Diario del proyecto AppState BioBlitz Fall 2023

02 de octubre de 2023

Great job everyone!

Good morning BioBlitz Team!

Wow, what a week! This was our most productive BioBlitz yet. We beat our own records for number of observations and species. It wasn't quite enough to catch up to UNCW for most observations as they went all out this time around and took an early lead. However, we did find the most species (as far as things have been identified so far) and were able to crack the 1,000 milestone on that. Here are the current numbers:

AppState: 4,485 observations, 1,021 species (1,186 taxa), 193 observers (208 project members)
UNCW: 6,554 observations, 936 species (1,057 taxa), 207 observers (233 project members)
UNCG: 1,680 observations, 418 species (468 taxa), 63 observers (69 project members)

The top three observers with the most overall observations uploaded so far are maxbird1 and leighalobelia at AppState and emma_lemon at UNCW. Great job everyone!

These numbers are still subject to change as people may still be processing and uploading images and adding identifications to observations. Remember the date that counts is the date the picture was taken, not when it was uploaded to iNaturalist. So if you took pictures but didn't get around to uploading them yet, there's still time to do so and make them count this week.

There are a few things you can help with as we try to clean up the data set:

Identifying species:
If you would like to help with IDs, check out the identification guidelines. An initial ID will start things moving and more than 1 ID with over two thirds majority will give the observation a "community taxon" and make it research grade. Keep in mind observations do not need to be research grade to count for the BioBlitz. We want our data to be as scientifically accurate as possible, so make sure you can independently verify the IDs you're adding. The iNat Computer Vision suggestions aren't always right. If you don't know what something is or how to identify it, it's better to wait for someone more knowledgeable to push things to research grade.

Marking things cultivated/not wild:
The goal of the BioBlitz is to record the wildlife on campus, so only wild organisms should count. If something is obviously not wild (e.g. domestic animals, potted plants), they should be marked "captive/cultivated" on the identify page. On the observation pages, you would do this by marking No next to "Organism is wild" near the bottom of the page.

Adding annotations:
Making annotations is another great way to add value to observations. For example, for plants you can add whether they are flowering or fruiting, or for insects whether they are larvae, pupae, or adults. These annotations are searchable and allow researchers to e.g. quickly find all the plants that were in bloom or all the caterpillars observed during this month. This is also often easy to determine even if you are not confident enough to add species IDs.

Marking your favorites:
Last but not least, if you browse the pool of observations and come across some that you think are really cool or have really great pictures, add a star to fave the observation! This will include it in the set of most popular observations from the BioBlitz and will make sure we don't miss it when we pick contenders for the best picture winners. Tip: Nearly 4,500 observations is a lot to look through. However, you can use the filters or search by species to find your favorite taxa and see if anyone made observations of them.

Great turnout everyone! Stay tuned for more updates coming soon.

Publicado el 2 de octubre de 2023 12:52 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de octubre de 2023

Last day of the BioBlitz!

Hello AppState BioBlitzers!

Today is our last day to get out there and find some more biodiversity on campus. We're doing great! UNCW still has the lead in terms of number of observations (currently 6,224 to our 3,744) but we have taken the lead on species identified: 930 so far! Can we crack the 1,000 mark?

There is still plenty of stuff around campus that we documented last fall that we haven't rediscovered yet. Here are some examples what to look for today if you are around to do some more exploring on campus properties:

Last fall, we've documented groundhogs, raccoons, and American red squirrels. Can we spot those again?

I know some of you are avid birders. Here's a list of birds we've seen last fall that we haven't spotted again yet. Some of these should be fairly common!

  • Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
  • Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
  • Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
  • Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
  • Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)
  • Southeastern Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus auratus)
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Corthylio calendula)
  • Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
  • Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
  • Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
  • Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
  • Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)
  • Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
  • Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
  • Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
  • Sora (Porzana carolina)
  • Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata coronata)
  • Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)
  • American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
  • Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitaries)
  • White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

Some of you mentioned wanting to go check for fish in our rivers. Here's a list of those we found last year that we haven't reported yet for this BioBlitz:

  • Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris)
  • White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii)
  • Mottled Sculpin (Cottus bairdii)
  • Northern Hog Sucker (Hypentelium nigricans)
  • Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)
  • Kanawha Minnow (Phenacobius teretulus)
  • Eastern Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus)
  • Longnose Dace (Rhinichthys cataractae)
  • Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)

There are still some of these to rediscover as well:

  • Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
  • Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)
  • slimy salamander complex (Plethodon glutinosus)
  • Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber)

Species of plants, insects and other invertebrates, and fungi including lichens to find again are too many to list. There is still a lot of stuff out there that we either saw last fall and haven't reported yet for this round, or not seen yet on campus at all. The list includes a couple of common weeds for the area. Don't assume just because it's everywhere it has already been documented! Many of the trees and shrubs have been covered already, so look for the small stuff.

Species numbers can still change a bit as they are based on identifications being added to observations. Not every observation can be narrowed down to a species. Good quality pictures are often needed to clearly identify something. Some tips:

  • Try to get your camera to focus on the right thing and if there are multiple organisms in the picture add a note to clarify which one you are observing.
  • Get a picture of the whole plant/animal if you can, add a note on habitat as that might be important for ID (e.g. substrate a moss or lichen is growing on).
  • Get close/zoom in for details (which details are important depends on the type of organism, e.g. for mushrooms you often need a view of the gills on the underside of the cap).
  • Try to get a few pictures from multiple angles, e.g. dorsal and lateral views of insects.
  • For flowers, also include pictures of stem and leaves as well - sometimes those provide the clues for identification.
  • For trees, buds and leaves are important - a single picture of bark often is not sufficient to identify it.
  • Once you have multiple pictures of an organism, it's important to combine them into one observation rather than upload them all separately.

The competition ends at midnight today. Let's get out there one more day and see what else we can find!

Publicado el 1 de octubre de 2023 15:48 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de septiembre de 2023

BioBlitz at the Dark Sky Observatory this afternoon

Hi all,

it looks like perfect weather out there today for some more weekend BioBlitzing! We will have the gate open and some activities planned at the Dark Sky Observatory from 1-4 PM today. We can stay until it gets dark so if you arrive late that's ok. Just stop by whenever it is convenient for you within the open gate time frame this afternoon. Drive all the way up the road to the main building for parking, or park anywhere along the side of the road (please make sure you are not blocking it).

You can download and print the PDF with map and directions from the DSO website (use the route suggested "if there are Parkway problems"). However, note that GPS will lead you on a long detour around the current Parkway closures. Here's again the quickest route (~25 minutes) to get there from Boone:
• Take US 421 S (towards Wilkesboro)
• Merge onto US 221 towards West Jefferson (ramp on the right)
• After 2.5 miles, turn right onto Idlewild Rd
• After 3.4 miles, turn right onto Phillips Gap Rd (intersection after speed limit drops to 45)
• After 2 miles, turn left onto the Blue Ridge Parkway (barricade to the right)
• Turn right at the next barricade to stay on Phillips Gap Rd
• Turn left onto Observatory Rd and go all the way to the end of the road to park at the observatory building

Progress update:
The BioBlitz is going great! We've cracked the 3,000 observations threshold with almost 841 species identified so far. Check out the project Stats for a breakdown of what has been identified so far. (The 'species' count on that page also includes observations identified to genus or family level, for example, and thus shows up higher than the actual species count.) Our three most diverse categories are 43% of our observations for plants, 23% for fungi, and 19% for insects. Good job on finding those bugs and mushrooms! Remember we're giving out prizes for most species observed in total and various subcategories. So if you are not in the running for most species overall, you could specialize in one area such as fungi or insects for another chance at a prize.

