iNat Big Year -- a retrospective

With the end of 2020, I can finally look at the overall results of this crazy project. When the year started, I had two goals -- 2000 species (or leaves, to be precise), and at least one record for every day of the year. Somehow, both of those things happened. Overall totals -- 5425 observations, 2154 species. And of course, can't forget the 697 people who helped out with identifications.

Taxonomic Breakdown:
Insects -- 902
Plants -- 711
Birds -- 220
Fungi -- 164
Arachnids -- 54
Mollusks -- 19
Mammals -- 18
Ray-finned Fishes -- 16
Reptiles -- 7
Amphibians -- 6
Protozoa -- 6
Chromists -- 3
Myriapods -- 6
Springtails -- 6
Crustaceans -- 10
Annelids -- 2
Flatworms -- 2
Rotifers -- 1

When I started this, one of the things I was curious about was what the limiting factor on these numbers be? I think it's clear that overall, it's largely a matter of the time available to actually spend in the field. I know of species in every group here that I've missed this year. (Well, except for the Rotifers... the ones I posted are the first ones I've photographed, thanks to the CLC microscopes, and I have no idea what's actually around here...) In a few cases, like the birds, it might be possible to nail down every species we know of in the county. (I'd say @skrentnyjeff's list of birds this year suggests that it is...) But for the most part, one person simply can't spend enough time to get everything that's out there.

This list, by the way, includes one more species than the Observation page will reveal - for a neat reason. One of the species ID'd a couple of times was Euodynerus sp. F (thanks, @matthias22) This species is well enough known for it to be referenced in published keys (https://cjai.biologicalsurvey.ca/bmc_05/35e_spf.html as an example) and yet it hasn't officially been described. (Hence the name sp. F -- most taxonomists have a bit more imagination than that, clearly.) At least, once it's been described there will already be lots of information available about distribution and habitat!

What now? I think that I'd like to keep the streak going, but I'm not making any specific plans or setting any particular goals for this year. Hopefully, conditions will let me do a bit of traveling this year...

Thanks again to everyone who helped with this project!

Posted by psweet psweet, January 02, 2021 00:45

Comments

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Heck of a year Paul, I am still tallying mine up. Because I am not as knowledgeable as you, I am going with peer IDs for my standard. Seems like I will come in at over 65% of the "research grade" species seen in the county for the year. Getting to 75% might be possible with better planning than I did, but after that, just not sure, in a county as big as Cook, that you can be in all the places in the right times to see all the things seen in a year.

Excellent idea, excellent results!

Posted by skrentnyjeff 6 months ago (Flag)
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Congratulations Paul!! A phenomenal year!

Posted by vleopold830 5 months ago (Flag)
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Congratulations Paul...You are awesome. Thank you for sharing....and letting me share your observations by following...Happy New Year...Stay safe... Sheila

Posted by sheilsun 5 months ago (Flag)

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