40,000 Observations of Biodiversity in 11 Days


By Carrie Seltzer, National Geographic

Between May 15 and 25, people from more than 100 countries submitted nearly 40,000 observations of biodiversity for a global snapshot of biodiversity for National Geographic’s Great Nature Project. Each observation contains not only a photo, but also a date, location, and an identification.

This map shows the location and time of observations submitted during the global snapshot of biodiversity for National Geographic’s Great Nature Project. The map was created using CartoDB.

More than 3,000 users snapped photos of biodiversity from May 15-25 and shared them. The Great Nature Project is powered by iNaturalist.org, which means that participants could contribute their photos of biodiversity on the iNaturalist website, using the iNaturalist mobile apps, or uploading on the Great Nature Project site. Other events during that time using the same recording platform, such as the recent BioBlitz at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, contributed to the total.

The global snapshot of biodiversity is an opportunity to call attention to the plants, animals, and fungi that are part of our daily lives. Through crowd-sourced species identifications, we know that more than 8,000 different species were recorded during that time. Of those, at least 500 were recorded for the first time on iNaturalist. That’s impressive considering that iNaturalist, supported by the California Academy of Sciences, now has more than 1.4 million observations of biodiversity recorded by citizen scientists.

Species recorded for the first time on iNaturalist.org include the Northwestern Neotropical Rattlesnake (Crotalus culminatus) observed in Mexico, a Puerto Rican Semi-Slug (Gaeotis flavolineata) seen in Puerto Rico, a globally vulnerable Bearded Guan (Penelope barbata) photographed in silhouette in Ecuador, and a globally endangered Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) spotted in India. All of these records, once the identification is confirmed by another user, will —> Read More