I have trail cameras around my place, and upload the interesting photos that I get. Mainly deer, raccoon, possum, coyote, things like that. But I also get lots and lots of pictures of squirrels, rabbits, and those sorts of animals. Which are wildlife, and in their native habitats. Should they be uploaded as well? Part of me says no, because no one is going to be at all surprised that I have squirrels in my tress! But if someone is doing a study on how humans impact species in an area, then it might be important.
Also, how often do people upload the same animal? For example, those deer. They visit my yard probably 3 times a week on average, and there is a small herd of them, around 5-6 animals. Do people post EVERY time they come? Just some of them? Only the first time?
I guess what I am really wondering is what this data gets used for, and how that could influence whether I post the 165th photo of a rabbit or not!
The answer to your final question is we don’t necessarily know what the data are used for. Perhaps someone wants to do a long term study on deer health and would use your data to see how they change throughout the year. Perhaps someone is trying to estimate the number of squirrels in an area.
As to whether or not you should upload all of your photos, it’s up to you. It’s all data so it could all be potentially useful. It kind of depends on how much effort you want to put in. I certainly would add some of the common animals at least some of the time. I consider it to be a record of appearance. Yes, squirrels and rabbits are common, but they still tell us something. Ultimately, you can never go wrong uploading more observations.
Different people do each. I do all sometimes. Or sometimes I’m lazy and do none. Everybody uses the site differently so whatever feels good for you is what you should do. There is no right or wrong.
I think you should upload anything you want to post. iNat is a place full of common bugs and plants, so you’ll only be contributing to the site by posting wildlife. Rabbits are probably very appreciated anyway, because it’s a lot more common to see an insect or a plant on here than a mammal.
I don’t know a lot about research, but either way, the IDers will be having a good time identifying your observations. And if you post more observations, that’s any number between 1 and 165 of rabbit sightings to add to the numbers. New observations are always appreciated, and people always want to keep track of the amount of animal sightings each year.
You have 78 observations, unless you have 7800 observations of one species, there’s no need to ask yourself such questions, upload anything you like.
Multiple animals from the same night in the same spot could potentially be useful if there were some sort of visually discernable pathogen going around. See what percent have it etc.
Some people may get annoyed by 6 deer photos a day from one person but others may specifically be looking for that info :)
Honestly, it’s up to you! I don’t have anything against “common species”, since they’re apart of the wildlife around us and should be treated as such. My personal rule is, at least one observation per species per trip to a specific area. If an area has a lot of a species, maybe I’ll upload three observations (of different specimens, of course) to indicate prevalence, vs one or two for a species I saw less. For places like home, I usually keep it to once or twice a week for things I see on a near hourly basis.
On the other hand, regular posting of really common species can be insightful into movements of that species. There’s a species of dove that used to be a bird you could see hourly in my specific suburb, the numbers have trickled down over the years and I’ve seen exactly one in the last six months. Still very common elsewhere in the municipal area! But also, I don’t know how the data is used.
I worry about this sort of thing too sometimes, whether it’s common species or other things that feel like I might be making weird statistics. How many Eastern Grey Squirrels and Mallards does my region need to document? If I found half a dozen tidepool sculpins under the same log all at once, am I causing statistical problems by uploading all six of them individually? If I see an unusual introduced spider inside one greenhouse facility, will multiple observations of them in the same greenhouse make them seem more prevalent in my region than they actually are? Will me posting every urban raccoon I find in my neighbourhood and never seeing or posting any from other parts of the city distort research on local wildlife?
Ultimately, though, I love finding these things and sharing them, and I know that there’s no consistent pattern to how everyone uses the platform or chooses what to upload, except that statistics are already heavily distorted by population density and socioeconomic factors. So I figure anyone using the data needs to be prepared for all the statistical irregularities that come with citizen science. Plus, who knows whether my observations might be useful! That spider I mentioned was apparently a provincial first, for example, so I figure maybe a few observations of both males and females at different sizes and across many months demonstrates that there’s a steady population of them.
Post all that you want to post! Researchers have different interests. Some may want every rabbit you can post. Others my be satisfied with one.
