Where to focus our effort? Using our time wisely

One challenge with species documentation is to figure out where it is worth it to spend our effort looking for unreported species. I have already briefly touched on this with my post on dragonfly and damselfly species richness and abundance by county. However, there are many ways to look at the data we currently have available.

We know that there are several counties that we just have not had that many people out looking for new records, thus there *should* be easy county records if we could just get someone to turn in reports from those counties. Later, I hope to be able to compile information of which Odonates we are missing that are found in specific habitats. So ideally, I will be able to say “We found species X, Y, and Z in ___ county, which are all known river species. How about checking out a few ponds, bogs, seeps, or other areas?” For now, I am sticking with rough metrics as I learn more about the individual species habitat preferences.

Similar to my earlier maps, I created new maps in R to illustrate counties that have fewer than 300 records (43 counties!!) or fewer than 40 reported species (17 counties).

This is a map of the Ohio counties that have fewer than 300 observations (in blue) reported as of Dec ’16 in the OOS database. This also includes the vetted iNaturalist records. Map created in R using packages ggmap, mapdata, and dplyr by MaLisa Spring.

This is a map of the Ohio counties that have fewer than 40 species (in blue) reported as of Dec ’16 in the OOS database. This also includes the vetted iNaturalist records. Map created in R using packages ggmap, mapdata, and dplyr by MaLisa Spring.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that these counties are some of the lower populated regions of Ohio.

Ohio Population map from 2010 census data with red showing high population density and green showing lower human population densities. This map was created by JimIrwin under the GNU Free Documentation License.

However, human population and sample effort are not the full explanation as to why the above counties have such low reported species richness. It could also be that those regions also have little aquatic diversity (ponds, streams, inlets, rivers, bogs, and other areas will all bring different Odonates). Especially considering that southeastern and southern Ohio also have low sample effort and human population, but have more than 40 species reported. If you have been to southern and southeastern Ohio, you know that the terrain and habitat are extremely different from the flat-lands of the north and western parts.

So what does this all mean? Well, that much is up for interpretation. We need dragonfly and damselfly records from ALL parts of Ohio, but these maps show that at least a few counties could be considered neglected. If you live in one of the well reported areas, we still want your records! However, if you decide to plan a weekend Odonata Adventure to get more county records with your name attached, consider going to one of the neglected regions in the maps. Later, I will try to do posts focusing on one county at a time, highlighting a place to check out.

How do I report records? See the tabs for Photo Submission and for Physical Collection protocols.

How did you make those maps? I’m glad you asked! The maps were made in R using packages ggmap, mapdata, and dplyr. I have uploaded both the R code and .csv file if you want to take your own shot at making maps.

Want to learn more about Odonata and the survey? Odo-Con-17 still has space available and we would love to see you there! It is June 23-25, 2017 and we would like it to be a great kick off event for the Ohio Odonata Survey.

If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me at spring dot 99 at osu dot edu or on twitter @EntoSpring.

 

-MaLisa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *