As a website and app, iNaturalist is “[o]ne of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you…with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to understand better and protect nature. iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.”(“About”)
When working on the list of honey bee plants, we ran into an issue of where to share this information in usable parts. In an excel form, the data is lacking photo information of the flower, overall plant, seeds or reproduction and doesn’t make for very dynamic information unless you know already. We were familiar with the iNaturalist as a community science platform that allows you to capture observations of almost any living thing. This data can be used by anyone, thus creating a vibrant and abundant data source.
Guides on iNaturalist are a way to curate a group of taxonomy, usually based on a place or region of the world. Photos and images are creative commons sourced from Flickr, Inaturalist itself, Encyclopedia of Life, and Wikipedia Commons. The pictures are then attributed to the photographer, source when and not in the public domain. Description sections have a summary from Wikipedia but also can be edited to add further information.
The guides can be accessed on the web page, which is also in 41 languages, or by the app on a smartphone (which I’m not sure of the language options but there are 10 iNaturalist partner websites.
A quick demo on guides on an iPhone.
We see guides being a quick way for scientists and researchers to help educate people on pollinator-plant interactions, help people identify pollinators or plants by common name, scientific name, and possible location. The most essential part of guides is that they can be used offline. So when in parts of the world when cellular data service is limited, it allows you to download a guide to be used even when not on data or wi-fi.
Please let us know what you think and if you have any thoughts, insights, or challenges that we may not be aware of. Current guides (“Guides · iNaturalist,”) on iNaturalist:
- Minnesota Spring plants for Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)
- Minnesota-Twin Cities Honey Bee Fodder
- Minnesota Native Bee nesting plant material
- Minnesota Bees
- Honey bee plants of Hawaii, United States
- Flowering plants for Apis mellifera adonsonii/scutellate (African bee) in Senegal, West Africa
- Apis mellifera fodder-Grenada, Easter Caribbean
- Apis mellifera fodder, Liberia
About. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from iNaturalist website: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/about
Guides · iNaturalist. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.inaturalist.org/guides
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