How has your nature knowledge advanced since using iNat?

Thanks to iNat, I’ve been learning more about plants! :maple_leaf: :heart:

What about you? :thinking:

Has iNat merely deepened your existing knowledge, or has it opened up entirely new areas of nature for you? :smiley:


I just started. It sparked my interest and curiosity towards nature. It allowed me to have a reason to reconnect with nature. Haha. I’m a house guy and and barely goes out (hates crowds). I found iNat online and since we have a lot of insects in our area, might as well observe them. That alone gave me more drive to go out and take a snap shot of plants and trees. Let’s say a new way to release stress. :D


Using iNat has improved my knowledge of everything except birds. I don’t have enough brain space to remember as many of them anymore!


I have learned a lot about nature, mostly solanaceas (tomatoes and allies) I really love these edible plants, and then I fell in love with them. But also, thanks to iNat I have evolve to a more adventurous person, I mean, I love cycling, but now, I do a lot of bicycle touring, traveling solo trying to find more to discover.


same, is just there are so much people identifying birds, so do we improve ourselves in other areas to help gap the knowledge in lesser known organism?


I was always interested in nature but I didn’t know anything about species and how to identify them (not even birds). I saw this video and thought it would be fun to download the app to go outside to try to figure out what species I’ve been seeing— I had no clue it would take me to where I am now!


What a great prompt! I have especially enjoyed using iNat to learn more about the incredible diversity of insects. I always knew the little factoid about that there are millions of insects species and more insect species in the world than any other animal group, but through iNat you get to experience that first hand. For example, I turn on my porch light at night and get a different cast of characters almost every night. Or when looking at different flowering plants, you also get a different set of insect species for all sorts of niches (pollinators, defoliators, just hanging out, etc.).


Great question! I started with a much greater interest in learning more about birds since they are my fave photo subjects. I have learned a lot about birds, but there is almost a battle too see who can ID a bird first. :)

So I am learning more about other areas that I observe when I’m out photographing birds - butterflies, dragonflies, other insects, and really anything I see while out. I’ve seen so many things right in my backyard that I didn’t know existed.

I’m addicted to iNat.


It advanced very much, I think! Mostly of course in recognizing various organisms which now I get to see many times, even if just on a photo, while I managed to see them only once in several years before, if at all. Also, I studied more how to distinguish various species to be able to ID them for others from various keys and other descriptions. I have owned them even before joining iNat, but I study them much more now. Also, I started more thorough interest into some specific groups (especially in Rosaceae) that would have been hard to study before all the photographic material available here and without the experts here able to ID at least some of my observations (the groups are rather difficult, so many remain uncorfimed).

Also my knowledge of the structure of the taxonomic system is now much better, although there is a lot of room for improvement. My knowledge of the vegetation types also improved, by observing where various species grow but also from some studying.


I have a big interest in entomology, so I’ve been going out to look at insects a lot since I’ve gotten iNaturalist. That has helped me learn more about all the different species living around me, but I’m also learning about all the things around them, like the different plants upon which they hang out on.

I’m especially fascinated by plant galls right now, so learning the different types of galls has helped me learn about the plants that hosts them, and now I can recognize a lot more trees by their leaves!


Welcome to the forum!

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Part of my iNat learning curve is Today’s Homonym. (Beware of tiny typos, and teensy taxon pictures that don’t make it obvious - This - is Not a centipede - it has no legs) I pick those up from Kingdom Disagreements

Why would a botanist (NOT) choose this name?


The video that you shared (“It’s Okay to Be Smart,” featuring iNaturalist), is fantastic! :heart_eyes: The video offers a great overview of how to use iNat, and it highlights some of the amazing benefits.

At 7 minutes 11 seconds, the host (Joe) says that one iNat user in Mexico did a “home project” where he found more than 500 organisms around his home.

That’s impressive! The video came out about four years ago.

Including Elliott Gordon! Elliott has documented almost 2,000 species around his home, without any DNA barcoding or microscopy! (as far as I know).


That’s me! 1,940 total species including cultivated plants (cats and humans not included).


I have had the possibility to see specimens of genera I am interested in from all over the world and I have had the opportunity to read the points of view from some experts.


My knowledge has advanced hugely! Four years ago I could step outside and not really recognize any of the plant species around me, with maybe one or two exceptions. Now I can step into the local forests, and it’s a struggle for me to find vascular plants that I can’t name and, to some degree, place somewhere on the plant family tree. I’m getting reasonably good with bryophytes, too, though I feel there are a lot of finer distinctions to be learned there. The same goes for a lot of animal groups, though alas, my fungal knowledge has not been helped much.

The taxonomic tree that iNaturalist uses to organize organisms has has also taught me a lot about phylogeny, and has tangentially set me off on a path to discovering more about paleontology, to better understand the underpinnings of that modern phylogeny.

It has also taught me a fair bit of random knowledge about anatomy. I can point to a trichome or telson or internodes or pronotum now, and that sort of knowledge comes with a somewhat keener sense of the nuances and details of organisms than I had before. For example, compound leaves now look different to me than before, when they felt indistinguishable from leaves on a stem.

I’d also say that having a broad familiarity with the identity of the organisms around me makes it easier to remember specific properties of those organisms, like who eats what, who is poisonous to humans, what grows at what time of year, and so on.


So much! I’ve relied on the taxonomy info a lot when trying to identify other people’s observations, which has taught me a lot about what species are related and which aren’t. I’ve also learned to identify a lot of birds and animals from my region that I didn’t know before.


In some ways, I feel like my nature knowledge has contracted since using iNat. That is, thanks to iNat, I can now say with confidence that if the organism I’m looking at matches an entry in my field guide, it is definitely a lookalike that I’ve never heard of.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But it is no exaggeration to say that I have begun identifying things to the genus level that I used to identify to the species level.

So, in a sense, my nature knowledge has expanded in that I now have a more nuanced concept of how diversity is defined and measured and that the diversity even of places I thought I knew well is higher than I had imagined.


Always interested in Nature… then came photography…FILM and PRINT! Years (decades) later, still putting along… identifying as well as I could, scouring books.
Now I’m retired, rural and with my own area to explore. I’m out everyday the weather and health allow. I am definitely a “generalist”. There’s so much I have learned and I know that I know basically nothing!
I know that eventually I will need to move, that used to scare me. Now I look forward to it because it will mean an entire new set of everything is waiting…


I only started using iNat this year (and then mostly since April).
I found I now observe the world much more closely. I see things I never saw before. I find the variety of wildlife incredible. And I find it everywhere from city to country.

I’ve learned about a lot of different species, some I can now confidently ID, some I know need a microscope to ID fully, and when taking pictures, on some species, which angles or characteristics are important to capture.

Most of all though, I love this new lens on the world, and the increased depth of experience now when I walk.

(and I’ve also got quite a bit better at photography)