Archive by Author | mwdenslow

WeDigBio Appreciation

We closed out the last day of WeDigBio with over 4,400 classifications. That puts Notes from Nature at 21,834 for the entire event. We are so very thankful for all the contributions and support. WeDigBio was another success and Notes from Nature is thrilled to be involved in this ongoing event.

Thanks to all the data providers, scientists, moderators, presenters and the Zooniverse team for keeping the system running behind the scenes. Most of all, our appreciation goes out to all the volunteers. Your contributions are critical and every classification that is completed brings us closer to filling gaps in our knowledge of global biodiversity.

We also passed an amazing milestone of 3 million classifications during the event making it extra special this time around. We hope you found the event rewarding and that you will come back soon. There are still lots of expeditions from a wide variety of organisms available on our site. 

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2021, Day 3

Notes from Nature received over 4,000 classifications during day 3. We also celebrated a big milestone yesterday. Stop by Notes from Nature and check out our new background image in honor of the occasion.

We ended the day with a fascinating and well attended talk by Theo Witsell about rare plants of Arkansas. It featured many amazing plants and habitats and was complimented by Theo’s wonderful photography. Stay tuned for a video of the talk for those that want to see it.

Ouachita Twistflower (Streptanthus squamiformis), a Ouachita Mountains endemic, grows in sandstone and shale glades in three counties of southwestern Arkansas and one county in southeastern Oklahoma, photo by Brent Baker.

There is still lots of content on Notes from Nature to choose from. Please stop by, do a few classifications today and help spread the word.

— The Notes from Nature Team

3 Million

This week Notes from Nature reached another big milestone. We reached over 3 million classifications on our current platform.

The first million took 994 days and we reached 2 million 493 days later and now 3 million 455 days after that! Thanks to all of you that have contributed and helped spread the word.

We have reached some big milestones before as we have upgraded our platform a few times over the years. This puts our current total well over 4 million for the life of Notes from Nature.

These big milestones are great, but remember that each classification is important and we value each and every volunteer who has helped get us to this point!

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2021 – Day 2

It was a fun and productive day 2 of WeDigBio. Notes from Nature received over 5,100 classifications. We had a well attended public talk with Joe Miller from GBIF. Remember that our last public talk will be later today. More information and registration.

Our friends at Oregon State University had a particularly productive event which captured over 900 classifications. Check out some of the pictures from the event on their Twitter page.

We hope everyone is enjoying Day 3. We may even reach a major milestone today, so keep an eye out for announcements about that too.

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2021 – Day 1 

It was a fun and productive first day of WeDigBio. In total Notes from Nature received over 6,000 classifications. Our Florida plants and California beetles were particularly popular.

A specimen (left) and field image (right) of Oblique-lined Tiger Beetle Cicindela tranquebarica. Left image Dan MacNeal CC BY.

Remember that we have another science talk today featuring Joe Miller who will talk about GBIF. More information and registration. Also keep an eye on our stats page as we may just reach another milestone!

— The Notes from Nature team

WeDigBio starts tomorrow and a milestone

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 will be hosting lots of exciting expeditions featuring plants, beetles, flies, mammals, and even fleas. Remember to complete 10 transcriptions to earn your WeDigBio 2021 badge.

We are also hosting 3 live science talks: 

Lastly, Notes from Nature is approaching a major milestone: 3 million transcriptions completed on our current platform. With your help, it might even happen during the event.Log on and help us celebrate this amazing milestone.

We will also be using the hashtag #WeDigBio on Twitter and Facebook. We will also postsome blog updates during the event.

With appreciation, 

The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio Talk (How GBIF integrates and shares biodiversity data)

We are excited to announce the last in our series of talks for WeDigBio. This talk will be presented by Dr. Joe Miller, Executive Secretary of GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility).

The talk is titled: After digitization – how GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) integrates and shares biodiversity data.

It will take place this Friday, October 15th at 2pm eastern (UTC -4).

GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth. The world has thousands of natural history museums holding billions of records about where and when a species has been observed. GBIF combines all this information together so that anyone can easily access it for scientific research, government policy or for general interest. GBIF also tracks how the data is used so that museum workers, administrators and volunteers can see the remarkable and unintended ways people use free and open access data.  GBIF has grown to share many types of data besides museum specimens and now share nearly 2 billion data points. This talk will describe what happens to digitized data once it is set free.

To register in advance for this meeting:

We hope to see you there,

— The Notes from Nature team

WeDigBio, coming soon!

WeDigBio is happening later this week. This 4 day event will take place from October 14-17.

We hope you’ll join us for transcription fun, science talks and other activities. You can preregister for the science talks happening Thursday and Saturday.

Remember you can also earn your WeDigBio badge by doing 10 classifications anytime during the event!

Looking forward to it,

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio Talk (Biases in Citizen Science data)

We are excited to announce a second WeDigBio talk.

This talk will be presented by Michael Belitz from University of Florida. The title is ‘Addressing biases in citizen science data to document phenology patterns at broad spatial and taxonomic scales.’

It will take place October 14th at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (UTC -4). A short described and registration information is posted below. We hope you can make it!


Shifts in the timing of seasonal events (i.e., phenology) are one of the most immediate and apparent responses to global climate change, but data limitations have made examining phenology patterns across greater taxonomic, spatial, and temporal scales challenging. One growing opportunity is leveraging rapidly increasing data resources from citizen science platforms. However, these are biased spatially and taxonomically, potentially leading to erroneous biological conclusions if appropriate data curation and modeling strategies are not used. Here, I will present recent research exploring the novel methods of estimating phenology metrics using incidental citizen science observations. I will the accuracy of phenology estimators across a suite of simulated and empirical examples, and I will also present a case study that showcases a framework that can be used to answer fundamental questions of insect phenology across broad spatial and phylogenetic scales using citizen science records from iNaturalist. Collectively, incidental citizen science data provides a sizable resource for phenological research and continued work to integrate the strengths and weaknesses inherent to these data promises to provide critical insight into pressing ecological issues.

Register in advance for this meeting:–qpjkoHNAYhLgTAt_Quusbg17pfRDQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

WeDigBio Talk (Arkansas rare plants)

WeDigBio is just a week away! We are getting ready for the event and want to announce the first in a series of talks that everyone is invited to.

Calcareous cliff at Campbell Hollow, photo by Theo Witsell.

The first is will be presented by Theo Witsell, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission Chief of Research and Inventory / Ecologist / ANHC Herbarium curator. It is titled “The Significance of Cliff and Talus Communities as Habitats for Rare Plant Species in the Interior Highlands of Arkansas” and will be held on Saturday, October 16 from 7-8:00 pm central time (UTC -5). A description of the talk is below.

To register in advance for this meeting:

Left: Arkansas Springbeauty (Claytonia arkansana) grows in rock crevices of sandstone cliffs in three counties in the Interior Highlands of Arkansas, photo by Theo Witsell. Right: Ouachita Twistflower (Streptanthus squamiformis), a Ouachita Mountains endemic, grows in sandstone and shale glades in three counties of southwestern Arkansas and one county in southeastern Oklahoma, photo by Brent Baker.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join.

The Plants of Arkansas project has hosted many expeditions with plants collected from the Interior Highlands for almost three years. In this presentation, you can learn about the cliff and talus communities in Arkansas, which are known to support many state and globally significant plant species of conservation concern, yet no systematic analysis of these habitats or the rare species they support has been conducted.  Cliff and talus habitats in the Interior Highlands (the Ozark Plateaus, Boston Mountains, Arkansas Valley, and Ouachita Mountains) are typically associated with medium- to large-sized streams, but also occur in association with faults and other geologic contacts.  These habitats have been heavily impacted by inundation following the construction of several large reservoirs on many of the larger stream systems, most notably the White River system in the Ozark Plateau, and the Ouachita River system in the Ouachita Mountains. However, remaining habitat still supports rare species.  An overview of the flora of conservation concern in these communities will be presented in terms of ecoregion, geologic substrate, moisture gradient (wet to xeric), and physical site characteristics such as microhabitat, slope, and aspect. Several of the plants of conservation concern in these habitats are endemic to the Interior Highlands and others represent significant range disjunctions. Biogeographical patterns of these rare species present will also be discussed. Important endemic plant taxa associated with cliffs and related outcrops in the region include Amorpha ouachitensisClaytonia arkansanaDirca decipiensElymus churchiiElymus glaucus ssp. mackenzii, Heuchera villosa var. arkansanaHoustonia ouachitanaLiatris compactaQuercus acerifoliaSolidago ouachitensisStreptanthus maculatus ssp. obtusifoliusStreptanthus squamiformisTradescantia ozarkana,and Valerianella ozarkana. Appropriate management of these sites will be discussed.

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