June 18, 2021

Hello iNaturalist world!

Hello iNaturalist world!

We are excited to share Smithsonian MarineGEO’s first iNaturalist journal post and provide a bit of background on our iNaturalist projects and goals.

Who are we?

Like other iNaturalist projects, MarineGEO iNaturalist is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution’s Marine Global Earth Observatory (MarineGEO) and Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network, partnering with the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, our many, global network partners, and of course you -- the far-flung iNaturalist community!

Our MarineGEO network of partners conducts research around the world to take the pulse of coastal ocean life. We aim to advance knowledge that supports innovative solutions for coastal and marine ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, and human-ocean interactions. A crucial part of that work involves expert marine biodiversity assessments, which we are excited to contribute to the interactive iNaturalist platform. Our consortium of partners is a critical component of this data sharing process and we are excited to share this with all of you!

iNaturalist Projects

Smithsonian MarineGEO is launching a dedicated iNaturalist project for each of our partner sites to make knowledge of local marine biodiversity publicly available. This includes both expert-vetted images and identifications from the MarineGEO network’s field campaigns, as well as observations by the keen community of marine naturalists around the world.

Marine invertebrates comprise a huge fraction of our planet’s animal diversity, and many ocean life forms are completely unfamiliar to terrestrial beings. The observations in MarineGEO’s iNaturalist projects would not be possible without the collaboration, taxonomic expertise, and contributions of brilliant photos by our partners. Most importantly, Gustav Paulay’s group at the Florida Museum of Natural History has contributed, to date, over 5,300 expert-vetted observations to several MarineGEO projects on iNaturalist.

Our main goal is to provide user-friendly resources to identify local flora and fauna at each of our partner sites via a comprehensive illustrated list of the local marine animals and plants, updated continuously and confirmed by experts and community members. Each project has a cohesive look and feel and nests within the MarineGEO umbrella project. The projects include only marine (and estuarine) organisms. The scientific observations are taxonomically validated against the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) before uploading to ensure the most up to date taxonomic names are included.

To date, we have 11 project sites and iNaturalist pages in these locations (in alphabetical order by country):

Tasmania, Australia
Carrie Bow Caye, Belize (@carriebowbiodiversity)
British Columbia, Canada (@hakaiinstitute)
Hong Kong, China
Bocas del Toro, Panama (@bocasresearchstation)
Central Coast, Peru
Madeira, Portugal (@mare-madeira)
Chesapeake Bay, Edgewater, Maryland, United States (@sercfisheries)
Friday Harbor, Washington, United States
Indian River Lagoon, Fort Pierce, Florida, United States
Kāne’ohe Bay, O’ahu, Hawai’i, United States
Wachapreague, Virginia, United States

We are very excited about this project and look forward to building it with you as the MarineGEO network grows and we expand field campaigns to assess marine biodiversity around the world.

Finally, a critical part of our MarineGEIO team is you -- the iNaturalist community that has generously given your time, expertise, and judgement to identify species, correct errors, pose thoughtful questions, and help strengthen identifications of marine organisms. The community component of iNaturalist is one we greatly value and look forward to continuing to engage with!

Please keep an eye out for future journal posts (some inspired by questions from you all!) and be sure to follow us on Twitter (@SImarineGEO) for more MarineGEO network news!

Thanks to all who have helped get us here and looking forward to continued conversations and observations of cool marine organisms!

Posted on June 18, 2021 05:11 PM by smithsonian_marinegeo smithsonian_marinegeo | 3 comments | Leave a comment


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