Photoing common species helps pinpoint changes. For example, Western Gray Squirrels are native here. They were in my yard regularly so I hardly ever photo’d them. Then Eastern Gray Squirrels moved in and replaced them in my yard. When I finally realized the Easterns were I different species, not young Westerns, I was so frustrated that I hadn’t photo’d enough Westerns to pinpoint the change. This year for some reason I have both. I post them a lot, watching for more changes. (Well, and they’re cute. Hard to resist photoing them now that I’m paying attention to them.) Post whatever interests you.
This is an excellent point about changes! What’s common when you’re making observations today might no longer be common in a few years - or might grow drastically more common - and we can’t necessarily anticipate that change. Mallards are very common observations in some regions, but if for example they were suddenly hit particularly hard by an infectious disease, having people regularly observing them before, during, and after the outbreak could be very valuable.
Please be an identifier.
We have 300K Unknowns
And only 49 million Needs ID
Like everyone else is saying, it really is up to you. What I do in order to keep my sanity as well as the sanity of some of the IDers, is to take pictures and upload every time I have something I think I have not seen in the general area I am observing. That way I am not repeatedly posting the same thing unless I am still learning to recognize it but get as much stuff as possible per area. It is a balance that works for me, but then again my personal goals lean towards species lists.
My rule of thumb is normally… one observation per individual per day. Plants I generally don’t retake (unless its in a different season or there’s been a drastic change,) but I also have a couple birds that are regulars at my feeder that have many, many observations. There’s one red-belled woodpecker that I see on occasion and you better believe every time she stops buy I’m throwing her up. Along with a cardinal pair, and a morning dove pair.
I don’t see any harm to it.
No, because iNaturalist never claimed that observation density is meant to accurately mirror population density.
It’s natural that more conspicuous or easy to photograph species will be more represented than tiny or elusive ones.
If a researcher looks at the total of observations in a pond and comes up with the conclusion that it has more mallards than Daphnia because of observation numbers he only has himself to blame.
I have almost 200 observations of Clethra alnifolia, Drosera intermedia, and Herring Gull. That is 200 for each of them. Data is data, whether annoying or not.
Now that would be an interesting bit of data – who has the most observations of the fewest species?
Out of everyone in the top 200 most prolific observers, only 1 has less than 1000 species observed(974). Out of everyone with over 25K observations, only 1 has less than 700 species(547).
Shockingly, out of the top 500 observers, only 10 have observed less than 1000 species.
If we moved to average number of observations per species observed, the highest is 56.37 obs/species for the most prolific observer.
The top observer for Castanea dentata appears to only have observations of Castanea dentata(490) Observations · iNaturalist
Hope that helps.
I’ve often wondered who has the most of one species. I know I have 13k for common reed, which I found impressive until discovering ck2az has almost 32k of creosote bush. That put my numbers to shame. I strongly suspect that is the answer to my question but I don’t know how to know for sure.
Top 1 observer has, there’re thousands of thousands of a few plants. You’re right.
I do a lot of observing in one area so ultimately I end up in the same places from time to time, so when I observe the vegetation I end up with multiple observations of say Vachellia karroo, close together, some ppl will say it doesn’t do much for research but usually if you look at an area say 1 hectare in size full of trees on google maps but there’s only one observation there, it becomes frustrating because now you know there one species there, but what are the rest of them? If you have multiple observation of same species at least that paints more of a picture of how the vegetation looks than if you only left one observation of the most common species for example, usually if a species dominates an area I like to make multiple observations of it each time I visit, the bigger picture is obviously to map the species out in the entire area, or at least get close enough to representing most of what is found there, I started using iNat so I could get an idea of what is found here so it is part of my research of the area, and I find my way of doing it more effective than if I would divide the area into smaller blocks and then do 1 complete survey of each block, that is a flawed method in my opinion because some plants are only seen at certain times of the year, so doing multiple surveys over a period of time is obviously better (unfortunately researchers never have luxury of that much time on their hands to do it that way, which is why I believe iNat is such an important tool if used correctly), so I say make multiple observations (the more observations you make then the stronger your data becomes or more useful it becomes so if you were researching deer you would make a note that you observe them 3 times a week for 6 weeks etc so why should it be any different for you who is technically collecting data for such researchers, if they don’t need such detailed data they can use what they need and discard the rest, but some ppl will need such data and then at least you have provided it ), so more observations add more finesse to your data if that makes more sense