODP will be hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years.

Reducing download costs
We’ve been a bit hesitant to encourage use of iNaturalist photos for research because we’ve incurred the costs of moving millions of photos across the internet from iNatualist to “Research Project X”. These costs can be significant. Since the Amazon ODP is covering these download costs for Creative Commons licensed photos, we can encourage and promote researchers to use iNaturalist photos without worrying about sustaining the costs associated with these uses.

Facilitating and encouraging data use
As part of this collaboration, we’ve added new tools to make it much easier to find and download large volumes of photos from iNaturalist. In addition to finding and accessing these photos via the iNaturalist API and export tools (which aren’t designed for fetching information about millions of photos) and the GBIF archive (which only includes photos associated with ‘research grade’ records) as part of this collaboration we are launching a new Monthly Metadata Export describing the photos in the Amazon ODP. that can be used to query and navigate them. You can find more documentation about how to use this new metadata export here.

Thanks everyone for continuing to share your biodiversity data observations and photos on iNaturalist. We hope that by making these data more accessible and useful via this collaboration we can have a bigger positive impact in science and conservation. Since the iNaturalist Forum has better tools for moderating and facilitating complex discussion, we've disabled comments on this post but have created a companion thread in the forum. We invite your thoughts or questions there.

Posted on April 15, 2021 23:18 by loarie loarie

Two Green Pit Vipers Share a Branch in Thailand - Observation of the Week, 4/15/21

Our Observation of the Week is this Trimeresurus popeiorum pit viper (งูเขียวหางไหม้ท้องเขียว in Thai) duo, seen in Thailand by @parinyaherp!

A native of Bangkok, Parinya Pawangkhanant grew up there when the city was not as large as it is today. “My house was close to the canal,” he remembers.

My house was close to the canal and my father always took me to explore the nature around it, like Varanus salvaror, many fishes, and some insects. I dreamed to one day see and explore the country when the time was right.

For the last decade, Parinya has been able to do just that as he’s explored the herpetofauna of Thailand. He’s currently a research assistant with the Herpetofauna Lab at Phayao University and the Rabbit in the Moon foundation near Thailand’s border with Myanmar. 

During his travels, Parinya explored the mountain forests of Doi Suthep–Pui National Park on a humid afternoon in 2016 when

Suddenly I found a green snake on a branch just 1.5 meters from the ground. From my experience in the field, I quickly identified it as Trimeresurus popeiorum, a species of green pit viper... I tried getting a closer look at the snake and found out she was not alone - a smaller male with red stripes popped up behind the female. I photographed them using a longer lens so I could keep my distance from the sweet couple. However, I soon ran out of time - heavy rain was moving in - and I headed back to camp.

One of around fifty species in the asian tree pit viper genus Trimeresurus, Trimeresurus popeiorum spends much of its time staying very still in trees, relying on camouflage to ambush its prey of small vertebrates. Adults in this species have those impressive red eyes, and males often have a red or white stripe starting by the eye. Like all vipers, they deliver venom through hinged front fangs.

Parinya (above, collecting tadpoles near the border with Laos) was invited by @nopcoeur and @utain to iNat, to help with herp identifications. He compares iNat to the Anywhere Door from Doraemon in that with iNat he can “go everywhere and can look everywhere.” He’s been using it to check species complexes Sphenomorphus, Trimeresurus, and Polypedates.

Photo of Parinya by Mali Naiduangchan. Quotes have been edited for clarity.

- Two previous observations of the week documented snakes in the genus Trimeresurus - check ‘em out here and here!

Posted on April 15, 2021 22:12 by tiwane tiwane | 11 comments | Leave a comment

April 08, 2021

Recently Described Mexican Plant Named after iNaturalist/Naturalista.mx

Meet Gonolobus naturalistae, a new species of plant described in a paper published last November. This is the first species named after iNaturalist, or more specifically Naturalista.mx which is the Mexican node of the iNaturalist Network administered in partnership with the Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO). Naturalista was launched in 2013 as the first node of the network which now has 15 national nodes. Under the leadership of Carlos Galindo-Leal (@carlos2), the Naturalista team at CONABIO continues to do incredible work integrating iNaturalist into local outreach and conservation efforts. The decision of the authors to use their discovery as an opportunity to honor Naturalista is a testament to the impact of this work.

The story of Gonolobus naturalistae begins with Fernando Pio-León (@pioleon), a botanist in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, who came across some plants in the genus Gonolobus back in 2016 and 2017. Neither he nor other members of the Naturalista community could identify them beyond genus as their characteristics didn’t match any known species. He suspected they were an as yet undescribed species, but further investigation didn’t occur for another two years, when Fernando contacted Lupita Chávez Hernández (@lupitachavezhdez).

The following are recollections by all three coauthors of the paper describing Gonolobus naturalistae. They have been lightly edited for clarity.

