Does anyone use observations labelled as Captive/Casual for any serious purpose? I’m looking specifically at plants in gardens, but the question is more general. If no one finds them of any scientific value, I’d stop taking the time to put them in and concentrate solely on wild observations.
If they don’t interest you, don’t make them. iNat is a tool for making observations. It’s not a project with goals for those observations. Uses of the data are user driven. Projects can also help organize observations toward goals.
Granted, many of us use it for presence/absence inventory of an area. It can help. Or range or habitat information for given species. No single dataset is complete but the more you have, the better. If you don’t have a defined purpose, observe what you enjoy or attach yourself so someone else’s project goals (officially or follow their lead).
I use them when observing leafminers, pollinators, and other (primarily) insects making use of them. Many of them, leafminers especially), are very specific in their host needs. I frequently make dual observations, and link them in the comments.
I understand the scientific value as a nice side effect, to me the main purpose of iNat is connecting People to Nature. I am using INat to keep track of my observations, and to organize them.
Sometimes one likes to get a name for plants growing in a garden, so it just makes sense to post them on iNat.
For example, i tried to get an ID for some of my houseplants (but it turned out to be complicated).
I have heard good things about a garden and houseplant ID app called PictureThis. It was recommended by a docent at a botanical garden I visited a few months ago. I have not tried it out myself, though.
I am using casual/captive observations of flowers to look at flowering dates and some morphological variation questions. But I agree that you should look at the things that interest you.
When designing invasive species legislation, it is important to know which invasive plants are popular gardening subjects or especially commercial crops. Also, it is important to know where invasive species they are being grown in gardens, orchards or plantations, so that they can be monitored in the adjacent environment.
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I can imagine a scenario where a researcher would use casual observations (for instance, tracking changes in bloom or fruiting time from year to year), but I don’t think it happens very much.
I take casual observations to keep track of my own garden - it is very useful when you are worrying about when your plants might emerge, you can look back to the previous year and see a record of it. Or if you are tracking plant stages - I notice that identification guides always put something in its peak there, but usually the plant is before or after that stage, so it’s nice to have a record of everything from germination to maturity. But if you don’t have a personal use for it I don’t think I would bother.
I do for the purposes of identifying plants at my local arboretum. Some of the plants there are natives, but since they were actually planted they are captive. But some are ornamentals that grow well in this area. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/gcgc-arboretum-at-kilgore-lewis-house. In any case I want records of these plants to show for Greenville county, South Carolina.
I’m already connected to nature, have been all my life (johnsankey.ca/naturalist.html). The only reason I started using iNat was to allow wider use of my observations, specifically in my case how many living things you can find on an urban house lot. I already have notes and publications on everything natural around me. Hence my question.
Yes… We rant about invasive plants yet our gardens and landscapes and and plant nurseries and garden centers are full of them. Captive/cultivated specimens are a source of the problem. Seeing them for sale locally really concerns me. During an Invasives BioBlitz I encouraged the inclusion of cultivated invasive species.
If it’s something special or rare-in-the-wild it can be nice to add it, if only to help train the computer vision algorithm, which does draw from cultivated/captive observations with multiple identifiers.
I don’t do captive observations (usually), but I don’t mind if other people make them. They may have less scientfic value, but if it helps to get people interacting with the site (and eventually posting non-casual observations too!), it’s a good thing. Plus, if you don’t like casual stuff, you can always choose not to search for it.
I myself have one casual observation, because I found it an interesting enough picture. One day, my partner who does beekeeping just handed me a handsome drone. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/48157801
It may not be a wild animal, but I like these pictures and thought others might too.
I personally like two projects here, on iNat.Both are exclusively for captive/cultivated: Biodiversity in Food Markets of the World and Domesticated Biodiversity Project. I think they have good potential even for research. But both have their own rules and not every captive/cultivated OB can fit into any of them.
Although I consider the photos of wild thing much more important, the casual photos have some uses, too. I’ve posted a cultivated plant or population that is the source of young wild plants I post. When I suddenly had to teach a plant identification course on-line spring term, I posted both wild and cultivated plants with the flowers dissected (gathered in the “Dissected Flowers” project) for the students to use for studying and keying. Garden-grown individuals of wild species are useful for sharing what they look like with other people – I can just e-mail the link, not the half dozen or more photos.
And, though I suppose I shouldn’t admit it in a situation where curators see it, I think there is value in certain odd observations that end up in “casual,” e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38453080 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55569710. ;-)
One advantage of iNat for cultivated plants, is that my ‘exotic’ is your ‘wildflower’. It helps to have various international eyes. Yesterday someone from Chile was sorting out IDs for planted palms in Cape Town … no, that one is a Yucca.
Others have already mentioned Food Markets, but there are other uses as well.
I keep track of the wildlife trade with these two projects:
There are also a handful of users (myself included) who add cultivated plants (orchids in particular) so that there are at least representatives of each species on the iNat database so people who encounter them in the wild can see what they look like.