My Small Contribution to Maryland BioDiversity

This strikes me as a prime example of the value of iNaturalist, and the value of the specific sorts of "mapping" things I like to do. It happened over two years ago. Peggy (@tui ) and I were touring the Eastern Shore, going into all sorts of nooks and crannies, just for the heck of it. And at one site I took this picture of a Marl Pennant dragonfly

It turned out to be a first state record, and, when local ode-addicts started using iNaturalist, they soon found another state first species! In the words of @hholbrook , my sighting "may have changed a few minds of ode enthusiasts in MD about the value of iNaturalist. There has been a noticeable uptick in identifiers since. ;). "

Some sightings will languish for awhile, maybe even years, before the right eyes settle on it. This one got attention right away, and spurred something positive in terms of mobilizing more observers and identifiers, This is how it is supposed to work, I do believe.

I am proud, but in a humble sort of way. I did not know that I had found something unusual. I just appreciate pretty dragonflies, and the photographic challenge they pose (when they pose). But that spark of curiosity sometimes sets a series of sparks flickering.

Posted on 17 November, 2021 18:04 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon


That's really awesome!

That reminds me of my first shoulderband snail upload:

I didn't really realize we had any land snails aside from garden snails. I found the shell and figured I'd upload it just to increase my species count for the day - imagine my surprise when it was immediately identified as a 'critically imperiled' species!

Posted by graysquirrel over 2 years ago

Yes. The little iNat practices I maintain - like not repeating an organism in a day unless there's an extraordinary reason for doing so (like Merav's newt studies), and going slowly enough to notice something every few feet, and caring about my total number of sightings in a day - can pay off in these serendipitous ways.

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 2 years ago

Great story Jennifer! Your important discoveries now span the continent!

Posted by loarie over 2 years ago

I hope someone at iNat central is collecting all such stories, at least anecdotally. I have taken to saying that we are "living in the Golden Age of Community Science" because there are so many such discoveries to make. And as to my dear Venezillo microphthalmus, I just wish it had a more pronounceable second scientific name...

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 2 years ago

awesome story! maybe we need a project for exceptional stories? otherwise I'm not sure we'd be able to find them. not that I know how we'd determine which observations are worthy...

Posted by merav over 2 years ago

Good point. I can think of a few I know of off-hand. When it is a state/county first, or a genuinely extra-limital observation, I think it belongs. Perhaps this might also be of help to iNaturalist central, when they need to make arguments concerning their relevance and legitimacy.

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 2 years ago

and also for all my presentations! I used your little rollie pollie at least once :)

Posted by merav over 2 years ago

OK, time to start brainstorming names. How about "Changing the Course of History"? "Scientific Discoveries via iNaturalist"? BFD Obs? Earth-shattering News?

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 2 years ago

@tiwane - do you folks at iNat central already have a repository/project for collecting observations that have been genuine discoveries? Like county/state/country firsts, or documentation of range expansions, or evidence for new splits, etc? I can think of a few off-hand (@finatic adding to the San Diego county moth list from his backyard light; the plant at the Memorial Park BioBlitz that led to a revision in the Jepson manual; etc.). If such a thing doesn't exist, would it be useful to start it? I would want to do it in concert with you iNatPlenipotentiaries, so that you could control it and funnel that sort of information to best address your needs for publicity, scientific standing. etc.

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 2 years ago

No, we don't have a central repository for those things, alas. There are existing projects like though. If you want to start a project like that, go for it!

Posted by tiwane over 2 years ago

Rather than a project, it might work better as a post on the forums that can be edited with links to observations? That way the story of why it's significant can be more easily seen, and it'll probably encourage people to talk about their own.

Posted by graysquirrel over 2 years ago

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