Australia - iNaturalist World Tour

Moving from North America to the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is the fourth stop on our iNaturalist World Tour. Here, most of the top contributors are based along the coast from Adelaide north to Brisbane. @coenobita's observations concentrated in northern Queensland, @gumnut's in Tasmania and @ryber& @daniel_heald near Perth help flesh out other parts of the country.



The number of observations per month has been growing steadily since 2016. Its not a coincidence that 2016 is also when the fantastic Australasian Fishes project (which fueled the hoodwinker discovery among many others) launched. Questagame (which is most popular in Australia) also started posting observations to iNaturalist in 2016. However, the dramatic jump in May 2019 was from the arrival of many members of the Bowerbird community (and our efforts to help them migrate their data over before Bowerbird closes down). iNaturalist is honored to help carry on the Bowerbird legacy! Much of the motivation for the Bowerbird community to migrate to iNaturalist is because iNaturalist contributes data to the Atlas of Living Australia. We're very excited to strengthen ALA-iNat collaboration with the Australia Node of the iNaturalist Network launching in August.


The increased number of insect observations relative to other countries we've looked at so far is likely due to @vicfazio3's prodigious efforts to grow the Lepidoptera community in Australia and the entomology expertise BowerBird has contributed. The large number of fish observations is due to the hard work of @markmcg and the Australasian Fishes community


We’ll be back tomorrow with South Africa!
@reiner @vicfazio3 @imcmaster @nicklambert @silversea_starsong @joshuagsmith @vicfazio3 @gumnut @sascha_schulz @jadonald

Posted by loarie loarie, June 27, 2019 16:37

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And now for the top 50 species!
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=6744&view=species
Surprisingly Australia most closely patterns to Mexico.
Top of the list is birds with 39 species out of 50, the second highest bias to birds so far. With 7 mammal species, Australia parallels Mexico with over 90% of the top 50 species being birds and mammals, and no plants featuring in the top 50. But Australia tops the countries for mammals so far. Some 3 insects and 1 herp complete the top 50, the herps being the lowest for any country in our tour. As with Mexico the results are surprizing because of the spectacular diversity of plants, but somehow these dont feature at present, as is reflected by plants only being third place in the observation totals. Surprizingly, despite the good number of fish observations, none feature in the top 50 species. But it is the insects that are the biggest surprize - although tops in number of observations, only three species featuring in the top 50 species is quite low.
Some 4 alien species feature, which is quite average so far. Two birds, one mammal - the Fox, of course - and the ubiquitous Honeybee. I did expect more aliens in Australia to be in the top 50, but perhaps they are well-known enough not to be a focus of CS attention.

Posted by tonyrebelo 8 months ago (Flag)
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@tonyrebelo I'm loving your analyses, they pair well with the blog!

Posted by rynaturalist 8 months ago (Flag)
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Am enjoying exploring them. Not the most abundant species on tour, but the one's that the locals notice (or at least record) the most. Tomorrow will be special of course ...
One of the things that I really enjoyed about Australia (apart from the plants and birds) were the reptiles. But they dont seem to feature among the top species, although the Molloch and Blue-tongue Skink (imagine a lizard that tries to scare you away by flicking out a blue tongue - what a bizzare concept: how is that supposed to work??) really were the highlights of my visit there (long ago ...)

Posted by tonyrebelo 8 months ago (Flag)
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I feel happy that I am in the leaderboard.

Posted by predomalpha 8 months ago (Flag)
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Woohoo, I'm famous!

Also very cool is that aside from observations increasing, our number of observers has been spiking too. I believe +1000 users in just the pst two months or so.

Posted by thebeachcomber 8 months ago (Flag)
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@tonyrebelo if you remove birds, do countries still seem to match up with the top 50 species?

