Observing entire ecosystems

I really like this site:
[https://www.commanster.eu/commanster.html](https://Ecology of Commanster)
You can begin with a biotope and get a list of the species they live in
Click a particular species, and see what it eats and which species can eat it. (the trophic chain, I mean)
In iNaturalist, when a picture is uploaded you could add a tag to show which biotope is associated to.


For what its worth, I think iNaturalist is about a lot more than the species per se, so almost all of my observations include one context photo to indicate where the observation was made. In fact, I’d much appreciate it if everyone did the same. For those who don’t see the need, the context photo can be ignored, but there are some of us for whom it is potentially relevant.

Since many of my observation are of small things - invertebrates, mosses or wee herbs, the context photo often contains an obvious marker of the location of the small thing. Credit to my daughter for having gifted me a fluoro orange sun hat, which is now de rigeur field equipment for me.


On bplant.org, I created the capacity to upload a single photo or set of photos, and then identify a list of plants in them. It was inspired by the way ebird.org allows users to report lists of birds.

That was before I knew of iNaturalist though; once I learned of iNaturalist I didn’t want to be reinventing the wheel or directly competing, so I’ve focused more on developing other aspects of the site besides reporting observations of plants, mainly things like articles, ID guides, and range maps, and the ecoregion articles and maps. I also noticed that, seeing just how tricky crowd-sourced ID was, from using iNaturalist, I realized that if we were to do something of the sort on bplant, we’d need to re-imagine it relative to the way I had initially imagined it. I had imagined it working more like ebird and I’m not fully convinced that is a viable model for plants…perhaps in the end but I will need to add more checks-and-balances to ensure accurate ID.

Perhaps if some day the project grows big enough that we have a staff of multiple full time people, we can return to further developing that system.

Another related topic that I’ve been thinking of, and perhaps a project I might undertake in the near future, is the idea of taking photographs of certain vegetation cover types. USDA materials have at least three different classifications of ecosystems, plant associations, and cover types.

So for instance there are the Kuchler plant associations, and SAF (Society of American Foresters) Forest Cover Types, and FRES (Forest-Range Environmental Study?) ecosystem types like found here.

I find these fascinating. And I wish there were better documentation on them. I don’t know of an online reference with full articles on the Kuchler or SAF forest cover types, there are just lists, nothing extensive, which is sad because you could write tons on each individual type.

But like…I would looooooove to start accumulating photos of each type and then have an article on each one, with an index of photos. I actually have this on my “back burner” list. I would like to get to it perhaps after I finish the ecoregion articles for North America…but…this might be a while because I’m not even halfway done with them and have been working on it for about two years.

1 Like