In Biodiversidata we have focused on improving the quantity and availability of biodiversity data in Uruguay. Initially, we started by gathering data derived from research, but since mid-2019 we decided to also explore data from citizen science.
We saw in iNaturalist an ideal platform to increase the amount of fauna and flora records for the country, while at the same time promote greater nature knowledge and the use of the information generated in Uruguay. So, in the middle of last year we started with a short note that sought to show the platform as the tool to the answer the oldest question in the world, what is that bug? (Ciencia ciudadana for export de Uruguay blog post). After that, we delivered talks in academic fields (Rufford-Uruguay Conference video-talk) and for all audiences (Torres de la Llosa Museum presentation). Also, they made us notes in written press (newspaper El País note) and radio (Radio Uruguay interview).
Since then, we have seen a positive increase in the number of observations and observers in iNaturalist for Uruguay. Until July 6, 2019 (exactly 7 months ago) 2,800 verifiable observations were found for Uruguay. As of the date of this analysis (6 Feb 2020) that number almost tripled, reaching 7,427 observations, with 611 users contributing data and 1,586 registered species. In addition, in January of this year the maximum record per month was reached, with 1,455 observations loaded on the platform.
This trend in the increase of observations can be seen for all taxonomic groups (Animals, Fungi and Plants). And this is precisely one of the advantages of this platform, to cover all taxa without focusing on any particular group.
Uruguayan observations have already begun to be used, for example to illustrate press releases (see ‘The fauna of sandy beaches: another victim of urbanization’ by Leo Lagos – La Diaria). In addition, a Uruguayan record was highlighted as Observation of the Day on iNaturalist:
Take a look at this incredible Thoas #Swallowtail #butterfly caterpillar - it’s our Observation of the Day! Seen in #Uruguay by pablobaldu.— iNaturalist (@inaturalist) January 3, 2020
More details at: https://t.co/Hei0k8np7R #OOTD #lepidoptera #entomology #insects #biodiversity #nature #animals pic.twitter.com/mHl77EdSqV
However, a large number of the observations recorded (42.3%) still await identification ❗️
The quality of the data is evaluated in terms of the accuracy and integrity of each observation. All observations begin with grade ‘Casual’ and then go to ‘Needs ID’ when the observation: has date, geographical reference (lat / lon coordinates), has a photo and/or audio, and it is not from a captive or cultivated organism. Finally, the observation can reach ‘Research Grade’ when more than two thirds of those who identify agree with the identification, at least at the species level.
The lack of identification of the observations is greater in some groups:
Therefore, in Biodiversidata we have prepared a basic guide (very basic) for those who want to collaborate identifying observations.
The quality of the data we have for Uruguay depends largely on the active community of naturalists.
If you’re not part yet, what you’re waiting for! Join the iNaturalist community now.