21 February, 2024

RHS Bumbles on Blooms project – help us stumble on a bumble in your garden or park

 

Helen Bostock, Senior Wildlife Specialist at the Royal Horticultural Society explains why the RHS is using iNaturalist to help gather data on flowers visited by bumblebees this spring.

For a year or two now we have been using iNaturalist to assist our efforts to record wildlife sightings in our five RHS Gardens, helping us build up a picture of the biodiversity that these spaces support and fill in the gaps from more formal surveys. It is also a great tool to direct our staff and visitors towards. And all part of our push to achieve our Sustainability Strategic goal of becoming ‘biodiversity positive’.

This year though we wanted to try something a little different and see if we could use the traditional iNaturalist project to help answer specific questions raised by our Science team. Initially we had an idea for a fungi project (more on that later this year!) but as that lent itself to an autumn survey and we were impatient to get started we scratched our heads for a neat spring project, something that everyone could get behind and that would also help inform our advice on planting for pollinator insects – and hey presto, the Bumbles on Blooms idea was hatched.

Why bumblebees?

Bumblebees just seemed like the perfect subject; the queens start emerging from their overwintering burrows in February, of all the bee species in the UK bumblebees are a group most people wouldn’t have too much difficulty recognising (even if not to species level) and, when visiting flowers bumblebees are pretty relaxed about letting humans snap their photo. We also undertake Beewalks at a number of our RHS Gardens so it’s a pollinator group we have some experience in. That said, we aren’t the bumblebee experts so at the early planning stage we hooked up with the helpful folks at Bumblebee Conservation Trust who were happy to support us by letting us point to their excellent online materials, such as how to photograph bumblebees and a video explaining how to tell the ‘Big 8’ most common species apart.

Why flowers in parks and gardens?

Planted spaces – residential gardens, allotments, parks – are where we love to grow lots of trees, shrubs and flowers and collectively they contribute a significant amount of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects to forage on. This is especially true in urban areas. The diversity of flowering plants we like to grow and the desire by gardeners to have things in flower in all seasons means these plants are well placed to supplement wild flowers. This is particularly true at the ends of the season when the vagaries of climate change can put additional pressure on insects. In spring, finding a ready and reliable source of nectar to fuel activity is critical for queen bumblebees. And ditto for pollen which is fed to developing larvae back in the nest. As spring progresses the workers take up the challenge of collecting pollen so February to May* is make or break time for bumblebee colonies. The data we gather from Bumbles on Blooms will help us strengthen our RHS Plants for Pollinator lists and recommendations we give gardeners on the best plants for supporting bumblebees in spring.

*RHS Bumbles on Blooms runs from 12 February to 31 May 2024

What else are we asking participants of Bumbles on Blooms?

In addition to asking what flower the bumblebee is on (this is an optional question, though we would ask that an extra photo of the flower on its own is added to the record if you don’t know so that our team can try to identify it), we are also curious to discover if bumblebees have any preferences for flower colour during the spring months, and how urban or rural the site is where the record is taken. Some studies suggest that the extreme ends of the urban to rural gradient may be less favourable to pollinating insects (and wildlife in general) than in the middle so it would be nice to see if our project supports this.

So please spread the word. Details on taking part can be found on the RHS Website and the iNaturalistUK project Bumbles on Blooms.  

As this is a traditional project you will need to take an action join the project and share your observations. More details on how to do this are in the 'How do I take part?' section on the RHS website

Or if you want to learn more about using iNaturalistUK and traditional projects read this tutorial on Adding Observations to a Traditional Project.

Posted on 21 February, 2024 10:48 by giselle_s giselle_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

06 February, 2024

Observation Accuracy Experiment


One of iNaturalist's core goals is generating high-quality biodiversity data to advance science and conservation. They are launching some experiments to better understand the accuracy of these data. The results of the first one are explained in this blog post We estimate the accuracy of Research Grade observations to be 95% correct!

Take a look at the results to see how the experiment was undertaken and find out more detail. Keep in mind that these results are drawn from a relatively small sample size, but this is the first quantitative accuracy estimate they've had.

