From the article: “Using a platform like iNaturalist, keen citizen scientists can have their snaps identified by experts and share the data with aggregators like the Atlas of Living Australia and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to be used in research and conservation.”
Quite a few! I don’t have a comprehensive list, but I’ve run into a lot of stuff in the checklists that doesn’t even have a photo on calflora or calphotos either, or maybe just has a pic of a dried herbarium specimen.
Excitingly, after we published yesterday and I did the usual Twitter and FB promos, I noticed a few ecologists already joining iNat and adding old photos of rare Australian plants that were on our unphotographed list
It is great to have the publicity and to encourage more people to join and add their observations.
I haven’t gone to the original paper, but I wonder how many of the “missing” species may be already
up on iNat and just awaiting id or confirmation?
I was happy to add some Brazilian plant species to iNaturalist recently, including this one:
It was identified by a botanist, Vinicius, who commented that he’s been studying this species for five years in his doctorate (presumably from preserved herbarium specimens collected who knows when) but he had never seen a photo of the living plant!
That’s so cool! I’d totally believe there are a ton out there waiting for ID…I had a “long legged fly” sitting for over 2 years, and it just got ID’d! I don’t think it’s rare (fly folk didn’t say it was at least) but still!
Makes me wish I knew more rare species to comb through things to try and find a missing one.
Considering that the OP referenced Australia, which has extensive remote areas (“outback”), it makes me wonder how many of these unrecognized discoveries are in or near human settlements vs. in little-explored places. Many native plants unphotographed on the Nullarbor seems not so far-out; but if many native plants remained unphotographed in the outskirts of Sydney, that would surprise me.
whilst the major hotspots are indeed in more rugged and remote areas as you would expect, such as The Kimberley or Arnhem Land, there are definitely still a noteworthy number with records from around major cities (many of these tend to be grasses or sedges). In fact, there are ~150 unphotographed species with records from around the Greater Perth region, a state capital with 2+ million people
conversely the Nullabor seems to have very few unphotographed species, which is likely driven by a combination of three factors:
Low diversity region, so easier to tick the few species off compared to hyperdiverse areas
Many of Australia’s arid zone species have very wide distributions across the whole arid centre, so even if individuals of a species haven’t been photographed in the Nullabor, good chance that species has been ticked off/photographed elsewhere
Sampling biases. The heatmap is based on collections, and some of the more remote areas of the Nullarbor are likely undersampled even by botanists, so there might be some undetected unphotographed species there
I’m not surprised. It’s probably even worse for the non-vascular plants. I created a checklist for the liverworts of North Carolina a while ago, using published keys, and over 1/3 of those species have no taxon picture on iNat. I’ve looked for some of them but there either aren’t pictures or they are of dried herbarium samples or microscopy.