Posted by thebeachcomber 8 months ago (Flag)
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Awesome wrap @tonyrebelo, and I'm glad to see that you're bucking the trend by mentioning Tasmania when talking about Australia :-)

Posted by mftasp 8 months ago (Flag)
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Is James @silversea_starsong the first naturalist to be in the top 50 of two countries? Regardless, impressive!

Posted by muir 8 months ago (Flag)
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@muir sea_kangaroo is also on both US and AU

Posted by rynaturalist 8 months ago (Flag)
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I stand in awe of their multi-national efforts.

Posted by muir 8 months ago (Flag)
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I guess insects being more diverse than birds and harder to Id makes them less of a presence in the top species. Regarding plants, they depends more heavily in the time of the year (i.e. flowering) than other taxa for getting an id

Posted by langlands 8 months ago (Flag)
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Great to see the bowerbird and ALA connections. This should really help establish a robust biodiversity platform in Oz.

Posted by chris_earle 8 months ago (Flag)
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This is awesome! Happy that iNaturalist is taking off in Australia. :)

Posted by antomology 8 months ago (Flag)
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I am hoping we can have at least Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and (of course) Hobart, in the CNC2020!! Australia was the last outpost in 2019!

Posted by tonyrebelo 8 months ago (Flag)
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I reckon this is pattern that will be repeated for very biodiverse countries - lots of observations of the ubiquitous, easily photographed birds and mammals with the only plants and insects possibly making the top 50 being those that are abundant around human settlements (weeds, pests & honeybees?). It'd be interesting to see this same analysis done at genus level. That would look very different with genera like Eucalyptus and Acacia (sorry, Tony - too soon?) right up there in the top 50, I think. They are ubiquitous and frequently observed but with hundreds of species in each genus the chance of any one species making it are slim.

Posted by rfoster 8 months ago (Flag)
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A generic (or even family) analysis? Interesting idea ...
Alas, it cannot be done easily on iNaturalist directly. So looking at genera
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?lrank=genus&place_id=6744&view=species yields:: 696 observations for Eucalyptus
only gives those observations identified at the generic rank and above (dont ask, but it is about "lowest leaves").
Using the taxon option
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=6744&taxon_id=51815&view=species yields:: 2156 observations.
This excludes the above for the taxa listed (again, the "lowest leaves" means that IDs at genus or subgenus level are excluded if they have any members identified at a finer level) , but appears to present the correct totals in the header line.
The only way that I can think to do this is to individually download ALL the genera per country in R or a database ...

My apologies, I dont have the time at present ...
If anyone knows an easy way to get this via URLs or even the APIs or a python script, I will be happy to explore it.

Posted by tonyrebelo 8 months ago (Flag)
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@tonyrebelo I tried doing the ranking using the export option but only allows up to 200,000 observations per download. And the number of observations identified at least at genus level is 4,760,612 for Australia.
@loarie Does anyone knows how to download the whole count?
Thank you.

Posted by langlands 8 months ago (Flag)
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Just checking: we know where the observers are based, but where are the top IDentifiers from?
3 USA (insects, birds, mammals)
2 New South Wales,
Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, Australia(?), &
New Zealand (others)
The most independent country from USA identifiers so far.

Posted by tonyrebelo 8 months ago (Flag)
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Yep I'm from NSW. And that's pretty cool now you mention it, we're from a nice spread of different places around Australia + overseas

Posted by thebeachcomber 8 months ago (Flag)
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Aussie Aussie Aussie!

Posted by nicklambert 7 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks @loarie - I saw this a little late but thanks for the mention. :)

Posted by ryber 7 months ago (Flag)
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ha - thank you @ryber for representing Perth!

Posted by loarie 7 months ago (Flag)
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Update: we're pleased to officially welcome iNaturalist Australia to the iNaturalist Network, thanks to the Atlas of Living Australia! You can read more about it here: https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/27851-welcome-inaturalist-australia

Posted by carrieseltzer 5 months ago (Flag)
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Ive noticed that ALA only adds one photo per observation, and that photo is either random or the last one in the series, which in my case is often the worst one, or at least not the best one. I'm not sure if ALA is aware of this, but taking the 1st photo in the series would be better in almost all cases.

