Some questions + hello from a beginner

Hello!

I’m a new user from Israel. I moved here from New Jersey about four years ago.
I’m a rising college freshman at Bar Ilan University, where I’ll (hopefully) be studying Biophysics.

In the last week I’ve learned to identify some of the most common local weeds and birds, plus a few other creatures. I’ve got no background or training whatsoever, just a lifelong passion for animals and nature.
It’s been a fun learning experience!

I looked for iNat Guides in my area, and none exist. Nor for neighbouring countries such as Lebanon or Egypt. Does anyone have a suggestion what I could use in stead?

I’ve started sorting out lactuca serriola and lactuca virola , because it’s a) one of the first plants I learned to identify using iNat, b) a common upload c) not too difficult to ID and d) I get the impression that plants usually wait the longest for IDs.
At some point I’ll learn to ID more, but this feels like a fine way to start.

I also want to know, how far apart do two observations of the same species have to be in order for the data to be useful to researchers?
Recording two of the same (common) plant or bird 100 meters apart doesn’t seem so helpful. What’s a good rule of thumb?

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Welcome to iNat!

Nothing wrong with uploading observations of the same species in close proximity to each other. In fact, depending on the research question/study, lots of very close records could actually be more useful! Clumped records might reveal that that particular area is a hotspot/high population density area, which could be useful for applications like finding good sources to repopulate other areas.

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Welcome the forum and site.

Guides are an old unsupported feature on the site, which ones got made is a bit random. People still can work on them and do new ones, but there are no guarantees about what exist.

2 other options you can learn to use.

Please note that on the Explore tab, the species summary is limited to 500 species, and is sorted in frequency of observations, so for something like plants, you may need to further filter for instance to Dicots, Monocots, etc to come under the 500 limit.

Alternatively you can use the checklist for a place and filter to the kind of things you want to look at. Checklists if completed properly will include things both reported and not reported in tems of observations, but allow a little less flexibility in terms of scanning through records etc.

Here is the Israeli national checklist with no applied filters
https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/7141-Israel-Check-List

You are correct that it typically takes longer for plants to be reviewed, and in the end a lower percentage of them (along with fungi) tend to ever get identified. This is discussed here :
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/why-are-trees-slow-to-get-identified/3756

There is no absolute rule about distance or separate individuals as observation. Under the absolute strictest reading of the guidelines the site has written, every individual, even if they are 2 plants a meter apart need to be separate records. Most folks on the site are not really willing to do that level of entry. No approach you take is ‘wrong’ (if they are the same individual organism, then all photos of that should go into 1 observation).

You can read more here
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/what-is-an-observation/3367

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@thebeachcomber
That’s good to know! Thank you.

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Useful, thank you! I’ll experiment with this more, and look at the checklist too. I figured out how to set an equivalent filter on the phone app.

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I suppose I’ll try to strike a balance between unique observations and a somewhat representative density of common species.

Thank you in general for the help and links!

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