Posted on 06 February, 2024 12:34 by giselle_s giselle_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

30 January, 2024

NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording 2024


Know someone who's recording wildlife through iNaturalistUK and really making a difference?  Why not nominate them for a 2024 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording?  You can even nominate yourself! Closes: 3 April 2024

Posted on 30 January, 2024 14:43 by giselle_s giselle_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

11 January, 2024

Marine Highlights of 2023!

It was great to see that numbers of Saint Piran’s hermit crab (Clibanarius erythropus) are steadily rising along the south west coast of the UK, with dozens of sightings being reported to iNaturalistUK last year. Saint Piran’s hermit crab disappeared from our shores in the late 1980’s and has only recently reappeared. Unlike other hermit crabs their claws are of equal size and have black tips with electric blue and red stripes along their legs.

Increased numbers of bioluminescent crystal jellyfish (Genus Aequorea) were also reported towards the end of the summer in 2023, this delicate species are not commonly seen in the UK, usually preferring warmer waters. They are easily identified by their many tentacles (up to 150!) and fine white lines radiating from their centres.

The data collected by iNaturalistUK users is invaluable as it helps scientists globally to identify changes in our oceans.

Posted on 11 January, 2024 10:25 by julbun julbun | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

09 January, 2024

How and why to update observation licences

 

What are licences and how do they work?

When you join iNaturalist you are presented with a “Yes, license my photos and observations so that they can be used by scientists” checkbox. Checking this adds a default Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC) to your content.

A licence is an agreement you make with someone who wants to use your property. By law in most places, content like photos are a kind of intellectual property and you have the right to control how your photos are copied in certain situations. Creative Commons (CC) licences are a bit different: they are licences you apply that allow anyone to use your intellectual property without having to negotiate with you individually and without having to pay you, as long as the terms of the licence are respected, e.g. that they give you credit. This provides content authors with some legal controls while allowing content users to utilize and remix that content without fear of a lawsuit.

iNaturalist offers users a number of licence options including ‘No licence (all rights reserved)’.

What licence should be used for UK observations?

In line with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility’s (GBIF) approach to data licensing (see this article from 2014) the NBN Atlas and iRecord require that all iNaturalist data shared to them are on one of three licences:

The NBN Atlas is the UK node for GBIF and with the agreement of its data providers it regularly shares records from UK-based datasets with GBIF. Please note that the NBN Atlas does not accept Share-alike (SA) or No-derivatives (ND) licences. You can read more about data licences on the NBN Atlas Help Page.

It is possible to license observations separately to your sounds or photos. So you may, for example, want to license your observation as CCO and photos as CC-BY-NC.

Why does it matter?

If your observation is not licensed with one of these three licences it can’t be pooled together with other UK data sets allowing us to build up a full picture of the UK’s biodiversity. It will also not be passed to GBIF by iNaturalist as part of their regular exports.

The ideal is that all observations are licensed as CC0 or CC-BY. However, we recognise that this may not be appropriate for all users for all observations. Currently only around 30% of observations are assigned a CC0 or CC-BY licence.

How to check which licence is attached to your observations

Log into iNaturalistUK: Account Settings > Content and Display. Scroll down the page to 'Licensing'. Select the relevant licence using the drop down arrows. Remember to Save Settings.

On the iNaturalist Android App: Settings > Default Licenses. Click on the relevant licence to change it.
iOS users will need to make the change on the website.

How to edit individual observation licences

To edit photos on an individual observation

Within iNaturalistUK:

  • Select an observation > Edit
  • Click ‘View Original’ under your photo
  • Click on Edit Licence next to ‘Attribution’

On the iNaturalist App

  • Click on observation and click the edit icon
  • Within Edit Observation click on the image
  • Click the three dots
  • Select Edit Photo License

To edit the licence of an individual observation including sounds

Within iNaturalistUK:

  • Go to observation
  • Click on the drop down arrow next to 'Edit' and select Edit License. You can also edit the licence that applies to all your other observations through this route.

