2021 Clements Update and Continual Concerns

Thanks. Isn’t it better to swap Caracara plancus ss into C.p.plancus, as this maintains the IDs as Southern Crested Caracara, rather than them all becoming the less precise C.plancus sl?

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I think its a gray area. I agree with you that the benefit would be maintaining the C.plancus s.s. precision, but the cost is the additional swap (incurring replacing IDs and changing obs ancestries) and also since ssp are controversial there’s a cost/risk there. I know alot of people don’t like to ID to ssp and suspect many might not like to have their species level IDs automatically replaced with ssp level IDs when the species name is still valid (though I agree with you that technically that would be needed to maintain precision). I think you could argue it either way, but IMO the costs outweigh the benefits

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I don’t think this has been touched on yet but how are we doing splits for species that are regularly nomadic. I see the Larus canus split being particularly tricky because in places like Eastern US, L. canus and L. brachyrhynchus are both equally likely to be your bird. I even hear there’s a few cases that L. canus kamtschatschensis are present every now and then. And because that subspecies breeds in eastern Russia, they likely being reported as L. brachyrhynchus along the US Pacific coastline. So we can atlas the two species according their regular ranges but there’s going to be the conflict of misapplied ids.

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IDs of the split input taxon will either be replaced with one of the output taxa if the obs uniquely falls in one atlas, or the common ancestor if the obs is outside of all atlaess or overlaps multiple atlases. FOr the Larus canus split https://www.inaturalist.org/taxon_changes/99241 it would be best if the places where the atlaeses don’t overlap focused on places where one species is overwhelmingly likely over the other. For places where both occur (e.g. Eastern US) I’d expect those to be outside of all atlases and thus IDs will be replaced with genus Larus.

Good point about vagrants though. In places where species X is overwhelmingly likely there’s still the chance of a weird vagrant of species Y occurring there and thus a split replacing the ID of species Y with species X but I wouldn’t sweat this too much. You can always manually comment on/mention/ID on that obs to get the community to alter IDs if its not practical to design IDs to accomodate it.

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Including the Long-requested and observed Dinopium psarodes x bengahalense.

Maybe another dumb question but will genus level replacement only occur to observations previously identified at species level? Because if an observation in eastern US is already identifed to L. canus canus and so forth, it wouldn’t make sense to bump it up to genus id.

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Generally if using this guidance for various taxa changes or discussions, are curators (at least those who work on a given taxonomic group involved) all notified when those flags are created, or how can they be better notified if not? Because in the event it mostly requires manually checking (aside from Dashboard-subscribed taxa), I’d think most curators may miss a given taxon flag, meaning less discussion or awareness of proposed changes which might need more, and then the original user eventually committing the change without the realization of many others.

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I’ve created atlases for both species. Basically, I added only places where either species is expected. For example, it is almost certainly correct to believe all western US sightings are Larus brachyrhynchus but since they neither breed or winter there, I left those states out of the atlas because they’re vagrants. The atlases should be aligned to the atlas of L. canus (sensu lato), just divided between New World and Old World.

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