Global Project for Freshwater Organisms? If not, let's make one

Freshwater environments around the globe contain many unique and interesting species.

Knowing a species lives for a time in fresh water (or directly on the surface) is also important information for identifying it.

While trying to identify a few organisms I observed yesterday, I looked for an existing iNat project for aquatic species. Searching under the keywords “aquatic” and “freshwater” produced a long list of projects, but all were either specific to a geographic location or not specific to freshwater species.

Is anyone here interested in creating a traditional iNat project without geographic limits? Freshwater Aquatic Communities Around the Globe is a possible title that includes my two search terms. My near-total ignorance about identifying these organisms makes me hesitant to create the project without help.


If you try it, I’d suggest an umbrella project that pools smaller traditional projects. Traditional projects with “species to include” lists that get up into the hundreds get difficult to manage and edit, as I don’t think the projects software was designed with this in mind.
You’ll also have the difficulty of deciding what exactly a freshwater organism is (what to include) and where to find lists of these taxa.
I’m sure such a project will be useful (I made one on freshwater plants for similar reasons) but it will be difficult to implement.


I think this is probably why most of the freshwater/aquatic type project focus on a specific region - just to make it manageable. And maybe because larger projects would require more expertise with more potential disagreement for what counts as “freshwater”!


You definitely can make such a project. A collection project would be more useful perhaps, but almost impossible to set up. I’ve made ones for mollusks and that alone was quite a task.

If you could recruit people or find existing projects for other groups an umbrella project might be possible.


A traditional/umbrella project would be easiest, but probably less useful. A collection project would be very difficult given all of the possible creatures and definitions of “freshwater”. A Google research said there are over 125,000 species that live in freshwater habitats.

From the top of my head I can think of some major groups like turtles, salamanders, fish, waterfowl, shorebirds, a lot of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants, lichens, other fungi, macro-crustaceans, gastropods, bivalves, insect larvae, beetles, other reptiles, etc.

I’m missing a lot of creatures there but you get the point

A traditional project is the only option because I agree that you could never list all the taxa. Instead, people can add anything they think belongs, like they do in the various gall projects.

If the project is successful, getting local info is just a matter of setting the observations to Map mode and drawing a circle or square.