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10,000 Chamaesyces. iNaturalist sure has grown!

iNaturalist has now reached over 10,000 Chamaesyce-type (Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum) Euphorbia observations! iNaturalist has exploded with in terms of Euphorbia observations. But just how much has iNaturalist grown? I added my first observation in December of 2014. There were 279 Chamaesyce observations at that time. I didn't really get into iNaturalist until probably May of the following year. By the end of that month, there were 404 Chamaesyce observations. By the end of 2015, there were 939. End of 2016, 2,222; an increase of 1,283. End of 2017, 5,423; an increase of 4,140. And today, 10,363. We are 60 observations away from 5,000 observations for the year of 2018 [UPDATE: as of 25 Nov 2018, we are at 13,107; this totals 7,684 for the year]. By the way, for the genus Euphorbia, the number was 2,351 at the end of May 2015. Now, it is 27,029. 15,873 of those are from the United States.

This growth has led to so many interesting discoveries and there is now at least one verified observation for every Euphorbia species in the continental US except 22 (information here). It has directly led to the discovery of at least 4 state records and so much understanding about the variability exhibited in these species. There are 125 Chamaesyce species that have been observed (a few not yet verified) and 556 species of Euphorbia in general. This is a huge accomplishment and I am grateful to everyone who has contributed thus far.

There is a downside to so much growth. At some times, I have been overwhelmed by the flood of observations coming in and had to focus on only the most interesting observations. This has gotten me thinking about the future. If the rate of observations increases, there will come a time when I will be unable to manage it. When also taking into account factors in my own life that will inevitably limit my ability to contribute IDs, I think it is time to refocus my efforts. Soon, I will start focusing heavily on writing up papers, guides, journal posts, etc. that focus on helping others learn what I know to help with higher quality identifications. As such, I may start ignoring bad identifications of very common species in the interest of devoting more time to the above goals. I have already started to not explain my identifications unless the explanations are asked for. If I gave an ID without an explanation, please don't take it personally or be disappointed that you got the wrong ID. Chances are, I've seen a lot worse identifications and I've got of observations to get through.

For now, I still want to look through all the Euphorbia observations, but I will start refocusing. For those who observe or identify Euphorbias, it would help a lot if you could learn the various groups of Euphorbia. That way, if I have to prioritize, I can look at sect. Anisophyllum without having to wade through the rest of Euphorbia so much. If you really want to help, the best thing you can do is learn your local species by looking through the species that have been observed in your area and ask for help with difficult ones. After that, share your knowledge by looking through the Euphorbias that are observed in your area and add your ID. Even if its wrong or already research grade, this will improve your search image. Many of you are already doing this and to those, I am most grateful. For others, I don't mind trying to coach along anyone who really wants to try to learn their local species.

Lastly, please please please let me know if there is anything confusing about what I write or have written. Also, if there is anything that I have written on one of your observations that you think I should include in what I write, let me know. The goal is to make user-friendly documents that help anyone learn the different Chamaesyces around them.

Thanks again everyone. iNaturalist and the community that makes it up is awesome.

P.S., I have a resources list for two of my three projects, Euphorbia species of the United States, Euphorbia of Mexico, and Sandmats of the World. Sandmats of the World is a relatively new one and I have done very little with it so far. The best resources list at the moment is here.

Posted by nathantaylor nathantaylor, September 16, 2018 18:20

Comments

I have to say that having you as a resource has likely expedited the growth you speak of in the first paragraph. I for one am more likely to document these knowing that there is an expert available to catch my errors. Surely others feel the same. Congrats on helping Chamaesyce/Euphorbia observations explode!

Posted by amzapp about 3 years ago (Flag)

Also, great cover photo.

Posted by amzapp about 3 years ago (Flag)

Thank you for the kind words. Whether I had a hand in the huge growth or not, I am very happy with the time I've spent here.

Posted by nathantaylor about 3 years ago (Flag)

Nathan, you are a freaking rockstar. :)

I will try my best (and good lord, my best isn't good enough yet!) to not goof up on my own euphorbs! :-/

Posted by sambiology about 3 years ago (Flag)

Thanks Sam. :-) Feel free to let me know if you need help. It takes practice to get the species down. I just put together this for the San Diego species. The pictures aren't lined up perfectly, but I'll worry about that later. I plan to do the same for the DFW area (probably with more commentary). San Diego is pretty easy because it has relatively few species which are much more easily distinguishable from each other. After San Diego, DFW has the most observations of Anisophyllum species in the country, so I really need to put one together for the area. Other cities I hope to eventually take on are Los Angeles, New York City, Miami(?), Tucson, Houston, and Austin. The Chamaesyces of New York City will be particularly easy so I may skip to that one after DFW. I will then link them to here.

Posted by nathantaylor about 3 years ago (Flag)

I second Sam's sentiments about your status in this community! iNat is so blessed to have resource experts like you, Nathan.

Posted by gcwarbler almost 3 years ago (Flag)

Thank you for the kind words.

Posted by nathantaylor almost 3 years ago (Flag)

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