Nathan Taylor Curador

Unido: 03.jul.2014 Última actividad: 23.jul.2024 iNaturalist

Observations with my IDs, identification resources, Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum identification links, and my identifications (stats).

I am a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State University working in the herbarium at the Department of Plant Biology, Ecology, and Evolution (a mouthful, I know). I am currently working on species delimitation of the Euphorbia fendleri complex under Mark Fishbein. I graduated with my Master's Degree from Sul Ross State University several years back where I worked at the Sul Ross Herbarium with the curator Dr. A. Michael Powell. My primary interest is in Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum (synonym Chamaesyce), but I am interested in most plants and like trying to identify them, particularly plants of the Llano Estacado (essentially the high plains of Texas and New Mexico) and the Trans-Pecos. I previously worked as the land manager at I-20 Wildlife Preserve in Midland, Texas.
Formerly nathantaylor7583

I have used iNaturalist a lot and the reasons for doing so have varied. As of writing this, the following describes how I use it.
1. To represent my understanding of various taxon concepts - iNaturalist observations can function like herbarium specimens. As such, the identifications can function like annotations. As a taxonomist and a specialist in Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum, annotations serve an essential function in communicating, preserving, and understanding the proper use of the names that we give to organisms. As of writing this, I have supplied over 78,000 identifications to represent my understanding of Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum. I hope that by supplying this knowledge, future researchers, naturalists, and nature enthusiasts will suffer less confusion when attempting to identify members of Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum.
2. To create resources for identifying species - As a taxonomist, I enjoy creating resources that aid in the identification of plant species. iNaturalist supplies abundant occurrences to aid in learning species, providing reference observations when writing identification resources, and provides a community to test the identification resources on. As with the first reason, I hope that these identification resources prove useful to future researchers, naturalists, and nature enthusiasts when attempting to understand Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum.
3. To obtain biogeographical data - The most common application of iNaturalist in the biological sciences is as a source of occurrences. Scientists can utilize occurrence data to understand species ranges, create niche models, and study phenological patterns. I have used iNaturalist occurrence data for all three purposes.
4. To facilitate specimen collection - Taking an observation of an organism automatically records some of the crucial information needed to make herbarium specimens. The coordinate data can be added directly to a label and converted into a locality. The photographs can also preserve habitat, associated species, habit, flower color, and shape information with minimal effort in the field. I frequently take observations in the field and use them as a field notebook. This saves valuable time in the field that I want to use on finding interesting plants.
5. To satisfy my desire to identify organisms and learn about biodiversity - I personally love identifying plants. iNaturalist supplies an almost limitless supply of plant observations to identify. I spent and will likely continue to spend many long hours adding identifications and learning new species on iNaturalist. Because of this, I do have to be careful about how much time I spend on the site. However, when I consider this last point together with the points above, there's no question that iNaturalist has facilitated my expertise, connections with like minded individuals, and ultimately my research. For this, I am grateful.

In general, I try to focus on adding species-level identifications. This makes it easier to obtain high-quality data when I go to download occurrences. As such, I have customized my identification procedures to facilitate these identifications.

  1. Observations I can ID to species: These receive identifications that I don't change or remove unless I am convinced I made a misidentification or a taxon name change is required.
  2. Observations I can't ID to species but have good enough photos to be IDed to species: These receive identifications and are marked as unreviewed. This way I can return to these observations later as I acquire more expertise. If a species level identification is added, I will remove my identification and unfollow the observation.
  3. Observations I can't ID to species that might be unidentifiable to species: Same as #2, but I leave the observations reviewed.
  4. Observations with subspecies: It depends. If I can ID to subspecies, I usually will (in some cases, it isn't worth it; e.g., E. serpillifolia outside of CA). If I don't remember at that moment or can't but want to later, I will ID to species and mark as unreviewed.

Tagging - As with many iNatters that provide a lot of identifications, I receive a lot of tags. There's been some recent discussion regarding appropriate use of tagging. As such, I thought I'd try writing my preferences regarding tags to see what happens. I may remove this later or put it in a journal post depending on what happens. Lastly, this is not meant to shame anyone who tags me, but simply to provide a statement on my tagging preferences to facilitate communication.
Tags I value most:
People I have met and talked to at length wanting to talk about an observation for almost any reason.
Someone wants to show me something they find interesting.
Someone wants to learn the details of identification.
Someone from a trip or project that I am at least partially invested in wants an ID.
Tags I find acceptable, though less enjoyable or more dependent on the organism in the observation:
Someone generally wanting an identification for a Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum or Plant of the Llano Estacado. My interest declines as radiating geographically from Llano Estacado or phylogenetically as radiating from Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum.
Tags I don't like:
Someone tags several people based on expertise as indicated only by the "top identifiers" section to the right of an observation.
Someone tagging only based on previous identification with another observation of theirs.
Someone tagging me on a species I've identified many times before and provided information to help them identify. This is more understandable on very difficult species.
Tags I don't particularly like because of the organism, not because of the tagger:
Very difficult or unresolved species pairs that I'm not currently working on that lack enough information for an ID. This one is pretty much unavoidable. If you do know you're tagging me on a difficult species, just use some moderation and try to get the required structures next time. :-)

For anyone interested in the Chamaesyce-type Euphorbias of Trans-Pecos Texas, here is a link to my thesis.

For those interested in following what I post about Euphorbia on iNaturalist and possibly helping me by posting Euphorbias, I have a couple iNat projects. The United States project can be found here and the Mexico project can be found here. Because I don't speak Spanish, there isn't much content in the Mexico project. However, the US project has many journal posts including information about Euphorbia that you might find helpful. A list of my recommended resources is provided at the bottom of the description for each project (you may want to start here). I also did an interview on the In Defense of Plants podcast if you'd like to learn some of the details about what Euphorbias are and why I am fascinated by them. All Euphorbia observations (worldwide) that I've added an ID to can be found here.

I also have a couple guides for the Chamaesyces of primarily Texas. I hope to add more in the future. Here is the High Plains guide and here is the weedy species guide.

I also have a strong interest in the flora of Gaines Co., Texas and other places on the southern High Plains. A list of species can be found here. In order to facilitate this, I occasionally come up with treatments of groups that occur in the area like this one on Oenothera. All the plant observations that I have IDed on the Llano Estacado and surrounding areas can by found here (all) and here (only observations IDed to species or lower; view in "identify").

In addition to these, I have some journal posts to help identify Crotons (of Central Texas and Trans-Pecos Texas). All the croton observations that I have IDed in Texas can by found here.

A full list (or link to full lists) of the posts I have written here can be found here. A full list of observations I've added an identification to can be found here.

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