EDDMaps collects crowdsourced sightings of plants, insects, diseases, and animals to track distribution and presence across the US. It enables users to report a sighting accompanied by a photo, creates interactive maps of all sightings of a particular species, provides information on each species’ taxonomy and native territory, and provides downloadable datasets including all sightings of a particular species. Users can easily access maps that show all states or counties with reported sightings or look more generally at the entire country, and grouped point symbology makes it easy to identify areas of the country where the species is most common. Additionally, this website offers user support in accessing and using the available data as well as training in reporting species sightings. The images below feature the information available if I am interested in coyotes (Canis latrans).
The crowdsourced nature of this website is incredibly important to the thoroughness of its data collection. Rather than being limited to a specific team of people, data is being collected on a much wider scale by including the sightings of anyone with access to technology. Such maps of species distribution are valuable in tracking the movement of invasive species and the growth or decline of specific populations. By making this data downloadable and available to others, the site promises to expand access to the data and allow for further study.
This interactive distribution map reporting all recorded coyote sightings in the US
A specific record on the map
Counties with reports (left); States classifying species as “invasive” (right)
ForestPlots.net is a website dedicated to tracking tropical forests. ForestPlots contains consistent data on over 2 million individual trees from over 4000 plots in 54 countries. The locations of the plots are displayed on a map on the website, and the data on individual trees may be downloaded for use in scientific studies. The data on this site allow scientists to study tropical forests worldwide and collaborate with other scientists working on tropical forests, which is important as tropical forests are vital to the health of the Earth, especially given our current context of climate change. The website receives funding from UK National Environment Research Council and The Royal Society. This website is relevant to research of the biosphere, and I know we will be able to recognize the importance of the data provided when we get to the biosphere unit.
Already, working on the campus tree survey, we have looked for trees in the Eco-Corridor; although we are not in a tropical forest, the focus of ForestPlots.net, our data will certainly be similar in content and format to the data on ForestPlots.net. I am sure our data will be useful in a similar manner to the data on ForestPlots if it becomes published in any way. ForestPlots.net does make one wonder as to whether there are any similar resources dedicated to forests that are not necessarily tropical.
The Coastal Change Hazards (CCH) site developed by the USGS features a plethora of information to equip anyone, average citizen or researcher alike, living near or simply concerned about any coastal area within the US. The CCH features information on a variety of natural phenomena that impact coastal communities including tides, waves, and weather – namely the hazards presented by severe storms, equipped with the Coastal-Marine Hazards and Resources Program (CMHRP). This information is acquired from Research, delivered to the Stakeholder Engagement and Communication (SEC) sector, and is applied in the Technical Capabilities and Applications (TCA) sector of the CCH program. Secondary pages within the CCH site include the Coastal and Marine Hazards Resource Program (CMHRP) -which includes a USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Data Catalog, a decadal strategic plan, and newsletter – Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, and “science stories” about coastlines around the nation.
While coastal counties (with the exclusion of Alaska) account for only 10% of the landmass of the US, 40% of the nation’s total population occupies them!
Paul Salopek, a slow journalist with National Geographic, is walking the world by foot over the span of a decade, specifically following the paths of our first ancestors who, during the Stone Age, walked out of Africa and into the rest of the world. He seeks the human experience in relation to our Earth. This website is his public journal. Every form of media is bundled up to best represent the human experience. Using ESRI to map his journey and publish dispatches regularly, Paul Salopek essentially connects raw geographic coordinates to stories of individual people and experiences.
The Incident Information System (inciweb.nwcg.gov) allows people to find information about wildfires and report new fire incidents. By searching a state, one can find any wildfires in the area and read about the situation’s status, coordinates, fire type and size, and view related news articles and photographs in a full report on the incident. The ability to file reports and have all relevant information in one place is valuable in an effort to prevent wildfires and inform the public on fires in the United States. It can also be useful to scientists conducting research on topics like climate change where abundant country-wide information on wildfires would be beneficial.
Discover Life is a website which aims to map the distribution of species across the globe, as well as help biologists ID species that they find. You can use the search feature to search for plants or animals, finding a map of their distribution, identification pictures, ID guides, scientific name, references, and more for the species. One of my favorite features at the top of the website is the IDnature guides. If you click on IDnature guides, you can check select general traits of what you are trying to ID. Try clicking through the check boxes with a specific animal in mind, and then click “search” next to the trait. On the left side of the screen, an updated list of species with all the traits you’ve searched for are available. click “simplify” (towards the left of the screen, above the potential species) once you have a few traits selected, and the questions will become more specific to sift through the remaining animals. Eventually these questions will key out one species! If you are using this to ID something, it is incredibly helpful because it refines itself to only present relevant questions. A picture of this feature is attached to the bottom of this post.
This website gives frequent updates about the Wildebeest migration in the Serengeti happening currently. You can watch videos, read comments, or look at a map of the migration route of these Wildebeests on this website. There are updates almost daily from people that are watching this migration in person and observing where the animals are going and how they are fairing in their migration journey.
Figure 1: Map of the Wildebeest Great Migration (https://www.discoverafrica.com/migration/map/)
Through looking at this website you can learn about the travel of species and why those species would want or need to migrate around, including climate or predatory reasons. There is also a live feed of the migration and maps of the path of migration for every month, as well as general information about Wildebeest migration patterns.
GEOLOUNGE is an informational and interesting website. It has information about physical geography, human geography, maps, and more. Under the physical geography tab, they have tabs for biogeography and climatology. After learning about both biogeography and climatology in our class, I was intrigued by the different articles that I found. I wanted to share this article, “These Wolves in Minnesota are Very Very Territorial” that is posted on their site because it relates to our class. The article discusses how researches have used GPA collars to track the movements of 7 wolves at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. The data that was collected on the wolves locations is being used to understand pack boundaries and for the Project’s predation research. The screenshots I have included below show the travel paths for each of the wolves. The travel paths show how each pack adheres to territories with little overlap with other packs in the area. I thought GPS tracking of the wolves is an interesting concept and could be used to track more animals and possibly provide insights about animals travel habits which could be used to make better protected conservation areas.
After reading this article, I clicked on a related link: “Using Remote Sensing for Mapping and Counting Animals.” This took me to GISLOUNGE, which is also another interesting and informational site, related to GOELOUNGE.
This website is an interactive site created by the United States Geological Survey that shows global crop production. Specifically, it produces visualizations of cropland extent/area, crop types, irrigated versus rainfed agriculture, cropping intensities, and cropland change over space and time. The data is projected using 30-meter resolution derived with Landsat imagery and examines over 1.8 billion hectares (12.6 percent of global terrestrial area) of cropland. It also has a feature that shows where human settlements are located which is interesting because it can show disparities of food production and brings into question how certain places became large settlements. It relates to our class because of its use of Landsat, but also because of the interaction of the lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere that create the biosphere and dictate where crop production occurs. (https://www.usgs.gov/centers/wgsc/science/global-food-security-support-analysis-data-30-m?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects)