Archive by Author | mwdenslow

Holiday Cards

Invertebrate Time Machine is back

Hey, time travelers! California Academy of Sciences’ two maiden Invertebrate Time Machine expeditions were completed in record time, with both expeditions finished in a little over a month and we’re ready to launch another round of expeditions! Transcribers on this NfN project are having great time entering historical data from museum specimen label cards, while learning a little bit about marine invertebrates plus global and marine geography.

Thanks to more than 21,000 Notes from Nature classifications we’ve discovered data for loads of important historical specimens, including marine worms and brittle star specimens collected in the 1920’s and 1940’s by Ed Ricketts (early pioneer of marine ecology with a fascinatingly unconventional biography who served as inspiration for the character “Doc” in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row) alongside deep-water longfinger hermit crabs collected in 1893 by a USFC Steamer “Albatross” expedition in the Bering Sea…and thousands more. All of this newly transcribed data will be made available to scientists (and everyone else) online. A huge thank you to our wonderful team of ITM expedition transcribers for making our first launch so successful!

This week we’ve launched two new expeditions: one Specimen Data II for transcribing species names and specimen related data and another Collecting Event Data II for transcribing Locality and other collecting event details. We’ve also made it possible for participants to earn Decade Badges for expedition Collecting Event Data so you can add more badges to your Notes from Nature Field Book as you transcribe collecting data from various decades. We’re thrilled to have your help with this project and look forward to having you aboard again!

Christina Piotrowski
Collections Manager of Invertebrate Zoology, California Academy of Sciences

Website issues

Hi Everyone,

As some of you noted we are having some issues with one of our domains ( Our team is working on resolving that issue as soon as possible. While we deal with that note that you can still access our main landing page by going to In addition, all Project pages are working fine. For example, Capturing California’s Flowers , Terrestrial Parasite Tracker and all 21 currently active Projects are fully functional.

Thank you for your patience,

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2020 appreciation

We closed out the last day of WeDigBio with almost 9,000 classifications (8,999 to be exact)! That puts Notes from Nature at 28,956 for the entire event.

We are so very thankful and in awe of your contributions the last several days. WeDigBio was another huge success! We logged over 28,900 classifications, hosted well attended science talks. On top of that we continue to see lots of great activity today (> 4,000 classifications today so far).

We want to express our appreciation to everyone who contributed. Thanks to all the data providers, scientists, moderators, talk presenters and the Zooniverse team for keeping the system running behind the scenes. Most of all our appreciation goes out to all the volunteers, whether you did 1 classification or 1,000 your contributions are sincerely appreciated and every classification that is completed brings us closer to filling gaps in our knowledge of global biodiversity and our natural heritage.

There are still lots of expeditions from a wide variety of organisms. We hope you found the event rewarding and return again soon.

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2020, Day 3 Summary

Thanks to everyone that joined us during Day 3 of WeDigBio 2020! Notes from Nature received over 6,600 classifications. That’s an amazing amount of effort.

We hope everyone is enjoying the last day of WeDigBio 2020 and if you get and extra moment please consider helping some expeditions reach completion today. You can always check progress on our main stats page. We got a few over 90% complete.

As always we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave us some thoughts on the main Notes from Nature Talk board or you can always send a direct message to the Project Coordinator Michael @md68135 too.

— The Notes from Nature

WeDigBio 2020, Day 2 Summary

It was another productive and exciting day of WeDigBio. Notes from Nature received over 6,900 classifications. Again, Expedition Arctic Botany and Invertebrate Time Machine saw lots of great activity. In addition, 5 projects saw over 500 classifications each. A special shout out to the Plants of Arkansas group who hosted a wonderful online talk. They will be another one tomorrow.

We hope everyone enjoys Day 3! While we always encourage you to work on the expeditions that most interest you, it’s also nice to see some expeditions completed during the event. You can always check out our statistics page to see the status of the various expeditions. At the time of writing two expeditions are over 90% complete and could use some love to help them get across the finish line. They are Plants of Northern Arkansas: Glade Quest (Part 2) and Spring Poppies, Jacks, Sedums, Beauties, Valerians, and Violets – Spring Refresher.

— The Notes from Nature Team

WeDigBio 2020, Day 1 Summary

It was an exciting first day of WeDigBio. We started off with 13 Projects, 32 expeditions. There is really something for everyone from plants to butterflies and marine invertebrates to name a few. So please stop by Notes from Nature over the next few days and give them a try.

We even launched a new Project (Invertebrate Time Machine), which had a great day yesterday with over 800 classifications. Expedition Arctic Botany also had a fantastic day with over 1,300 classifications. In total Notes from Nature received over 6,300 classifications.

We are excited and ready for Day 2. A reminder that we have a public talk today as well. We also hope that some of you are enjoying your new badge right about now.

In gratitude,

— The Notes from Nature Team

Podcast featuring Notes from Nature

Cultural Heritage Institutions and Citizen Science – Part 2 is a podcast that was released today.

Here is a summary:

This episode, our second that looks at community and citizen science in cultural heritage institutions, explores how natural history museums use crowdsourcing to unlock the potential of biodiversity collections for research and education. Justin Schell talks to researchers and volunteers involved in the Notes From Nature project, which is one of the largest crowdsourcing projects focused on natural history information. 


We hope you enjoy it.

— The Notes from Nature Team

Jumping into the Field Museum Flea Collection

The Field Museum is participating in the NSF-funded Terrestrial Parasite Tracker (TPT), a collaboration of taxonomists and curators from 22 institutions with vertebrate and invertebrate collections, aiming to digitize 1.2+ million arthropod specimens to trace parasite-host associations and predict the spread of vector-borne disease in the U.S.. This digitization effort integrates millions of vertebrate records with vector and disease monitoring data shared by state and federal agency collaborators, creating a novel foundation for integrative, long-term research – and you can help!

Join us on our new Notes from Nature expedition “Jumping into the Field Museum Flea Collection”. Fleas (Order Siphonaptera) are small, highly-specialized external parasites of mammals and birds. Adults have no wings, their mouthparts are adapted for sucking blood, and their enlarged hind legs allow them to jump many times their body size. There are approximately 2,500 different species of fleas known to science, and many are mechanical vectors of disease, with the potential to transmit pathogens from mammalian hosts to humans. For this expedition, we digitally imaged over a thousand slide-mounted specimens from the Lewis Flea Collection, one of the largest in the world. You will help us transcribe the information from the slides’ labels, such as the species name, when and where the specimen was collected, on what host it was found, who was the collector, and so on. Hope you will join us!

— Maureen Turcatel, Collections Manager, Insects The Field Museum

Cool Colias

The Orange Sulphur, Colias eurytheme is a bright orange butterfly that is one of the most common butterflies in the United States, southern Canada and north Mexico. The common name is Alfalfa Butterfly. As a caterpillar it likes to munch on alfalfa, and clover, and other legumes. This species looks similar to other species and often hybridizes. However Colias eurytheme has a slightly different UV reflectance pattern on the wings and produces unique pheromones to attract mates.

Most specimens (but not all) have three images per moth, dorsal and ventral, and label data. Occasionally there are 2 label data images. The reason for this is because there sometimes is critical information on the back of labels. So be sure to check all images! While checking both images, look at the amazing shapes and minute coloration of the moth. Thank you so much for your help!

Transcription generally follows standard Notes from Nature protocols. Please be sure to write all pertinent information to the corresponding field. Please type all label data exactly as written on the label. The one field that is unique to McGuire is sampling protocol (collection method). This is how the person collected the specimen. It could be net, but often with moths it is some type of trap or light. Please write verbatim what is on the label.

— Laurel Kaminsky,

Digitization Manager, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity

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