18 September, 2016

Foster Falls Totally Dried Up

As the BioBlitz Season is coming to close, I have decided to move back to my house in TN to do some organizing, revamping, and planning for next year's BioBlitz season. Because my focus on Biodiversity, at least as far as my Biodiversity Schematics project is currently concerned, is primarily focused in the Southeastern US, I couldn't hope to be in a better location. Pretty much any site that I would need to visit is within a 10 hr drive. So, while I am here I plan on doing a daily exploration, if only a small one. There are amazing sites all around me. Well, actually I guess there are amazing sites everywhere!

Today I visited Foster Falls, a park within the South Cumberland State Park complex, as well as a TVA small wild area. There are 28 of these Small Wild Areas, of which I have BioBlitzed 4. Today was not a BioBlitz, but kind of a clean-up day. This is a site that I have naturalized many, many times. Because my camera has been broken for a few weeks now, I have missed so much of the fall wildflower season. I added a few things today, finally.

Of all the times that I have been to this site, the creek and the 60 ft. vertical waterfall were always flowing...not today.

Lots of Cladonia and Asteraceae

Posted on 18 September, 2016 03:17 by reallifeecology reallifeecology | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

22 August, 2016

100K observations with 4 days to spare

Internet access in the number one issue in my daily life. I have a MiFi device that can convert cell signal to WiFi, but cell signal is surprisingly unavailable geographically. So, all I can do is to go to a public WiFi location to do big data dumps in small batches. Yesterday was my NPS data dump day. When I logged on to start uploading we were right around 99,850.

I had just gotten back from a mini expedition in a relatively newly acquired chunk of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Puchase Knob, on the North Carolina side of the park near Waynesville. Being up on top of the mountain enabled a surprising amount of cell signal and would load the iNat App "explore" tab. I decided that I wanted to document all the surrounding trails independently. That way, whatever trail or area a person is exploring, they could get a detailed reference to the things around them. I have been thinking about this a lot lately - fair observations - and will try to cover that in another post soon.

As it turned out, that part of the park just happened to be outside the current shape file that is incorporated into iNat. So, the data will not be counted for the NPS 2016 BioBlitz, at least not until the shape file is fixed.

Still, I had gotten back from the park and it was time to load the data. I didn't know we were going to be so close. While loading the obs from my trip (including the ones for the excluded part of the park) I got to watch the number climb. What perfect timing! Usually timing for me is not so perfectly aligned. Suddenly the number jumped to over 100,100. YES! I still have a lot more park data to add, but I'm glad my luck balanced out to see the iNat/Nat Geo/NPS goal become accomplished.

We are the People, Science is our Tool, We Are Awesome!


Posted on 22 August, 2016 18:54 by reallifeecology reallifeecology | 2 comments | Leave a comment

15 August, 2016

Closing in on the National Park centennial, weird luck

I heard from @carrieseltzer (National Geographic Society) that the 25th of this month is the official NPS centennial to the day. The goal is to total 100K observations by this day. I was heading down to the panhandle of Florida to work on a project that EOL (and partners) are conducting - The Okaloosa SCIENCE Community Project. I stopped midway through Alabama and turned around for the Great Smoky Mountains NP.


So, here I am, at Purchase Knob, the research station for this side of the park. Somehow I just happened to end up specifically at this place that is a relatively new addition to the park and isn't yet in the kml shape file. I blitzed out all day yesterday before getting the info late last night in the middle of a grueling, bad wifi signal uploading session.

As it turns out, @forester93, the data ranger for NPS told me that the new shape file should be uploaded today. Wow, thanks Simon!

Anywho, I'll be adding as many observations as I can over the next week to try to help the process along. We're gonna make it to 100K!

I love being part of this incredible community!

Posted on 15 August, 2016 14:34 by reallifeecology reallifeecology | 5 comments | Leave a comment

07 June, 2016

Connecticut State BioBlitz

Defining something, giving it parameters, allows for replication. This is an important consideration in the BioBlitz concept.

Originally the BioBlitz concept was designated as to not be too specific to methodology. Indeed, the goal was to have fun, to naturalize, to commune with fellow nature enthusiasts, and to do science for the sake of pure exploration.

Simultaneously, and I feel this drive constantly, there is a desire by some organizers/scientists to make the data coming out of seemingly passive efforts to be more robust.

So, create a somewhat passive methodology that enables replication and high data resolution...there are many approaches.

From the standpoint of evolutionary ecology, the living world here on Planet Ocean is balanced by the two interacting behavioral forces of competition and collaboration. I really love this idea, of course, and I have now seen it played out at a bioblitz.

The Connecticut State BioBlitz 2016 functioned as a finely tuned relationship between these two forces. The goal was to break the all time BioBlitz record of 2519 species (actually taxa). We did it!

2769 taxa!!!

Going back to the parameters, a record breaker has to be defined. In this case, the BioBlitz was a 24 hr period consisting of a single GIS referenced polygon. This is not the only model out there, but it is probably the best model for competition replication.

I love the organisms, the science, the chaos, but by far my favorite thing about bioblitzing is community. In a way, it's like an exciting conference and science project all at once. This Blitz had about 200 scientists contribute their brains and senses to identifying taxa from literally all 'twigs' on the tree of life - from single-celled micro-organisms to the most complex, highly derived life forms. Lots of taxonomists.

Since starting our Biodiversity Schematics tour we have met many iNatters on the trail, new friends that enrich and inspire our desire for exploration and discovery.

Great naturalizing with all of you...

Posted on 07 June, 2016 22:56 by reallifeecology reallifeecology | 28 comments | Leave a comment