Fernando: I became acquainted with Naturalista when I was studying for my doctorate and, in a moment of semi-depression, exploring, observing and identifying plants on Naturalista became a welcome escape. Currently I use Naturalista as a quick way to create an additional documentation of my botanical records. 

[In 2019] I noticed that a user on Naturalista had begun to identify various species in the family Apocynaceae, so I sent her a message asking for her opinion [of my Gonolobus observations]. [She] said she would take a look at the plants and bring it up with her thesis advisor, Dr. Leonardo Alvarado-Cárdenas (@leonardoac). Several months later, Lupita told me that after reviewing the species with Leo, they also believed it was something new and needed material to analyze. Almost a year later, during the 21st Congress of Mexican Botany, I finally had the opportunity to meet them in person and donate samples of the Gonolobus for them to analyze in the herbarium at UNAM. After doing so, they told me that indeed it was a new species and that the next step was to describe it in a publication.

Lupita: My uncle Belem Hernández (@belemqueuedelapin) [introduced me to Naturalista]. [He] is a strong proponent of community science, he is a very active Naturalista user, and is enthusiastic about documenting the diversity of the area where he lives. Since then I have not stopped using the Naturalista and marveling at its benefits. 

After reviewing the group and the species reported for the area, Leonardo (@leonardoac) and I, who work on Apocynaceae taxonomy, confirmed [to Fernando] that it was a new species with a distribution restricted to Sinaloa and Chihuahua.

Leonardo: The next step was to think of the name, which was not an easy thing. Several names were suggested, related to the structure of the flower or its distribution. [But] after a series of discussions, we decided that it would be a good idea to honor Naturalista for several reasons. 

Fernando: When I heard that, I was fascinated by the idea since Naturalista had been the means through which we coauthors were able to connect and describe the new species. I also thought of all the collaborations that had taken place on the platform that I was busy compiling for a conference organized by CONABIO - some of which we cited in the article.

Naturalista has definitely changed both the way I interact with nature and how I do research. Every time I visit a new place now I find myself documenting plants and other species. It’s really motivated me to identify and learn about new species, since I can quickly make an observation and worry about identifying it and doing a literature review later on. All the other users also help out a lot. When I make identifications for others, seeing species that I do not know motivates me to review the literature and help identify them.

Lupita: Leonardo and I work in Mexico City and it is not easy to go out to collect in northern areas like Sinaloa, so the use of Naturalista made that aspect much easier - the distance was reduced to a click on the computer!

Leonardo: The use of Naturalista has become a constant activity within our group, and it has allowed us to study many species in greater detail than just pressed herbarium material, which lacks many important characteristics such as color, general appearance, habitat and who can visit it. Based on all of this, we decided to go with using the name Naturalista as a specific epithet for the new species. We hope this decision highlights the work of the platform and the people who work on it...among many other things, it allows to tell success stories such as the discovery of new species and the creation of links between colleagues in different parts of the country and the world.

Lupita: I have always thought that involving citizens in the construction and dissemination of scientific knowledge is essential. Only in this way can we know and value the biodiversity that surrounds us and ensure its conservation. Naturalista allows [collaboration between scientists and the community at large] to be done in a simple and fun way, so its contribution to science is worthy of being recognized with the name of a new species.

Since Naturalista began in México, it has become the largest citizen science network in the country with over 90,000 people registered, 2.7 million observations of 37,000 species. We invite more researchers to collaborate. Let’s improve our knowledge of biodiversity in Mexico and in the world together!!

In addition to helping discover new species, Fernando, along with his botanist mentor Dr. Rito-Vega, have been studying endemic Sinaloan plants for his postdoctoral work. This has led to the first iNat/Naturalista observations of several species, including Perityle grandifolia, Perityle canescens, and Aloysia nahuire, some of which had not been documented for decades!

Posted on April 08, 2021 18:15 by tiwane tiwane | 17 comments | Leave a comment

April 06, 2021

A Slime Mold and a Parasitic Fungus in the California Woods - Observation of the Week, 4/6/21

Our Observation of the Week is this Trichia botrytis slime mold (and a Polycephalomyces tomentosus fungus), seen in the United States by @alison_pollack!

The name “slime mold” is a bit misleading, as slime molds belong to their own polyphyletic group, Phylum Mycetozoa. But Alison Pollack beautifully captured both the fruiting body of a slime mold and a fungal parasite in the photo you see above. It wasn’t her first attempt, however. “Trichia botrytis is a very pretty slime mold, and I had seen it only a few times before,” she explains.

The fungus, Polycephalomyces tomentosus, parasitizes slime molds of the genus Trichia. I had seen and photographed that fungus on various Trichia species several times, but I really wanted to find a specimen where there was not so much of it so that you couldn’t see the detail. In the woods a few weeks ago, I turned a log over and saw something that looked like it might be nice, and when I looked at it with the magnifying glass I was thrilled at what I saw - not only a formation of the fungus of exactly the kind I had been looking for, but also a clean Trichia botrytis, clearly showing the characteristic bands of that species.  A wonderful and photogenic combination!

Alison’s image isn’t just one photo - at macro distances an image’s depth of field is razor thin - but rather a series of about forty-five photos, each focusing on a slightly different part of the subject. She then used software to focus stack the images, combining the parts in focus to make  a single image with greater depth of field. That’s why both the slime mold and fungus are in razor sharp focus. 

Fittingly, it was photography that sparked Alison’s recent interest in slime molds, fungi, and other tiny organisms. As a child in the suburbs of New York City she wasn’t particularly into nature, but graduate school in Wisconsin and then hikes around the Bay Area opened her eyes to it. She carried her camera with her and began to photograph mushrooms. One day, however, she came across something new.

I took a photo, and when I got home I did a Google reverse image search to figure out what it was. I quickly figured out that it was a Myxomycete, Leocarpus fragilis. I stayed up all night looking at photos of various slime molds and reading about these fascinating organisms; I was completely smitten by their beauty and their amazing life cycle. Shortly after that I bought a DSLR camera and a macro lens so I could take better photos of myxos.  And while looking for myxos, I also found many fascinating tiny fungi. 

When I am in the woods, I am often on my hands and knees, looking very closely. What I am looking for usually cannot be seen while walking. I use a light and a magnifying lens to look for my tiny subjects. The smaller they are, the more they fascinate me! I love finding and photographing myxos and tiny fungi and sharing them with people who might otherwise never see them. My goal is to inspire people to go into the woods and look for them themselves.  

Alison (above, in Alaska) previously only posted her photos on Instagram, but an acquaintance suggested she also add them to iNat, where she tries to post most of her photos now. “It's great when experts chime in and identify what I have captured,” she says, 

and I also feel like I am contributing to science because not too many people are looking for and posting things so tiny. These days I also use iNat all the time to look for where people are finding myxos and fungi; the combination of iNat and NOAA precipitation maps helps me to plan my trips to the woods. 

Photo of Alison by Bruce Welkovich (@bwelko).

- This isn’t Observation of the Week’s first slime mo(u)ld rodeo!

- Slime molds can solve mazes?

- Check out some of the most-faved slime mold observations on iNat!

Posted on April 06, 2021 20:22 by tiwane tiwane | 13 comments | Leave a comment

Welcome, iNaturalist United Kingdom!

iNaturalist United Kingdom is the newest member of the iNaturalist Network! iNaturalistUK is a collaboration led by the National Biodiversity Network Trust (NBN Trust) with the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and the Biological Records Centre (BRC).

The MBA is excited to utilise the iNaturalist platform to increase engagement in the marine environment and to build a community of recorders to improve our knowledge of the rich and varied marine life that is found in UK waters.

Working with MBA and BRC, the NBN Trust will be developing ways of promoting and using iNaturalist in the UK to complement the other recording tools already available to the biological recording community. These include iRecord and iSpot as well as many other platforms that are popular in the UK.

Users in the United Kingdom are encouraged to affiliate their account iNaturalistUK to allow partner organisations enhanced access to UK sightings. This won't affect existing arrangements with how your sightings are currently shared to GBIF or available to the international community.
BRC will work with National Recording Schemes to facilitate the integration of iNaturalist within UK recording systems. MBA will be building on its extensive experience in coastal BioBlitz events to increase the wildlife records openly available.

iNaturalist is a growing community within the UK. The NBN Trust with its network of members is well placed to engage with these citizen scientists and encourage greater participation in wildlife recording, particularly for groups with little previous experience.

The iNaturalist community in the United Kingdom has been growing steadily over the past few years. From around 10,000 observers in early 2019 there are now more than 55,500 observers who have recorded 15,000 species in the UK. The growth of the City Nature Challenge event in the UK has encouraged its popularity.

We look forward to watching the iNaturalist community in the UK continue to grow in its reach and impact with the support of the NBN Trust, Marine Biological Association, and Biological Records Centre.

About the iNaturalist Network

The iNaturalist Network now has fifteen nationally-focused sites that are fully connected and interoperable with the global iNaturalist site. The sites are: Naturalista Mexico, iNaturalist Canada, iNaturalist New Zealand (formerly NatureWatchNZ), Naturalista Colombia, BioDiversity4All (Portugal), iNaturalist Panama, iNaturalist Ecuador, iNaturalist Australia, ArgentiNat (Argentina), iNaturalist Israel, iNaturalist Finland, iNaturalist Chile, iNaturalist Greece, iNaturalist Luxembourg, and now iNaturalist United Kingdom. Any iNaturalist user can log in on any of the sites using their same username and password and will see the same notifications. All data from all network sites are still shared globally and fully accessible from each site using search filters.

The iNaturalist Network model allows for localizing the iNaturalist experience to better support communities and local leadership on a national scale, without splitting the community into isolated, national sites. The iNaturalist team is grateful to the outreach, training, translations, and user support carried out through the efforts of the iNaturalist Network member institutions.

Posted on April 06, 2021 02:50 by carrieseltzer carrieseltzer | 12 comments | Leave a comment

April 01, 2021

Welcome, iNaturalist Luxembourg! Wëllkomm, iNaturalist Lëtzebuerg!

Today we officially welcome iNaturalist Luxembourg as the newest member of the iNaturalist Network! Luxembourg is a small country in Europe bordering Belgium, Germany, and France with three official languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German.

iNaturalist.LU is a collaboration with the Luxembourg National Museum of Natural History (MnhnL). Since 2019 the MnhnL has actively promoted the use of iNaturalist in Luxembourg and organized citizen science projects like the City Nature Challenge using iNaturalist. The department of Digital Information about the Natural Heritage at the MnhnL, now coordinates iNaturalist.LU but also manages the national biodiversity database and is Luxembourg's national GBIF node.

MnhnL’s decision to promote iNaturalist to the local community was made to offer an easy to use digital tool to record and identify wildlife to the national naturalist and citizens science community.

The iNaturalist community in Luxembourg has grown considerably over the past two years, reaching 70,000 observations and 2,500 users at the beginning of 2021. This corresponds to about 120 observations per 1,000 inhabitants and about 29 observations per square km (for context, these numbers for the United States are 93 obs./1,000 inhabitants and 3 obs./km2). Observations can be found throughout the entire country with the highest concentration in the southern part, especially around the capital. 2021 promises to exceed every expectation with already 4 times as many observations made in the first two months compared to the same period last year.

We look forward to seeing the multilingual community in Luxembourg grow!

About the iNaturalist Network

The iNaturalist Network now has fourteen nationally-focused sites that are fully connected and interoperable with the global iNaturalist site. The sites are: Naturalista Mexico, iNaturalist Canada, iNaturalist New Zealand (formerly NatureWatchNZ), Naturalista Colombia, BioDiversity4All (Portugal), iNaturalist Panama, iNaturalist Ecuador, iNaturalist Australia, ArgentiNat (Argentina), iNaturalist Israel, iNaturalist Finland, iNaturalist Chile, iNaturalist Greece, and now iNaturalist Luxembourg. Any iNaturalist user can log in on any of the sites using their same username and password and will see the same notifications.

The iNaturalist Network model allows for localizing the iNaturalist experience to better support communities on a national scale and local leadership in the movement, without splitting the community into isolated, national sites. The iNaturalist team is grateful to the outreach, training, translations, and user support carried out through the efforts of the iNaturalist Network member institutions.

Wëllkomm, iNaturalist Lëtzebuerg!

Haut begréisse mir offiziell iNaturalist Lëtzebuerg als neiste Member vum iNaturalist Netzwierk! Lëtzebuerg ass e klengt Land an Europa a grenzt un d'Belsch, Däitschland a Frankräich mat dräi offizielle Sproochen: Lëtzebuergesch, Franséisch an Däitsch.

iNaturalist.LU ass eng Zesummenaarbecht mam Nationalmusée fir Naturgeschicht (MnhnL). Zënter 2019 huet de MnhnL aktiv d'Notzung vum iNaturalist zu Lëtzebuerg promovéiert an "citizen science" Projete wéi de City Nature Challenge mam iNaturalist organiséiert. De Service fir Digital Informatioun iwwer de Patrimoine Naturel am MnhnL koordinéiert elo iNaturalist.LU awer geréiert och déi national Biodiversitéits Datebank an ass den nationale GBIF Knuet.

D'Entscheedung vum MnhnL fir den iNaturalist bei der lokaler Gemeinschaft vu Naturwëssenschaftler an Naturbegeeschterten ze promovéiere gouf geholl fir kennen een digitalen Tool unzebidde mat deem een einfach wëll Aarten identifizéieren a erfaasse kann.

D'iNaturalist Gemeinschaft zu Lëtzebuerg ass an de leschten zwee Joer bedeitend gewuess, Ufangs 2021 goufe 70.000 Observatiounen an 2.500 Benotzer erreecht. Dëst entsprécht ongeféier 120 Observatioune pro 1.000 Awunner an ongeféier 29 Observatioune pro Quadratkilometer (fir de Kontext, dës Zuele fir d'USA sinn 3 (Obs./km2) an 93 (Obs./1.000 Awunner)). D‘Observatioune sinn am ganze Land verdeelt, awer virun allem an der südlecher Hallschent, besonnesch ronderëm d'Haaptstad ze fannen. 2021 versprécht all Erwaardung ze depasséiere mat scho 4 Mol méi gemellten Observatiounen an den éischten zwee Méint wei an der selwechter Period dat lescht Joer.

Mir freeën eis déi méisproocheg Gemeinschaft zu Lëtzebuerg wuessen ze gesinn!

Iwwert d'iNaturalist Netzwierk

D'iNaturalist Netzwierk huet elo véierzéng national fokusséiert Websäiten déi voll matenee verbonnen an interoperabel mam globalen iNaturalist Portal sinn. D'Säite sinn: Naturalista Mexiko, iNaturalist Kanada, iNaturalist Neiséiland (fréier NatureWatchNZ), Naturalista Kolumbien, BioDiversity4All (Portugal), iNaturalist Panama, iNaturalist Ecuador, iNaturalist Australien, ArgentiNat (Argentinien), iNaturalist Israel, iNaturalist Finland, iNaturalist Chile, iNaturalist Griicheland, an elo och iNaturalist Lëtzebuerg. All iNaturalist Notzer kann sech mat sengem Benotzernumm a Passwuert op all de verschiddene Säiten aloggen a gesäit ëmmer déi selwecht Notifikatiounen. De Modell vum iNaturalist Netzwierk erméiglecht et d'iNaturalist Experienz op nationalem Niveau unzepassen an déi lokal Gemeinschaft a Coordinateure vun der Beweegung besser z'ënnerstëtzen, ouni d'Gemeinschaft an isoléiert, national Säiten ze splécken. D'iNaturalist Team ass dankbar fir d'Ënnerstëtzung, d'Formatioun, d'Iwwersetzungen an d'Benotzer Betreiung duerch d'Efforte vun den iNaturalist Netzwierk Memberinstitutiounen.

Posted on April 01, 2021 04:04 by carrieseltzer carrieseltzer | 17 comments | Leave a comment

March 31, 2021

A South African Botanist Photographs a Leaping Dolphin - Observation of the Week, 3/30/21

Our Observation of the Week is this Heaviside's Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii), seen off of South Africa by @nicky!

Nicola Jane van Berkel (“Nicky”) grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has always loved nature. “As a child I picked flowers wherever I could,” she recalls,

These got spread out on the dining room table to see how many different ones I had collected on an outing. I also tried to grow cuttings and was fascinated by the roots growing from the ends of African Violet leaves perched on the edges of jam jars on my windowsill, next to sprouting avocado pips suspended above water. My father gave me charge of a flowerbed in our garden.  Into this I planted all sorts of cuttings begged from family and friends, some survived, many died. One highlight of my childhood was a trip to Namaqualand with my grandmother.

That passion for plants was still there when she and her husband Fred lived in Namaqualand and Namibia. She took nature photos (on slide film!) and collected specimens for the Compton Herbarium, which brought her in contact with botantists from all over the world. After several years of correspondence work, she eventually earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Botany and Geography through UNISA

A few weeks ago Nicky accompanied her granddaughters and family on the Jolly Roger Pirate Boat out of Cape Town, which is where she photographed the leaping Heaviside’s Dolphin you see above. “The dolphins followed us playing in the waves,” she recalls, 

[and] my granddaughters loved watching the dolphins, waiting to see if they could spot them when they surfaced. I did not know whether I had managed to photograph any of them until I downloaded my pictures onto my computer.  There were quite a few pictures of only sea! I did not know that we had been in the company of a Near Threatened species until my pictures were identified on iNaturalist! This was one of the many occasions that I have become aware that something I photographed was something special as a result of this wonderful program.

As Nicky mentioned, Heaviside’s Dolphins are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, which among other threats says they’re “one of the cetacean species most at risk from large perturbations associated with global climate change.” These small (less than 2 meters in length) dolphins range from the Cape Peninsula north to southern Angola and their main prey are juvenile hake.

Soon after she and her husband retired and moved to Brenton-on-Sea, Nicky (above, on the Jolly Roger) joined the Outramps, which is a branch of CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers), and monitors plants in the Southern Cape. CREW members were encouraged by SANBI to record their findings to iSpot and she then migrated to iNat along with much of the southern African community several years ago. Her 30,000 plus observations span over twenty years of photography, and she says

I feel that it is particularly important to record as much as we can of the organisms in our natural environment, which is rapidly eroding, so that future generations know what was here. iNaturalist is a great way to share these records. It is also an excellent platform to get identifications. I am so grateful to all the experts that help with identification of my numerous postings. Even though my library is extensive, there is a lot it does not cover, for example - dolphins!

Photo of Nicky was taken by her husband, Ferdinand van Berkel.

Posted on March 31, 2021 05:02 by tiwane tiwane | 17 comments | Leave a comment

March 29, 2021

Welcome, iNaturalist Greece! Καλωσόρισες iNaturalist Greece!

Today we officially welcome iNaturalist Greece as the newest member of the iNaturalist Network! iNaturalist GR is a collaboration with the non-profit, non­governmental organization iSea and the Goulandris Natural History Museum (GNHM).

Σήμερα καλωσορίζουμε επισήμως το iNaturalist Greece ως το νεότερο μέλος του δικτύου iNaturalist! Το iNaturalistGR αποτελεί μια συνεργασία της Περιβαλλοντικής Οργάνωσης iSea και του Μουσείου Φυσικής Ιστορίας Γουλανδρή.

iSea was founded in 2016, in Thessaloniki, with the aim to preserve, protect, and restore the precious heritage of the aquatic environment using a variety of tools ranging from scientific research to citizen science and environmental awareness. The Goulandris Natural History Museum was established in 1964, in Athens, and it is a non-profit institution dedicated to the research, environmental education and public awareness. Its branch, the Greek Biotope Wetland Centre (EKBY), established in 1991 in Thessaloniki, is also involved in research and education, as well as in the protection, conservation and management of the natural environment.

Η iSea ιδρύθηκε το 2016 στη Θεσσαλονίκη, με στόχο τη διατήρηση, προστασία, και αποκατάσταση των υδάτινων οικοσυστημάτων, αλλά και της χλωρίδας και πανίδας που διαβιούν σε αυτά, χρησιμοποιώντας ως βασικά εργαλεία την επιστημονική έρευνα, την επιστήμη των πολιτών και την περιβαλλοντική εκπαίδευση κι ευαισθητοποίηση. To Μουσείο Γουλανδρή Φυσικής Ιστορίας ιδρύθηκε το 1964 στην Αθήνα, και είναι ένα κοινωφελές ίδρυμα, αφιερωμένο στην έρευνα και την περιβαλλοντική εκπαίδευση και ενημέρωση. Το παράρτημά του, το Ελληνικό Κέντρο Βιοτόπων Υγροτόπων (EKBY), το οποίο ιδρύθηκε το 1991 στη Θεσσαλονίκη, ασχολείται επίσης με την έρευνα και την εκπαίδευση, καθώς και με την προστασία, διατήρηση και διαχείριση του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος.

Greece is a nation including approximately 6,000 islands and islets with an important relationship with the sea. For this reason, iNaturalistGR has selected a beloved and iconic marine animal for its logo: the charismatic common dolphin . The dolphin is Greece’s national animal and rightfully so, as its existence is interwoven with Greek societies since ancient times. Unfortunately, the Mediterranean population of Delphinus delphis is classified as Endangered by the IUCN; this shows that this dolphin is not so common anymore as it is threatened by fishing bycatch, prey depletion, marine pollution, underwater noise, and habitat loss. The Delphinus delphis is one of the smallest dolphins in existence. It has a slender body, a dark back and a characteristic yellowish pattern on the sides of its body.

Η Ελλάδα είναι μια χώρα που περιλαμβάνει περίπου 6.000 νησιά και νησίδες και είναι άρρηκτα συνδεδεμένη με τη θάλασσα. Για το λόγο αυτόν, το iNaturalistGR επέλεξε ένα αγαπημένο κι εμβληματικό θαλάσσιο θηλαστικό για λογότυπό του: το χαρισματικό κοινό δελφίνι . Το δελφίνι δικαίως αποτελεί εθνικό ζώο της Ελλάδας, καθώς η ύπαρξη του είναι συνυφασμένη με τις ελληνικές κοινωνίες από αρχαιοτάτων χρόνων. Δυστυχώς, ο Μεσογειακός πληθυσμός του είδους Delphinus delphis έχει χαρακτηριστεί ως «Κινδυνεύων» από την IUCN υποδεικνύοντας ότι το δελφίνι αυτό δεν είναι πια και τόσο κοινό καθότι απειλείται από την παρεμπίπτουσα αλιεία, τη μείωση της τροφής του, τη θαλάσσια ρύπανση, την υποβρύχια ηχορύπανση και την υποβάθμιση των ενδιαιτημάτων του. Το Delphinus delphis είναι ένα από τα μικρότερα δελφίνια που υπάρχουν σήμερα. Διαθέτει λεπτό σώμα με σκούρη μαύρη ράχη κι ένα χαρακτηριστικό κιτρινωπό σχέδιο στις δυο πλευρές του σώματός του.

The iNaturalist community in Greece has been growing rapidly over the last four years. Currently, there are over 140,000 observations in Greece, made by almost 5,000 observers. Citizen scientists and researchers in Greece who use iNaturalist are motivated by their love of nature and their interest to explore and learn more about the country’s rich biodiversity. You can read more about earlier activity trends in Greece in the iNaturalist World Tour post from July 2019. Dimitra Katsada, @dkats, from iSea’s team, is the primary point of contact for iNaturalistGR.

