Archivos de Diario para noviembre 2022

03 de noviembre de 2022

October 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

A Peregrine Falcon stretches and preens, can you spot the metal numbered band on her leg? ©

Congratulations to @ckhunt for winning the October 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a banded Peregrine Falcon received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

The Peregrine Falcon is known far and wide as a speed demon, a champion migrant, and a true conservation success story. Those are all reason enough for a stellar image of this charismatic bird of prey to sit alone atop the list of most-faved Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist observations for the month, but this individual Peregrine Falcon is more than meets the eye. Thanks to a keen eye and crisp photos, Vermont iNaturalist-er Craig Hunt was able to learn more about this Peregrine Falcons’ past by documenting and reporting the colored and metal numbered bands on its legs. Things came together piece-by-piece as Craig and other iNaturalist users inspected the bands. The placement of color bands on the left leg revealed that this bird was a female, and the combination of black over green color bands indicated that this was a bird banded in eastern North America. Craig sent his photos and as many of the numbers on the metal band as he could read to the USGS Bird Banding Lab and learned that this Peregrine Falcon was banded as a hatchling alongside three siblings in Lewiston, Maine in May of 2021. In addition to this information, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was even kind enough to send along a photo of the very same Peregrine Falcon on the day she was banded! With this tale in mind, keep an eye out for other banded birds (especially waterfowl and birds of prey, which often have large, colorful, more easily visible bands) and be sure to report any banded bird sightings to the USGS Bird Banding Lab at the link above.

With 12,656 observations submitted by 1,370 observers in October, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

Publicado el 03 de noviembre de 2022 a las 08:54 PM por nsharp nsharp | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de noviembre de 2022

Help Us Help Biodiversity: A Note on Geoprivacy Settings in iNaturalist

Wood Turtle

This time of year, Wood Turtles are slumbering through winter at the bottom of frigid streams and rivers throughout Vermont. This past spring and fall, however, the Vermont Atlas of Life received dozens of reports of Wood Turtles from across the state. Due to its designation as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Vermont, Wood Turtle observations submitted to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist are automatically obscured to protect these turtles from being harassed or illegally collected by unscrupulous people. But sometimes conservationists like us can’t see the locations either.

For example, we share observations each year with the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, which collects data needed to make informed recommendations regarding the state status, state rank, and conservation priorities of Vermont’s reptiles and amphibians. To do this, the atlas requires exact locations of observations. Unfortunately, if we don’t have access to the locations, they cannot be used for conservation.

iNaturalist also places geoprivacy in your hands. You can make make any of your observations obscured or even completely private, if you so choose. However, if you are uploading obscured or private observations, or are uploading observations of rare or threatened species that are automatically obscured, like the Wood Turtle example, it is likely that your observations are not fully contributing to research and conservation.

The default settings of an iNaturalist project like the Vermont Atlas of Life are such that the coordinates of any obscured or private observations actively shared with the project are visible to our team of biologists, but the coordinates of observations passively gathered by the project (any observations that are made within the state of Vermont but the observer is either not a member of the VAL project or didn’t purposely add the observation to the project) are not visible to VAL curators. This means that the coordinates of many important observations of rare and threatened species are hidden, and conservationists and researchers are unable to fully use them. There is a quick fix for this!

If you would like your obscured sightings of rare species or species of conservation concern to be accessible to professional conservationists, biologists, and researchers that work with VAL, go to our  short primer on iNaturalist geoprivacy and learn how you can best set your geoprivacy settings for the Vermont Atlas of Life.

Publicado el 07 de noviembre de 2022 a las 08:29 PM por nsharp nsharp | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de noviembre de 2022

State of Vermont’s Wild Bees Report Assesses Conservation Status for First Time

New report adds 55 species to a conservation watch list

Over 350 wild bee species call Vermont home, but 55 of those species urgently need conservation action. A new report from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE), in collaboration with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD), provides the first comprehensive assessment of Vermont’s bees. The Vermont State of Bees report, released today by biologists working on VCE’s Vermont Atlas of Life, was created using more than 55,000 observations of bees from hundreds of community scientists and biologists across the state.

"Many people are enthusiastic about helping to save bees," said lead author Spencer Hardy. "Our work is now shedding light on which species are in urgent need of conservation action and how we might begin to help their populations."

The team created a watchlist of 55 of the state's most imperiled species based on their restricted ranges, changes in abundance, and the threats they face. These 55 species should be prioritized for conservation work, as they are the most likely to disappear from the state without targeted intervention.

"The important role that pollinators, particularly bees, play in Vermont’s ecology and economy has become better recognized by the public in recent years," said VFWD biologist Mark Ferguson. "This report identifies our more vulnerable bee species and can be the catalyst for developing management strategies to ensure populations remain robust and viable."

Using sophisticated computer modeling techniques, the scientists identified 12 Important Bee Areas, the conservation of which are critical to protecting some of Vermont's most vulnerable bees and valuable bee habitats. Each Important Bee Area meets at least one of several criteria. They may have several specialist bees, regionally rare species, or contain bee habitat that is rare regionally or in Vermont.

The report also contains newly synthesized information about the variety of life history strategies represented in Vermont. One such group of particular importance is the so-called specialist bees —species that only visit a single species, or closely related group, of flowers. Roughly 25% of Vermont’s 352 bee species are considered specialists, and declines in these species are of particular concern.

"The specialists are the picky eaters in the family," said Hardy. "This can make them vulnerable to environmental stressors. However, it also provides an excellent conservation opportunity since many specialists have an uncanny ability to find new populations of their favorite flowers, which we can provide."

Wild bees play a pivotal role in pollinating both wild and crop plants, a critical ecosystem service many people take for granted. The report highlights that native, wild bee species were recorded visiting 438 plant species in Vermont during the Wild Bee Survey. Most people associate Western Honey Bees with pollination, but the report documents more than 170 bee species visiting food crops.

While the domestic Western Honey Bee is important to agriculture and the economy, it can be a source of pathogen spillover to wild bee populations and compete for resources that wild bees need to survive. Collaborative efforts will be required to guard wild bee populations while supporting beekeepers striving for healthy hives.

Among the 350 species included in the report, 65 were only documented for the first time within the last four years during the Vermont Wild Bee Survey.

“The mountain of bee observations from community members, historical museum specimens, and targeted surveys cover the state remarkably well, and our findings suggest we’ve documented most bee species in Vermont," said co-author Michael Hallworth. "However, a few species may have eluded our efforts and possibly occur in the state."

The survey has compiled some of the most likely candidates into a Most Wanted list to help guide motivated community scientists in a quest to find more species.

“Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of people, we’ve learned an incredible amount about the status of wild bees in Vermont,” said Kent McFarland, a co-author and director of the Vermont Atlas of Life. “But it will take strong collaborations between biologists, public agencies, conservation organizations, land owners, land managers, and even beekeepers for us to conserve Vermont’s diverse wild bee fauna effectively now and for future generations.”

If you want to learn more about this report and ask the authors questions, please join us for a webinar on Thursday, November 17, at noon. Please register here to receive the webinar link.

Publicado el 16 de noviembre de 2022 a las 06:17 PM por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario