WeDigBio 2018 Day 1 summary

WeDigFLPlants_MagnoliasWeDigBio 2018 got off to a great start! NfN received 4,663 transcriptions on day 1. That is our third most productive day ever. We are thrilled and can’t wait to see what happens with day 2.

We also want to give a special mention to the expedition with the most transcriptions during day 1. WeDigFLPlants’ Magnolias, Pawpaws, and Relatives of Florida received over 1,000 transcriptions (1104 to be exact)!

Remember to check #WeDigBio and @WeDigBio on Twitter through out the event for more exciting developments!

— The Notes from Nature Team

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Notes from Nature in the news

We are very excited about some news coverage that the Field Museum got about their WeDigBio event. Check out the video and story linked below. The event currently has over 300 people registered!

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/field-museum-volunteers-plant-specimens-catalog-497861591.html

Botany with an edge: all about sedges

Rhynchospora colorata (white-topped sedge)

Many of us have heard the phrase “Sedges have edges; rushes are round; grasses are hollow right up from the ground” in field biology classes or native plant walks. The saying helps us to distinguish the three graminoid families: the rushes (Juncaceae), grasses (Poaceae), and sedges (Cyperaceae). The sedges are a common sight in Virginia but their diversity often goes unappreciated. Like grasses, many of their distinguishing characteristics are minute.

 

This expedition will help the Virginia Tech Massey Herbarium’s specimen digitization project. We’ve been fortunate to collect a lot of sedges across Virginia over the years. This bounty leaves us a lot of transcribing though! Your contributions will add the full collection information to these specimens so that they are fully accessible online. Hopefully the transcriptions will help you become familiar with sedge diversity along the way!

Photo credits: Thanks to Tom Potterfield for allowing us to use his sedge photographs to illustrate the expedition (http://bit.ly/2Py1GPI).

— Jordan Metzgar,Curator of the Massey Herbarium (VPI)

[Editors note: This expedition is being launched as part of WeDigBio to support an event at Virginia Tech Massey Herbarium]

WeDigBio t-minus 24 hours – and a recap

 

wedigbio.org

In 2015, we launched our first WeDigBio event back when Notes from Nature was still on version 1.  Back then it was a real challenge launching new expeditions, but we managed the awesome “Crab Shack” expedition from Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.  After we transitioned to Notes from Nature 2.0, we had an amazing turn out for WeDigBio in 2016.  On our best day, we had 3,279 transcriptions and, over the four-day event , over 11,000 total transcriptions and – at the time – a record 23 active expeditions. 

If 2016 was awesome, 2017 blew us totally away.  Instead of falling back to Earth, we had 8395 transcription IN ONE DAY – still a record!  NfN had over 20 expeditions active during the event with over 19,000 transcriptions completed over the four-day event!

Here we are in 2018, just one day before launch.  How will we do this year?  How much can we support the global effort to digitize our irreplaceable biodiversity legacy?  Please consider even pitching in one transcription.   Each note you take helps make an impact.

“Nature’s Nobleman”: Botanical Legacies of William Canby (1831-1904)

CanbySince the “Age of Enlightenment”, professional scientists have received the majority of the credit for discoveries which have expanded our knowledge of the natural world. However, continuously throughout history, there have lived spirited individuals–with little or no formal training–who have made remarkable contributions to science. One of the most distinguished amateur botanists from the 19th century is railwayman and philanthropist William M. Canby (1831-1904), whose spirit of exploration is carried forward in this latest virtual expedition from NYBG.

Propelled by equal genius in banking and botany, William Canby devoted his life and personal fortune to exploring and preserving the natural world. Over his 40 year field career, Canby collected tens-of-thousands of wild plants, organized his own herbarium, and financed dozens of botanical expeditions across the United States. Rarely publishing his own observations, Canby made his impact on the study of biodiversity by collaborating extensively with botanical specialists, who employed his vast collection to discover hundreds of new plant species. Canby earned a stellar reputation among leading contemporary naturalists of his time, including Asa Gray and John Muir, who accompanied him on many expeditions. Even Charles Darwin was impressed by Canby’s acumen for observation, especially relating to insectivorous plants, such as the “venus fly trap” (Dionea).

Long before his death, Canby recognized the tremendous value that his collections could serve for the plant science community, so long as they were preserved in perpetuity and made accessible for all to use. Using today’s digital tools, modern-day citizen scientists (like you) can carry on his mission by helping to document all 30,000 of Canby’s original plant specimens that now reside within the New York Botanical Garden herbarium. Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest amature naturalists of all time, and help to advance scientific understanding through meticulous collection and sharing of data about plants!

 Join this and all other NYBG expeditions! 

— Charles Zimmerman

WeDigBio 2018 update

wedigbioHi All,

We are excitedly preparing for WeDigBio 2018! The event runs from October 18th – 21st. This is a big event for all of us at NfN and often results in a tremendous amount of activity on our site.

Check out the event list on the WeDigBio website for events that might be happening near you. Even though most of the events are onsite, anyone can still participate from wherever they are. You can track the progress on the very cool dashboard on the WeDigBio site. We will also be using the hashtag #WeDigBio on Twitter and Facebook, along with some blog updates during the event.

Please keep an eye out for lots of new expeditions launching throughout the week. We even launched a new State Spotter expedition just moments ago! As usual we’ll have lots of content on our site from herbarium specimens, to bees, butterflies and of course phenology.

— The Notes from Nature team

Results are in for our phenology expedition

We finished the Predicting Past and Present Phenology expedition last week.   Thanks to everyone who took part and helped us get this large expedition completed.   The expedition was no doubt a challenge (!) and we really appreciate all the folks who stuck with it.  What we learned is that not only is it very challenging to score phenology sheets, especially without stronger tutorials and other rubrics in place to help guide you – but it really does vary by taxonomic group just how challenging this is.  We couldn’t have guessed this, but Hamamelis virginiana (American Witch Hazel) and Taraxcum officinale (the dandelion) were by far the hardest ones to get right.  By contrast, Amelanchier canadensis (known as the Canadian serviceberry) had an 85% unanimous match rate.   

So what are we going to do with these results? We may be going back to the drawing board a little bit — since we recognize the challenge with scoring “mostly open flowers”.  Instead we might ask for just noting if there are any open flowers (or unopened flowers or fruits), as we have in the past.  We are also certainly going to be focusing on the species below that had the best results from this trial.

We learned a lot doing this, and we do plan to use the results for our continuing efforts to document past and present phenologies.  Stay tuned for the next expedition, which we expect to be a real improvement over the last one in multiple ways.  Full results are below:

Amelanchier canadensis Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks  5 35 14.29%
Amelanchier canadensis Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records   30 35 85.71%

Crataegus chrysocarpa Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 3 25 12%
Crataegus chrysocarpa No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 1 25 4%
Crataegus chrysocarpa Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 21 25 84%

Aronia melanocarpa Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 16 79 20.25%
Aronia melanocarpa Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 63 79 79.75%

Robinia pseudoacacia Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 14 76 18.42%
Robinia pseudoacacia No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 2 76 2.63%
Robinia pseudoacacia Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 60 76 78.95%

Viburnum acerifolium Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 28 130 21.54%
Viburnum acerifolium No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 2 130 1.54%
Viburnum acerifolium Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 100 130 76.92%

Acer platanoides Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 13 69 18.84%
Acer platanoides No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 2 69 2.9%
Acer platanoides Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 54 69 78.26%

Actaea rubra Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 20 82 24.39%
Actaea rubra No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 1 82 1.22%
Actaea rubra Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 61 82 74.39%

Celastrus scandens   Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 36 145 24.83%
Celastrus scandens No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 4 145 2.76%
Celastrus scandens Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 104 145 71.72%

Podophyllum peltatum Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 29 100 29%
Podophyllum peltatum No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 2 100 2%
Podophyllum peltatum Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 69 100 69%

Leucanthemum vulgare Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 32 134 23.88%
Leucanthemum vulgare No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 8 134 5.97%
Leucanthemum vulgare Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 92 134 68.66%

Celtis occidentalis Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 24 86 27.91%
Celtis occidentalis No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 4 86 4.65%
Celtis occidentalis Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 58 86 67.44%

Sassafras albidum Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 42 133 31.58%
Sassafras albidum No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 3 133 2.26%
Sassafras albidum Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 88 133 66.17%

Carya glabra Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 81 249 32.53%
Carya glabra No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 4 249 1.61%
Carya glabra Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 164 249 65.86%

Rubus pubescens Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 7 26 26.92%
Rubus pubescens No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 1 26 3.85%
Rubus pubescens Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 17 26 65.38%

Maianthemum racemosum Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 73 260 28.08%
Maianthemum racemosum No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 16 260 6.15%
Maianthemum racemosum Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 170 260 65.38%

Vaccinium angustifolium Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 17 60 28.33%
Vaccinium angustifolium No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 5 60 8.33%
Vaccinium angustifolium Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 38 60 63.33%

Cornus florida Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 66 190 34.74%
Cornus florida No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 7 190 3.68%
Cornus florida Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 117 190 61.58%

Achillea millefolium Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 164 463 35.42%
Achillea millefolium No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 22 463 4.75%
Achillea millefolium Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 276 463 59.61%

Gaylussacia baccata Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 30 75 40%
Gaylussacia baccata No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 3 75 4%
Gaylussacia baccata Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 42 75 56%

Berberis vulgaris Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 12 30 40%
Berberis vulgaris No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 2 30 6.67%
Berberis vulgaris Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 16 30 53.33%

Betula lenta Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 28 57 49.12%
Betula lenta No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 3 57 5.26%
Betula lenta Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 26 57 45.61

Hamamelis virginiana Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 88 167 52.69%
Hamamelis virginiana No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 18 167 10.78%
Hamamelis virginiana Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 60 167 35.93%

Taraxacum officinale Majority match, 2 of 3 records with 0 blanks 175 305 57.38%
Taraxacum officinale No select match on 3 records with 0 blanks 36 305 11.8%
Taraxacum officinale Unanimous match, 3 of 3 records 94 305 30.82%
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