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2018 Resolutions for iNaturalist - 100 Fish Species, Journaling, and more

My first fish of 2018. Predictably, a Barred Surfperch (Amphistichus argenteus)

I spent the afternoon on New Year's Day coming up with some qualitative and quantitative goals for iNaturalist this year.

Thanks to the 2017 year-end visualization thingy, I had some approximate numbers to go on with regard to what might be realistic for next year. Taking into account that I spent the first six months of 2017 severely under the thumb of finally finishing college, I figure (perhaps over-optimistically) that I can aim to hit these targets next year:

General goals:

1. Make 5,000 observations for the year.
(average 13.6 per day... Wooooooah that's gonna be tough.)

2. Make 5,000 identifications for others' observations.
Thanks to the Identify tool released last year, I think I can do this with general maintenance and maybe some Marathon days.

3. Use this journal tool more.
Observations by themselves are valuable, but it seems to me that putting them in context (with temporal, interspecies-relational notes, etc.) makes them way more valuable. For example, what will be the fate of the oaks in Santa Cruz that appear to have been subject to an outbreak of an as-yet unidentified partial leaf-dieback pathogen?

I should communicate in a separate journal post that I first started noticing symptoms this summer, and then go on to track the fate of these trees as the years go by.

Specific goals

1. Observe and document 100 species of fish (ray-finned, cartilaginous, or otherwise)

I'm really excited about this goal! (for a number of reasons)

Firstly, I've loved fish since I was maybe 11 or 12, when my dad asked my brother and I to choose projects to work on for the summer. I think my brother chose to learn trigonometry, and I chose to learn fishing. Since I didn't actually have any fishing gear or family members who were anglers, I mostly spent my time reading about fishing. I checked out and read every volume of the Ken Albert series of fishing books from the North Park library, but never accumulated any money for gear. The summer ended with me taping a bunch of split rings to a long bamboo pole, taping a water bottle to the end of it as a kind of spool to wrap the line around, (I used red yarn), and then tying the yarn to a bent paperclip as a hook. I think I baited it with cut carrots. If I recall correctly, I went fishing with this rig off the Imperial Beach pier. Even if I don't recall correctly, I caught nothing. But I stuck with it for a while, and after getting some actual fishing equipment, and a lot of failing to catch anything (really an astonishing amount of not catching anything at all), I started to catch some fish.

Secondly, and even more importantly, I was fascinated with Scott's analysis which showed that fish in general (and especially Ray-finned Fishes) are iNat's most under-observed group of vertebrates!

Clearly a situation begging to be remedied. Sometimes a man achieves fish, and sometimes a man has fish thrust upon him.

I love seeing fish. I like thinking about fish. I love eating (many) fish. I like the planning of and act of fishing. And I don't do anywhere near enough of it. They get me closer to the ocean, and to streams and lakes and rivers. This can never be bad and can only be good.

100 species of fish in a year is going to be really hard to achieve, I suspect. Although I've come a long way since the days of carrots on a paperclip, I'm still not a very good angler. I suspect I might fail to reach my goal by multiple tens of species, but I look forward to the motivation I'll get from tracking my progress.

Snorkeling, seining, trapping, etc. are likely going to be crucial to my success or failure. I predict that sculpins and other tidepool-dwelling fish are going to take an outsized share of the pie.

I posit that one cannot gaze upon this triggerfish without experiencing an strong swell of admiration and desperate love for this group of creatures.

Happy New Year!

Posted by leptonia leptonia, January 05, 2018 02:59

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Water Molds (Phylum Oomycota)

Observer

leptonia

Date

January 4, 2018 01:55 PM PST

Comments

My dad has always been super into fishing -- when I was born he got the vanity license plate "2ANGLRS" on his truck -- and there are just gobs of tackle and poles and reels in his garage. All my recent tidepooling has hurled me in the same piscine direction as you . This is the year I acquire a bunch of that old gear and get to work.

Posted by dgreenberger almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Great ideas! I started "following" you because I wanted to learn mushrooms and figured if I looked at your observations, it would help. Guess now I'm gonna learn about fish, which is not a bad thing at all!

Posted by milliebasden almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@milliebasden I'll still be observing plenty of mushrooms to the degree that the rains allow!

Posted by leptonia almost 4 years ago (Flag)

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a meal. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll get some really awesome iNaturalist observations!” ~proverb

Posted by sambiology almost 4 years ago (Flag)

@dgreenberger lets be fishing buddies. I'm certainly going to need to spend some time around the shores of SF Bay and back up the delta.

Posted by leptonia almost 4 years ago (Flag)

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