Η κοινότητα του iNaturalist στην Ελλάδα αναπτύσσεται ραγδαία τα τελευταία τέσσερα χρόνια. Σήμερα έχουν καταγραφεί περισσότερες από 140.000 παρατηρήσεις στην Ελλάδα από σχεδόν 5.000 πολίτες. Ερευνητές και επιστήμονες πολίτες στην Ελλάδα, οι οποίοι χρησιμοποιούν το iNaturalist, έχουν ως κίνητρο την αγάπη τους για τη φύση και το ενδιαφέρον τους να εξερευνήσουν και να μάθουν περισσότερα για την πλούσια βιοποικιλότητα της χώρας. Μπορείτε να διαβάσετε περισσότερα για την έως τώρα δραστηριότητα στην Ελλάδα στη δημοσίευση του iNaturalist World Tour από τον Ιούλιο του 2019. Η Δήμητρα Κατσάδα, @dkats, από την ομάδα της iSea, αποτελεί το βασικό άτομο επικοινωνίας για το iNaturalistGR.

We would like to invite anyone from Greece to affiliate their account with iNaturalistGR!

Προσκαλούμε όλους τους χρήστες από την Ελλάδα να συνδέσουν τους λογαριασμούς τους με το iNaturalistGR!

About the iNaturalist Network
Σχετικά με το Δίκτυο του iNaturalist

The iNaturalist Network now has 13 nationally-focused sites that are fully connected and interoperable with the global iNaturalist site. The sites are: Naturalista Mexico, iNaturalist Canada, iNaturalist New Zealand (formerly NatureWatchNZ), Naturalista Colombia, BioDiversity4All (Portugal), iNaturalist Panama, iNaturalist Ecuador, iNaturalist Australia, ArgentiNat (Argentina), iNaturalist Israel, iNaturalist Finland, iNaturalist Chile, and now iNaturalist Greece. More will be announced in the coming weeks. Any iNaturalist user can log in on any of the sites using their same credentials and will see the same notifications.

Το Δίκτυο του iNaturalist απαριθμεί σήμερα 13 εθνικού επιπέδου ιστοτόπους οι οποίοι είναι πλήρως συνδεδεμένοι και διαλειτουργικοί με τον παγκόσμιο ιστότοπο του iNaturalist. Αυτοί είναι: Naturalista Mexico, iNaturalist Canada, iNaturalist New Zealand (προηγουμένως NatureWatchNZ), Naturalista Colombia, BioDiversity4All (Πορτογαλία), iNaturalist Panama, iNaturalist Ecuador, iNaturalist Australia, ArgentiNat (Αργεντινή), iNaturalist Israel, iNaturalist Finland, iNaturalist Chile και πλέον iNaturalist Greece. Περισσότερες πληροφορίες θα ανακοινωθούν μέσα στις ερχόμενες εβδομάδες. Κάθε χρήστης του iNaturalist μπορεί να συνδεθεί σε οποιονδήποτε από αυτούς τους ιστοτόπους χρησιμοποιώντας τα στοιχεία του.

The iNaturalist Network model allows for localizing the iNaturalist experience to better support communities on a national scale and local leadership in the movement, without splitting the community into isolated, national sites. The iNaturalist team is grateful to the outreach, training, translations, and user support carried out through the efforts of the iNaturalist Network member institutions.

Το μοντέλο του Δικτύου iNaturalist δίνει τη δυνατότητα της τοπικοποίησης της εμπειρίας του iNaturalist, ώστε να στηρίζει καλύτερα τις κοινότητές του και την τοπική ηγεσία τους, χωρίς να περιορίζει την παγκόσμια κοινότητα διαχωρίζοντας την σε τοπικά τμήματα. Η ομάδα του iNaturalist είναι ευγνώμων για τη γνωστοποίηση, την εκπαίδευση, τις μεταφράσεις και την υποστήριξη των χρηστών, που πραγματοποιούνται μέσα από τις προσπάθειες των μελών του Δικτύου του.

Posted on March 29, 2021 03:11 by carrieseltzer carrieseltzer | 12 comments | Leave a comment

March 27, 2021

Software bug (now resolved) could have allowed unauthorized account access

On March 26, 2021, iNaturalist discovered a software bug that could allow some users to access another user’s account via the iPhone app. As of this writing, iNaturalist is aware of only one instance where this unauthorized access has occurred, and has fixed the software bug. While we cannot determine if additional accounts were accessed, we can say which accounts could have potentially been accessed. This includes any iNaturalist accounts that do not have an associated email address, which amounts to less than 2% of total users. Out of an abundance of caution, all potentially affected users have been signed out of their accounts in the iPhone app.

We believe the only personal information that could have been accessed is coordinates of obscured or private observations. The only accounts that could have been accessed did not have email addresses associated with them, so that information could not have been obtained.

However, affected users could have had their account or observations deleted by the unauthorized user. If you think your account has been affected, please contact us at help+breach@inaturalist.org. We may be able to recover lost content if your account or observations were deleted as a result, but unfortunately we cannot guarantee this.

We sincerely apologize for this oversight and are committed to ensuring the security of your observations and personal information. As we continue to investigate this issue, we’ll be sure to keep you posted via our blog with any updates. To check if your account was potentially affected, please visit the FAQ below.

Thank you for being a part of the iNaturalist community. We've created a thread in the Forum for discussion if you have any questions.

—The iNaturalist Team


How do I know if my account was potentially affected?

Only iNaturalist users who do not have an email address associated with their account are potentially affected, which may include anyone who created their iNaturalist account using Apple, Facebook, or Google. To check if your account is associated with an email address, please view your account settings. You can also look for any observations associated with your account that you did not take. If you think your account has been affected, please contact us at help+breach@inaturalist.org.

Is there evidence of malicious intent?

No. The one incident we are aware of was self-reported and unauthorized access to another user’s account was obtained inadvertently. As of this writing, we do not have evidence of any other incidents of unauthorized access.

What kind of personal information could have been accessible before the software bug was fixed?

We believe the only personal information that could have been accessible to an unauthorized user is the coordinates of obscured or private observations. It is also possible that past observations or the account itself could have been deleted.

What can I do if I think someone has obtained unauthorized access to my account?

If you think someone has obtained unauthorized access to your account, please contact us at help+breach@inaturalist.org.

Posted on March 27, 2021 02:05 by kueda kueda

March 24, 2021

A Guatemalan Red-rump Tarantula Makes a House Visit - Observation of the Week, 3/24/21

Our Observation of the Week is this Guatemalan Red-rump Tarantula (Tliltocatl sabulosus), seen in Guatemala by @ricardelremate!

Ricard Busquets grew up in Premià de Mar, Barcelona, Spain, and tells me he was always interested in nature.

I had the good fortune to grow up in a house full of books and encyclopedias collected by my father. One of these encyclopedias inspired my love for nature: the “Enciclopedia Salvat de la Fauna”. I used to enjoy snacking in the afternoons, after coming home from school, browsing through some of the eleven volumes of which it is composed. It was my favorite, and as I leafed through its pages I traveled around the world discovering incredible animals. The coordinator of that encyclopedia was Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, a Spanish naturalist and environmentalist, defender of nature, and producer of documentaries for radio and television who died too young in a plane crash in Alaska. I remember the day he died, I was 7 years old and I felt very sad.

Now an adult, Ricard resides in a place teeming with incredible flora and fauna: Guatemala! Living there for about twelve years, he’s married to a biologist and he manages a small hotel (ten cabins) outside of “the protected biotope Cerro Cahuí, harmoniously integrated in the humid subtropical forest of northern Petén, on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá,” he explains.

It was after inspecting the empty rooms of the hotel last August (the tourism industry, of course, has been decimated by the pandemic) that he encountered the colorful tarantula documented in this observation.

I entered the apartment where I live inside the hotel. As I opened the door, I moved the curtain and out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark shape near my shoulder. I took a step back and then I saw it. So beautiful, so spectacular, so calm. The tarantula slowly moved through the glass of the wooden door and I ran like crazy looking for my camera to immortalize it. My wife was with me, and we both kept exclaiming, "Wow, what a beauty, what a cute little thing!” 

In the end, the tarantula landed on the ground, and what I did was to pick it up and take it to a safe place, a huge mound of stones that we have at the hotel, where we usually take the spiders and scorpions that guests find in their rooms. All life forms are respected at the hotel.

Recently split from the genus Brachypelma, members of the genus Tliltocatl occur in Mexico and Central America. Like most other New World tarantulas, their abdomens are covered in urticating hairs, which can irritate the skin and eyes when brushed off by the tarantula as a method of self-defense. 

Ricard (above) heard about iNat from his wife’s colleagues, who recommended it to him because he likes photography and nature. I can say that discovering iNaturalist has been one of the best things that has happened to me during this pandemic,” he says.

I am taking very seriously the observation and documentation of every living thing around me, with the humble intention of contributing to citizen science and suddenly helping biologists and scientists with my observations from Petén, Guatemala. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

To conclude I would like to share with you this thought from Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente:

"Man is a poem woven with the mist of dawn, with the color of flowers, with the song of birds, with the howl of the wolf or the roar of the lion. Man will be finished when the vital balance of the planet that supports him is finished. Man must love and respect the Earth, as he loves and respects his own mother".:

(Photo of Ricard by Asgeir Rossebo Almas. Some quotes have been lightly edited.)

- Nearly five years ago, our Observation of the Week was a spider that had been found in someone's ear!

- Check out our recent blog post about @naufalurfi, the top spider identifier in Southeast Asia!

Posted on March 24, 2021 23:37 by tiwane tiwane | 2 comments | Leave a comment