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13 de marzo de 2021

Live versus dead

Hello Eastern seaboarders,

The Eastern Seaboard Mollusks project is having a working group meeting over Zoom on Tuesday, March 16, at 1 pm EST to discuss how to make live versus dead distinctions and what information we are trying to capture with those distinctions.

The Eastern Seaboard TCN (Thematic Collection Network) is a project funded by the Natural Science Foundation. Here’s a link to the award announcement to Gonzalo Giribet, who started the companion Eastern Seaboard project on iNaturalist. https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2001528. Similar awards were made to a number of natural history collections in the United States.

In adding live-dead distinctions for samples in natural history collections databases, our goal is to document what currently lives in an area as distinct from what used to live there. Molluscan shells that wash up on beaches can be hundreds or even thousands of years old. Live-dead determinations will let us detect changing distributions patterns such expansion or contraction of ranges, which have implications for conservation and management.

That’s why the Eastern Seaboard project on iNaturalist requires the live-dead field to be filled in for an observation to be included in the project. It’s best if the information is added by the person contributing the observation, but it can also be added after the fact. A subsequent determination based on the photograph might end up saying “Cannot be determined”, whereas the person making the observation will have noticed more than is captured in the photograph, such as behavior, or the weight of the specimen.

The guidance that iNaturalist provides puts the border between live and dead at a slightly different place than we would put it in a natural history collections database. For “dead” iNat says “Organism is dead or shows signs of imminent death”. However, five minutes after the seagull dropped the clam on the rocks, the clam is dead—but the bird’s action show that the clam lives in the area. In a natural history collection, we would presumably score the clam as alive because of the scraps of tissue adhering to the shell.

I’ve already had discussions with a few of you on iNat about live-dead distinctions. Please send you thoughts about making live-dead distinctions, particularly borderline cases. If you want to attend the working group meeting, let me know, and I’ll provide a Zoom link.

Best wishes,
Gary

Ingresado el 13 de marzo de 2021 por gparosenberg gparosenberg | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

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