Archive by Author | mwdenslow

R. Dale Thomas

We wanted to share the news of the passing of R. Dale Thomas. He was born November 12, 1936 and died May 28, 2022. He was a professor of botany and curator of the herbarium at University of Louisiana at Monroe, Louisiana U.S.A.

His specimens have been a common feature on Notes from Nature over the years and his contributions to our knowledge of plant diversity were enormous. He is likely the most prolific plant collector ever with over 174,000 specimens.

He shared his knowledge of plants with his community, generations of students, and researchers around the world. His specimens are now housed at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. The following images show R. Dale Thomas visiting the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in 2018 to make sure his collections were all in order after the transfer from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

We’d like to take this moment to honor his legacy and his monumental contribution to the knowledge of the natural world. To see some of his specimens check out our current Notes from Nature expedition called Dr. Thomas’s Treasures from the Southeastern US & BEYOND #2 which is focused on his specimens.

You can also view many of his specimens on the SERNEC data portal.

This fern specimen was collected by R. Dale Thomas in 1992. This was one of his favorite ferns and a place he often collected with his children.

Full Obituary: Roy Dale Thomas’s obituary

— The Notes from Nature Team

Help us finish Rise of the Machines

Many thanks to all that have helped with Label Babel 3 – Rise of the Machines so far. This expedition is now 78% complete, so we could still use some more help.

For Label Babel 3 – Rise of the Machines we’re asking for your help with the label segmentation part of our Digi-Leap workflow. Label segmentation is the process of automatically pulling the labels off of the specimen images. This process makes the next step of text extraction more effective since there will be less clutter in the image. The results of our previous expedition were promising, but we recently realized that we wanted to further refine the model. For this expedition we’ll focus on showing you how the labels are getting segmented and ask you to evaluate the results.

Please log on and do 10 classifications on Label Babel 3 – Rise of the Machines today! We are anxiously awaiting the results so we can feed them back into our model.

– The Notes from Nature Team

Big Bee Bonanza

Our collections have been busy bees all a-buzz getting this project ready to launch – and now it’s finally ready! Want to help us save the bees from the comfort of your laptop, tablet, or other electronic device? We thought you might 🙂

The Notes from Nature project, Big Bee Bonanza, was created as part of the Big-Bee network, which brings together collections from all over the US that have, you guessed it – bees that need to be digitized! With this project you will be helping scientists to track changes in bee body size across geographic space and time. We will be able to answer many important questions such as, Are bees bigger at higher elevations? Are they smaller during drought years? What plants do bees like the best? You can help researchers answer these and many other questions about bee biodiversity, which will in turn help provide the information needed to try and save these amazing creatures.

The Big Bee Bonanza project has two very different kinds of expeditions you can help with. The first kind is similar to other Notes from Nature projects where you can help us transcribe important label data from bee specimen labels. While this may not seem that important, this information is crucial for tracking species through time and space and monitoring their populations. We have also added a host plant field to our label digitization projects. Host plants are often recorded on bee specimen labels and it refers to the flower the bee was visiting at the time it was collected. Believe it or not, we still don’t know a whole lot about what flowers bees need for pollen and nectar, so this is super useful information!

The second kind of expedition is brand new for the Notes from Nature forum. For these expeditions, we ask you to measure bee body size using a novel measurement tool! In these expeditions, you will get up close and personal with beautiful bees (by zooming in on your screen!), set a scale bar, and measure the distance between wing pads, or tegulae (the bits that look like 1990s shoulder pads – make sure you watch the how-to video we made).  The measurement you take can be used to approximate bee body weight and overall size. This is critical information for learning about both individual and population-level bee health. With so many bees that we still need to learn about, we need your help to collect this data. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get a close-up look at bees from around the world!

Thank you for your help and we look forward to hearing from you about this new tool and answering your bee questions.

Get involved and give the project a try!

– Katja Seltmann, UC Santa Barbara, Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration

– Erika Tucker, Milwaukee Public Museum & Biodiversity Outreach Network (BON)

9th Anniversary!

Happy 9th Anniversary to Notes from Nature!

It’s been 9 amazing years. We wouldn’t be here without our wonderful volunteers, science partners, data providers, the Zooniverse team and of course for our sponsor the National Science Foundation, so today we are celebrating all of you and the contributions that you’ve made.

As always we’d love for you to visit Notes from Nature and do a few transcriptions today! We’d also like to invite you to join our new email list. You can sign up here: https://mailchi.mp/b98cfe95091f/notes-from-nature . This is a new list we are going to use for occasional announcements and information about the project. Note that we won’t share the list with anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time.

With gratitude,

The Notes from Nature Team

Label Babel 3 – Rise of the Machines

We are excited to announce our next installment in the Digi-Leap series. The Digi-Leap project is focused on developing workflows to accelerate specimen digitization and make the data broadly available to museums and stakeholders alike. 

In this newest installment we’ll be asking for your help again with the label segmentation part of our workflow. Label segmentation is the process of automatically pulling the labels off of the specimen images. This process makes the next step of text extraction more effective since there will be less clutter in the image. The results of our previous expedition were promising, but we recently realized that we wanted to further refine the model. For this expedition we’ll focus on showing you how the labels are getting segmented and ask you to evaluate the results.

Please give Label Babel 3 – Rise of the Machines a try and let us know what you think.

– The Notes from Nature Team

Celebrate Earth Week and Earth Day with Notes from Nature

It’s Earth Week and Earth Day is coming up on April 22. We can all help the planet by continuing to document natural history specimens all around the world! Remember that all of the data generated on Notes from Nature makes its way to public biodiversity portals for anyone to use for science, education, art or whatever.

Please consider logging into Notes from Nature this week and classifying some specimens. There are lots of fun expeditions to work on.

— The Notes from Nature Team

That’s a wrap! WeDigBio 2022

We closed out the last day of WeDigBio with over 2,902 classifications. That puts Notes from Nature at over 13,300 for the entire event. It was also a big week in general with over 18,500 classifications.

Thanks to all the moderators, presenters and as always the Zooniverse team for keeping the system running behind the scenes. Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all the volunteers without whom we literally wouldn’t exist! Your contributions are critical and every classification is so important.

The good news is that Notes from Nature is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so if you enjoyed yourself please come back and consider spreading the word.

There are still lots of expeditions from a wide variety of organisms available on our site. 

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2022 – Day 2 Highlights

There was lots of great WeDigBio activity yesterday. We received over 3,500 classifications. With that said, what really stood out from yesterday was all the wonderful activity and engagement. There was an enthusiastic talk about the history of the University of Arkansas herbarium, whose history spans almost 150 years.

Slide from Jennifer Ogle presentation on the history of the University of Arkansas herbarium.

The library symposium was very well attended. In case you missed it, The Biodiversity Heritage Library slides by Martin Kalfatovic have already been posted.

We also noticed a lot of new people commenting on our Talk boards and trying out new expeditions. We wouldn’t be where we are without all of your comments, thoughts and suggestions. We so appreciate each and every one of you.

We hope everyone is enjoying Day 3. Please help us spread the word and encourage others to participate.

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2022 – Day 1

It was a fun and exciting first day of WeDigBio. In total Notes from Nature received over 4,700 classifications. Our Florida and Arkansas plant expeditions were particularly popular. The highest numbers were for our recently launched Digitizing Biological Collections in Canada Project. It received over 1,200 classifications as well as lots of great questions and observations.

Remember that we have a symposium today on the Critical Roles of Libraries in Understanding Earth’s Biota. There is still time to register and join in.

Thanks,

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio starts tomorrow!

The Notes from Nature team is excited for the start of WeDigBio tomorrow! WeDigBio (Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections) is a global data campaign, virtual science festival, and local outreach opportunity all rolled into one. This 4-day, twice-a-year event mobilizes participants to create digital data about biodiversity specimens.

Notes from Nature is hosting lots of exciting expeditions featuring plants, moths, mammals, fleas and more! Remember to complete 10 transcriptions to earn your WeDigBio 2021 badge.

Also, be sure to check out our newest Project, Digitizing Biological Collections in Canada.

There are lots of cool events that you can attend online. There is still time to register for the special Symposium on The Critical Roles of Libraries in Understanding Earth’s Biota which will take place on Friday.

— The Notes from Nature Team

%d bloggers like this: