New paper using herbarium and iNat data to look for plant disease evidence

I’m not a botanist or a researcher, but this looks pretty cool Just thought I’d share. Check it out!


Hello Tony, thanks for presenting this!
For sure, in case we got enough of reliable observations, either way if wild, naturalized or cultivated / captive organisms, yet propperly done and correctly assigned, this is a great source for any kinds of studies.
A while ago i studied the exceptional fungus genus Stamnaria at my home Austria, after having found this species the first time:
My thesis and some newly detected and described Stamnaria spp. were not published, but that is my personal story. Once i thought to search at all images of to find strictly parasitic Stamnaria americana and began to add fields concerning ocurrence.
Currrently we got about 5000 reports including casual ones, hence i think i won’t ever have the needed time for. Just the idea might show what was possible in general.
By the way, yesterday i got aware of the this first record for Canada: was surely happy about.
Best regards to all


Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!


Among the findings of the paper: “The disease incidence among herbarium general collections and among iNaturalist data was remarkably similar despite being recorded by different sets of observers and at different times,” despite the fact that the iNat data was not collected over as long a period or in as systematic a way as the herbarium specimens. On the other hand, the sheer number of iNat data points made it possible to run certain statistical tests that would not necessarily have been informative with the sparser herbarium data. In other words, the researchers “show that citizen observations can be valuable for filling a widening gap in our knowledge of recent species distributions and that such online platforms present opportunities for deeper research that quantifies contemporary disease incidence over spatial, temporal, and host‐specificity scales.”


Thanks for the summary! I found the note about the decline of herbarium contributions very interesting. Before I found iNat, I was planning on working with my local herbarium, but the inertia of proper preparation techniques would have delayed that. I still plan on eventually learning how to do that and link iNat observation URL to the specimen card some day.

I love that our casual efforts are being evaluated and used in rigorous science!


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