On the iNaturalist App

  • Click on observation and click the edit icon
  • Within Edit Observation click on the three dots
  • Select Edit Observation License

Further Reading

iNaturalistUK and its place in biological recording data flow

Licensing milestone for data access in GBIF.org

iNaturalist Licensed Observation Images in the Amazon Open Data Sponsorship Program

iNaturalist Blog – photo licences

You can also find more help and guidance within the iNatForum

 

Posted on 09 January, 2024 10:21 by giselle_s giselle_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

07 December, 2023

Chinese Mitten Crabs

There have recently been dozens of new reports of the invasive non-native Chinese mitten crab as they migrate downstream to waters of higher salinity in preparation to breed, sometimes travelling across land to reach their destination. Our furry friends have been appearing in back gardens and allotments across the country with one appearing outside a Sheffield pub and another spending the day at the Italian fountains in Kensington Gardens!

Identifiable by their brown furry, white tipped claws, the Chinese mitten crab is the only freshwater crab found in the UK and, on a more serious note, causes extensive damage to our river banks, modifying habitats and competing with native wildlife. They are classed as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species and it is important that we monitor their distribution.

Posted on 07 December, 2023 11:05 by julbun julbun | 0 comments | Leave a comment

iNaturalist 2023 Year in Review Deep Dive — Live!

Thursday 14 December at 5 pm.

Register to Join. 

It's been an exciting year at iNaturalist — we became an independent nonprofit, our community surpassed 150 million observations and to cap it off, we're holding our first ever live, virtual event hosted by Carrie Seltzer, iNaturalist’s Head of Engagement. You're invited to join us to take a look back at 2023 and:

  • Hear from iNaturalist's Executive Director Scott Loarie about the global Year in Review and how your iNaturalist observations are advancing science and conservation.
  • Explore the personal Year in Review feature with our new board member Cat Chang, who is also an iNaturalist user with more than 43,000 observations of her own and 248,000 identifications for others on the platform.
  • Learn how to generate and share your own personal iNaturalist Year in Review.
  • Hear what's ahead for iNaturalist and how you can be involved.
  • Submit questions for a Q&A with Carrie, Scott, and Cat.
Posted on 07 December, 2023 09:02 by giselle_s giselle_s | 3 comments | Leave a comment

06 December, 2023

Year in Review 2023 is ready!

Year in Review iNaturalistUK 2023 stats

You can view your personal Year in Review via the link on the iNaturalistUK Year in Review or use the URL https://uk.inaturalist.org/stats/2023/you.

The stats will be refreshed every every Sunday in December and on January 1st so there is still time to add any sightings or identifications.

Posted on 06 December, 2023 10:34 by giselle_s giselle_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

07 November, 2023

Get ready for iNaturalistUK - Year in Review 2023

Every year in December, iNaturalist produces annual usage stats - the Year in Review. Since December 2021 these have also been available for iNaturalistUK. Your 2023 activity will be available to view from 01 December 2023. To makes sure your stats include all your sightings this is a great time to review your observations and make any updates. This can include improving your identifications, adding those observations that are still sat on your camera or assisting others by a helping to ID species that you know. You can also take the opportunity to review your observation licence to allow your sighting to be of most benefit to the national recording schemes and local environmental records centres. (CC0 or CC-BY is ideal. Read more here.)

See last years results

iNaturalist Global 2022 Year in Review

iNaturalistUK 2022 Year in Review

To view your personal Year in Review follow the link shown from the iNaturalist or iNaturalistUK Year in Review page or https://uk.inaturalist.org/stats/2022/you

To view stats from other years use the URL https://uk.inaturalist.org/stats/[YEAR]/[USERNAME]

To view any previous year for iNaturalist use the URL https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/[YEAR] e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2019

Posted on 07 November, 2023 10:16 by giselle_s giselle_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

05 October, 2023

iNaturalist directors interviewed!

 

Orange Tip (G Sterry)

 

Following on from iNaturalist's announcement of becoming an independent non-profit organisation, co-directors Scott Loarie & Ken-ichi Ueda were interviewed on an American public radio station for an hour-long show talking about the origins, impacts, and aspirations of iNaturalist. You can hear the recording here. Alternatively it can be found on a podcast platform. For example listen on Google Podcasts. It's an interesting conversation and includes views of users. Worth a listen!

Posted on 05 October, 2023 09:12 by giselle_s giselle_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment