Using iNaturalist phenology to plan botany trips

Recently, I've been playing around with what can be done using the phenology annotation. It turns out, this information can be really helpful for planning a botany trip. To give an example, let's say you wanted to visit I-20 Wildlife Preserve in March to see what's blooming. All you would have to do is construct a link like the following, and you'll know exactly what to look out for: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?month=3&place_id=64815&taxon_id=47126&term_id=12&term_value_id=13.

Now, this will obviously only work in places that have a decent iNaturalist presence and only if the observations are annotated. Regarding the former problem, iNaturalist continues to grow and as you, I, and the rest of the community explore, more and more places get mapped out. Regarding the latter problem, it is simple enough to add the phenology information in after the fact. Once you have observations with good annotation data, it's simply a matter of specifying the search terms to create the information in the above link. Let's walk through the steps (if the observations you're interested in are already annotated, skip steps 1 and 2).

1. Setting your parameters
a. Start by going to identify and specifying your taxon and area of interest (if your area of interest doesn't show up or work, you may have to find it under filters>more filters>place).
b. Click "filters".
c. Check "research grade".
d. Under "date observed", click month and then select the month you plan to take your trip.
e. Click "more filters".
f. Under "without annotations", select "plant phenology" (I usually leave it at "any", but it can be selected to only show observations that have not been annotated as "flowering" separately).
2. Adding phenology annotations
a. Click on an observation in flower or fruit.
b. Select the "annotation" tab.
c. To the right of "plant phenology", select one of the options (more than one option can be selected for this variable).
d. Go to another observation and repeat a-d.
e. Check the box next to "reviewed" and repeat steps a-d.

Once the observations are annotated, you can proceed to making use of the data.

3. Creating the right URL
a. If the observations of interest are already annotated and you didn't follow steps 1-2, start steps 1a-1e. If you followed steps 1-2, change "plant phenology" to "none" under "without annotations", uncheck the box next to "reviewed", and uncheck "research grade".
b. Under "with annotations", select "plant phenology" and select the condition for the structure you're interested in (e.g., "flowering" for flowers).
Here is an example using plants of I-20 Wildife Preserve that have been annotated as flowering: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?month=3&taxon_id=47126&place_id=64815&term_id=12&term_value_id=13
DO NOT CLOSE THIS TAB as you proceed to the next step.
4. Using that URL to get usable data
a. In a new tab, open the observation page (can be accessed by clicking the hyperlink or the "explore" tab).
b. Return to the tab with the identify page open and select every part of the URL after the word "identify". In the above example, it is: "?month=3&taxon_id=47126&place_id=64815&term_id=12&term_value_id=13".
c. Right click the text and select "copy" (or use ctr/cmnd c).
d. Go back to the observation page and add this extension to the URL that is already there by clicking after the URL, right clicking, and selecting "paste" (or use ctr/cmnd v).
e. Hit enter.

And that's all there is to it. Happy plant hunting! <!--

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?reviewed=true&quality_grade=needs_id%2Cresearch&page=66&taxon_id=47126&place_id=138341&without_term_id=12&month=4
pg. 66
Species to exclude:
April:
Species done 25 Mar 2020:
Machaeranthera tanacetifolia
Sphaeralcea coccinea
Dalea formosa
Tetraneuris scaposa
Oenothera suffrutescens
Oenothera hartweggii
Cactaceae (all reviewed; Jun-Dec, not unreviewed; &without_taxon_id=47903)
April:
All unreviewed done
Excluded groups:
Ephedraceae, Pinales, Bryophyta, Polypodiopsida, Cactaceae
53880,47375,311249,121943,47903
-->

Posted by nathantaylor nathantaylor, March 25, 2020 18:46

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