Sam Hartzler

Joined: Oct 9, 2018 Last Active: Jun 24, 2024 iNaturalist

Graduate student in the biological sciences PhD program at Purdue University. B. S. in microbiology from Purdue University. While my current interests revolve around pathogen-host interactions and structural biology methods, I have extensive experience in various disciplines in biology, including cell and molecular biology and cancer research, ecology and evolution, physiology, immunology and agricultural applications of genetics.

I also minored in Wildlife Science as an undergraduate and maintain a strong interest in ecological research and exploring the biodiversity especially in my local county (Tippecanoe, Indiana). I am most active as a birder, and store all my bird data with the eBird project: https://ebird.org/profile/NzYwMTkw/US. Some of these sightings which have photo vouchers are also recorded on this site. I also contribute noteworthy or mystery sightings to BugGuide (username mothmadness). I am currently trying to integrate all my photographic records into iNaturalist. I am working to document all my records in a personal database with more detailed documentation - feel free to reach out via DM if you think this data would be useful for your project. For full transparency, my methods are described below.

While I believe iNaturalist (and any other citizen science project) is inherently flawed and can produce inaccurate datasets, I strongly believe in the importance of keeping my observations - especially insects - publicly viewable.

Favorite taxa: If it isn't a bird (Lark Sparrow, Elegant Trogon, Killdeer) then it's got to be Petrophila moths. Check them out! Currently have recorded three species in my county.

Some interesting observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/148912892
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/173710072

Heat map of sightings:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/map?user_id=sam_hartzler&fbclid=IwAR1v2ja3mwJ91aEczcENdmTdAFlsvMMQ0TQv_vB-tgqobQ30IR_eXj9GHa4#2/-1.318/-10.239


Personal Observations Methods

Birds: All sightings submitted via eBird checklists. Photos are added to inaturalist. Rare or unusual sightings are documented with eBird checklist hyperlinks containing more detailed descriptions and location information. IDs are independent of AI suggestions (yes, including Merlin!).

Mammals, Herps, Fish, etc.: Sightings have my best attempt at an ID, independent of AI suggestions.

Arthropods: Most of my sightings contain my own attempts at ID. For those that I've used AI to identify, I try (usually!) to leave these at genus level or higher to avoid artificially inflating my observation counts. At some point in the future (i.e. my Argia observations) I will return and try to narrow down the IDs. Especially during the summer, I simply take too many photos to keep up with researching IDs.

Other forms of life: Still working on these! AI heavily used especially for plants. Focusing on learning trees for now.


Identification Methods

My primary areas of interest and experience are birds, moths, and odonates, but I have taken ID courses on herps, fish, and mammals as well. I primarily identify animals in Indiana.

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