UNCW still has the lead on us for number of observations (5,753 to our 3,257 when I checked this morning), but we're much closer on their heels in terms of number of species identified so far (UNCW 883, AppState 841). I am convinced we can still win this if we have a good turnout over the weekend, or at least take the title for most species found. So let's get out there and see what else we can find!

Publicado el 30 de septiembre de 2023 12:59 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de septiembre de 2023

Gearing up for the weekend

Good morning AppState Team!

Great job on finding that biodiversity on campus! We are at 811 taxa (715 species) this morning compared to a final total of 825 taxa (709 species) last fall when we did this for the first time. We've already beaten our own record for number of species observed and identified! (The taxa count on the project pages also includes IDs at genus and higher levels. These numbers are subject to change as observations accumulate IDs.)

Overall, UNCW is still leading the pack with over 4,500 observations this morning. We made it over 2,500, and UNCG cracked the 1,000 threshold. We recruited some more observers with currently 113 actively involved, but we could still use some more. UNCW has 180 people making observations so far.

Amongst the AppState group, we have five observers now who have collected over 100 observations each. It looks like maxbird1 and leighalobelia are battling it out for the top observer spot with over 300 observations each, followed by amills9418, andersonnathanielbirmingham, and kirnsc.

I'm looking forward to a great Open Gate event at the ASU Dark Sky Observatory tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon from 1-4 PM. Come on out to explore the woods around the Observatory! The weather forecast looks great and we do have permission to sample bugs and leaves. If you need to do a collection for entomology or dendrology, bring your nets and plant presses! We will start with a guided walk and sampling demo at 1 PM.

Directions for the DSO event:
The Parkway is currently closed, but the Phillips Gap Rd stretch is open. Be aware that GPS does not know this and will send you on a long detour. Here's the most direct route from Boone (~25 minutes):

• Take US 421 S (towards Wilkesboro)
• Merge onto US 221 towards West Jefferson (ramp on the right)
• After 2.5 miles, turn right onto Idlewild Rd
• After 3.4 miles, turn right onto Phillips Gap Rd (intersection after speed limit drops to 45)
• After 2 miles, turn left onto the Blue Ridge Parkway (barricade to the right)
• Turn right at the next barricade to stay on Phillips Gap Rd
• Turn left onto Observatory Rd and go all the way to the end of the road to park at the observatory building

We have three more days to go including the weekend. So grab your phones and cameras and see how much more biodiversity you can find!

Publicado el 29 de septiembre de 2023 12:50 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de septiembre de 2023

Halftime BioBlitz update

Good morning AppState!

We are now halfway through our BioBlitz week and cracked the 1,000 observation mark yesterday. Great job! We will have several classes out in the field today and tomorrow targeting ASU Lake and the Gilley Research Station. Looking forward to seeing what they find!

UNCW is determined to win this time. They have about twice as many observers on the ground for this round, pulling in twice as many observations as we did so far. We have our work cut out for us for the rest of the week! We are doing great on recruiting more participants but could certainly still use more help. We are finding some great biodiversity though - UNCW's lead in terms of number of species is not as strong. Here are the leaderboards as of this morning - you can also check for them live at the 2023 Fall NC Campus Nature Challenge project:

Publicado el 28 de septiembre de 2023 11:51 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de septiembre de 2023

Day 3 of our BioBlitz challenge

Good morning everyone!

Yesterday was another very active day for our campus nature challenge. UNC Greensboro closed the gap and for a few hours relegated us to the trailing spot. We've pulled slightly ahead of them again. As of this morning, UNC Wilmington is still leading with over 1,500 observations now, with AppState at 904 and UNCG at 832. We're trailing in terms of number of observers and could use some more folks actively participating. Tell all your class mates, friends and families! UNCW already has cracked the 100 participants threshold, UNCG is following with 54 while AppState has so far 41 active observers contributing.

Among our participants, maxbird1 is leading for number of observations made with the top 5 currently rounded out by leighalobelia, kirnsc, amills9418, and nicole_lowder. Remember we'll have prices in the end for the most observations made and most species observed.

We are doing great with getting things sorted out and identified! In the past challenges, I remember adding a lot of initial IDs for folks who uploaded their observations as "unknown" and this time around I barely have to do that. We are much closer on UNCW's heels in terms of number of species identified with 405 for UNCW, 374 for AppState, and 207 for UNCG. Great job on finding that diversity out there! Looking at my own first day observations, I was able to document six species that I had never observed on iNaturalist before. I'm looking forward to seeing how many new ones we can add to our campus inventory in this BioBlitz round.

A lot of our species observed so far are plants (over 60%). There is only one non-plant among the top 20 species and that is the fall webworm moth coming in at spot 19 with its webs everywhere now. Last fall, we had more animals and fungi recorded than this fall so far. Keep an eye out for those critters and 'shrooms! There are a couple of rain showers in the area this morning, so mushrooms should really pop for the rest of the week. Last fall, we struggled to find them because the weather was so dry. I know I often overlook them but this is a great opportunity to add some stuff not previously observed yet. One tip for mushroom IDs: In addition to a picture from the top, you'll need a picture of the underside of the cap that shows whether it has gills or pores, and often also a side view showing the stipe (stalk).

One question that came up: Do sound recordings count? Yes, they do! Evidence for an organism can be pictures or sound files. If you have recordings of birds or crickets or whatever, you can absolutely upload that as an observation. Accepted formats include wav, mp3, or m4a.

Just a reminder that only wild organisms count for the BioBlitz. Observations of planted trees and shrubs are still valid observations for iNaturalist and will contribute to the AppState tree and shrub inventory but they won't help us win the challenge. If you post observations of landscaping plants, please remember to mark them cultivated (not wild). I know this will make these drop out of the BioBlitz project, but to be able to use our biodiversity data for research purposes it is important to sort out naturally occurring species vs. stuff that was put there by humans.

Lastly a heads-up that we will have an Open Gate BioBlitz event at the Dark Sky Observatory again on Saturday afternoon from 1-4 PM. There will be a guided hike at 1 PM and we'll have some nets for insect sampling. It's about a 25 minute drive from Boone but GPS will send you on a long detour due to the Parkway closure not knowing that the Phillips Gap Rd crossing is open. From Boone, take 421 to 221 to Idlewild to Phillips Gap Rd for the fastest way to get there. I will post more detailed directions on Friday.

Now let's get out there and find some more organisms to observe today!

Publicado el 27 de septiembre de 2023 12:00 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de septiembre de 2023

Great first day!

Good morning AppState Team!

We're off to a great start for the Fall 2023 BioBlitz! UNC Wilmington took the lead yesterday with nearly a thousand observations already. We are currently just short of 500 so we'll have some catching up to do. You can find the leaderboard for the challenge here: 2023 Fall NC Campus Nature Challenge.

So where should you go and what should you look for on our second day? I have two suggestions based on previous years:

We have crescent-cup liverwort growing on the banks of Boone Creek running through Durham Park. It was observed during our previous two challenges and is a bit of an odd occurrence. Marie L. Hicks' field guide for the liverworts of NC describes it as an exotic liverwort native to the tropics and frequently found in greenhouses, where it is a common weed on soil in and on clay pots. There is a herbarium record for it that was collected at AppState in 1976 with the location given as "in flower pot in chemistry department." I wonder if its introduction to campus goes all the way back to that record. With observations in both fall and spring, it seems to be making it through our winters just fine. Can we find it again and confirm that we have an established population of it in Durham Park?

