Is it possible to sort by species abundance in a location?

Species with only one or a few observations for a given locality are usually the most in need of curation. Observations that fall into this topic fall into one of three types followed by the reason we want it to be discovered, identified, and either made research grade or corrected as quickly as possible:

  1. Uncommon species to that area: increases confidence that it is a legitimate population of that species.
  2. Recent introduction: could be a new invasive species.
  3. Really bad misidentification: to keep the species lists and maps accurate.

Here are my questions:
Is there a feature that allows us to easily find or even sort by species abundance within that area or something similar? By species abundance, I simply mean that observations species with few observations in an area are displayed before observations of species with many observations within an are. I think there was an “out of range” option at one time which might be useful as a work around, but I can’t seem to find it.

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Not sure I entirely understand, but this may come close:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=12874&subview=table&view=species

Example for location ‘Hamburg’, replace 12874 with a suitable place ID.

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Is there a way to invert the order? That “species view” presents species from the most observed to the least observed. Is there a way to do it the other way around? Or do we need to scroll to the bottom of the list?

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I had no success in reverting the order. But others here may have more experience with URL tweaking than me.

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iNat really isn’t set up well for any sort of abundance measuring or analysis.

Observations are very much dependent on locality, ease of visibility, and “popularity” of the organism, things that are so user subjective that it skewes any sort of abundance data enormously. In addition, if a user is a long-term resident of an area they may not record multiple observations of any particular species as it’s kind of “normal” for them. Observations often wind up skewed in favor of “unusual” organisms.

iNat is best used for presence/absence and loosely for species range (with a lot of caveats on that), but not for abundance.

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True, but if you look at the original post, especially number 3 on that list, observation abundance might be good enough for that purpose.

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There is no way to invert the order even via some fancy Url manipulation.

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I use the Compare tool for this, but everything needs to be broken into taxonomic groups of 500 or fewer species observed. Example: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2021-chicago-metro/journal/51399

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Out of atlas observations are here: https://www.inaturalist.org/atlases?filters[is_active]=True&filters[is_marked]=True
But there are some issues with that list.



You can do it with the API, e.g. https://jumear.github.io/stirfry/iNatAPIv1_observations_species_counts.html?place_id=12874&verifiable=true&order=asc

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I’ve made a webapp for personal use that does this. It’s a work in progress, but feel free to use it as well, get the coordinates of where you want to search from google maps. By default it shows you what species have been seen within a radius of x from those coordinates. The list is sorted by least observed species.

https://inat-app.firebaseapp.com/

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I really need to get used to working with the API. To change the parameters I just need to tweak the url you used?

Yes. There is a lot of info on search URLs here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-use-inaturalists-search-urls-wiki/63

And the API documentation for species counts is here: http://api.inaturalist.org/v1/docs/#!/Observations/get_observations_species_counts

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But arguably that’s the exact issue OP is discussing here. Common organisms are unlikely to be misidentified because they will have many repeated observations from different observers, even if the actual ratios of observations per species don’t correlate with the actual occurrences. By contrast, rarer species are of bigger research concern because they may record the presence of species that tend to be poorly sampled (as well as the other concerns @nathantaylor mentioned here, and one misidentified observation in these cases can make the difference between whether a taxon is recorded as present or absent at a locality because there aren’t multiple agreeing observations suggesting it’s presence.

Case in point, in many of the localities I have made observations at it would be nice to be able to see which species have been least-heavily observed, so I can be aware of for which taxa additional confirming observations are most needed (at some sites very common taxa are represented by single observations) or which need to be double-checked for accuracy. But I cannot do that without first scrolling through the long, long list of more frequently observed taxa.

I.e., presence/absence is the issue of concern here, and the format of iNat right now makes it more difficult for people to curate this information.

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This is great! I just wish this could be used as a sort option in Identify.

To clarify for the other answers, I’m not really looking for abundance specifically, but looking for all the species that have very low numbers of observations. The following was essentially exactly what I was looking for:

Now I just wish there weren’t 569 names with only one observation in the region I’m looking at… It’s likely than none are correct and all will have to be reviewed.

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usually for this kind of thing, i will use the recent taxa API endpoint, which is the thing that the website uses to display Discoveries on the Taxon page. it’s a little quirky (has known issues) but often seems to get the job done.

here’s what i was using to find odd identifications for my local CNC (which could be adapted to search based on taxon): https://jumear.github.io/stirfry/iNatAPIv1_identifications_recent_taxa.html?place_id=110679&quality_grade=needs_id%2Cresearch&per_page=50

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