Not sure where exactly I should be bringing this up either, here will do for now.

Also, YAY, aussie iNat!!!

Posted by nicklambert 5 months ago (Flag)
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Posted by tonyrebelo 5 months ago (Flag)
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Oops, yes thank you @tonyrebelo! I've edited my comment above to include the correct link (rather than the one that sends people right back to this post!).

Posted by carrieseltzer 5 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks Tony, have emailed them.

Posted by nicklambert 5 months ago (Flag)
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Anyone know which towns are taking part in the City Nature Challenge 2020 yet?
Adelaide?, Sidney?, Brisbane?, Perth?, Hobart?, Darwin?

http://citynaturechallenge.org/

Posted by tonyrebelo 5 months ago (Flag)
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@tonyrebelo I hear crickets chirping - not this time around and unlikely for 2021 too unless we get some competent and motivated people organizers on board. Melbourne did hae a couple of bioblitzes (2014 & 2016). Coincidentally it was run in April but only for a few selected reserves/parks (netting 800 sightings in 24 hours).
https://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/bioblitz
https://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/bioblitz/bioblitz-2016-has-concluded

Posted by reiner 4 months ago (Flag)
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On Monday I'm emailing the cit sci involved people at my uni (UNSW) and asking if I can get the support to run it for Sydney next year. Will update.

Posted by thebeachcomber 4 months ago (Flag)
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Well I guess I won't be... Went to the sign up form and got "The form City Nature Challenge 2020 Sign-Up is no longer accepting responses. Try contacting the owner of the form if you think this is a mistake."

Posted by thebeachcomber 4 months ago (Flag)
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Sydney is signed up for the 2020 CNC, along with at least 2 other cities in Australia. We work with the local organizers starting over 6 months prior to the event to get everything planned and everyone ready to run the CNC, so at some point we have to stop accepting new cities due to the time & effort it takes to catch them up. If there are folks who would like to organize new cities for 2020, you can use the contact page on our website to get in touch with us: http://citynaturechallenge.org/contact/. Thanks!

Posted by kestrel 4 months ago (Flag)
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Great! Well done!
Will be watching 24 April and then during the ID parties ...

Posted by tonyrebelo 4 months ago (Flag)
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@kestrel who organised the Sydney one??? They beat me to it :(
I'd love to get in contact with them and offer any help I can with organising events for UNSW

Posted by thebeachcomber 4 months ago (Flag)
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@thebeachcomber Get in touch with NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. We always recommend that organizers find local partners to work with, so hopefully they'll be excited for the help!

Posted by kestrel 4 months ago (Flag)
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Legend Alison, thanks for that. Will do.

Posted by thebeachcomber 4 months ago (Flag)
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@kestrel I called up the DPIE and spoke to two people; both had no clue about it and said they didn't organise it...LOL

Posted by thebeachcomber 4 months ago (Flag)
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Oh well, always the way. :)

If Melbourne is in it I hope its not just inner city or I won't be taking part.

Posted by reiner 4 months ago (Flag)
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For the 2020 City Nature Challenge, I can see Redlands City and Geelong projects up. Still can't find the Sydney one :(

Posted by twan3253 4 months ago (Flag)
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Sydney one will be up in a few weeks :)

Posted by thebeachcomber 4 months ago (Flag)
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Awesome! Are you one of the organisers @thebeachcomber ? If so, I'm also happy to help with whatever you need :)

Posted by twan3253 4 months ago (Flag)
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Yep I'm one of the organisers. Will let you know :)

Posted by thebeachcomber 4 months ago (Flag)
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Hi all - the official CNC 2020 city list will be up at www.citynaturechallenge.org in January - we're still confirming with everyone right now! All CNC projects should be made by the end of December as well.

Posted by kestrel 4 months ago (Flag)

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