Another plant to be on the lookout for is mile-a-minute weed at the Greenway. This stuff is a nasty invasive and listed as a class B noxious weed in NC. There have been eradication efforts hand-pulling the plants as well as releasing a predatory weevil for biological control. Have those been successful or is it still out there and thriving? It was already spotted twice again yesterday! All observations of it would be helpful to those who are trying to combat the infestation in Boone. It would be fruiting at this time of year and if you can collect and trash/destroy the fruits if you find it, that would be helpful, too (don't leave them where birds can find them and spread the seeds).

Happy second day of exploring the biodiversity on our campus!

Publicado el 26 de septiembre de 2023 12:13 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de septiembre de 2023

BioBlitz walk this evening

Hi AppState BioBlitzers! We're off to a great start! I'm planning a walk to the Nature Preserve this evening. If you need help with the app or just would like to join in, we'll meet at my office (Rankin West 266) at 5 PM and start at the Geology rock garden. This will be a slow walk trying to find as many things to observe for the BioBlitz as possible, so we may not even get very far into the Nature Preserve until it gets dark but at least you'll know how to get there!

Publicado el 25 de septiembre de 2023 17:17 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

BioBlitz locations and directions

Good morning everybody! First day of the Fall 2023 AppState BioBlitz! Marta got us started again with the first couple of observations!

Several of you have asked me about locations and directions, so here's a list of places where you can go this week to make observations.

In town (PDF with map):

  • Main Campus
  • Nature Preserve
  • University Highlands
  • Mountain Laurel Hall
  • University Hall
  • NC 105 Lot
  • State Farm Lot
  • Greenway and Kennedy Trails (PDF with map)

Out-of-town locations:

If you have any questions how to get to places or who to contact, please let me know!

Publicado el 25 de septiembre de 2023 12:12 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de septiembre de 2023

Welcome to the Fall 2023 AppState BioBlitz!

Hi all,

thanks for joining our iNaturalist project for the AppState Fall 2023 BioBlitz challenge! This is where we will collect all qualifying observations. Starting tomorrow! Will we be able to repeat our great results from last fall?

We can use all the help we can get! Please share your excitement with your classes, friends and family. Everyone can participate! For more details, check out the BioBlitz Homepage. Feel free to share widely to recruit participants!

We are competing again with UNC Greensboro representing the Piedmont and UNC Wilmington representing the coast for the informal title of Most Biodiverse UNC Campus. You will be able to find the leaderbord at the 2023 Fall NC Campus Nature Challenge Project.

The rules are:
1) Observations need to be made on AppState property,
2) within the week of September 25th - October 1st, 2023,
3) and need to be of wild organisms.

Q: How do I know where to go?
A: The map on the project home page has the boundaries of all qualifying areas outlined. These are the same as for the Fall 2022 project and we shared some videos with more details for this, which you can find on this AppState BioBlitz YouTube playlist.

Q: I'm too busy - can I still post stuff after the official week?
A: Yes, you can! The critical date is the observation date (aka the date when you took the picture), not the upload date. If your time is limited, focus on taking pictures during the week of the BioBlitz to record your observations. You can process and upload them later when you have more time.

Q: What counts as "wild" organism?
A: Any non-human organism except for cultivated plants (planted/potted) and captive/domestic animals (including pets). Simply speaking, if a plant or animal was purposefully put there by humans, it does not count. However, a weed popping up on its own between those plantings, or lichen growing on a stone wall, or a tick you found on your dog would count as wild, so look carefully what else you can spot around the planted stuff in landscaped areas! A planted street tree might not qualify for the project, but you can often find a dozen other things on or around it that would count. You can use the iNat or iNot? google slide quiz to test your understanding of what would qualify for our BioBlitz.

Q: What features should I take pictures of so the species can be identified?
A: This will depend on what you are photographing. This iNaturalist Photo Guide has some really nice examples and guidelines what to focus on for various types of organisms.

Any other questions? Please let us know!
Annkatrin and Marta

Publicado el 24 de septiembre de 2023 13:43 por annkatrinrose annkatrinrose | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario