A Community’s Quest To Document Every Species On Their Island Home

  • A Community’s Quest To Document Every Species On Their Island Home

    Posted by Darren on May 7, 2024 at 12:14 pm

    A Community’s Quest To Document Every Species On Their Island Home (Full Article)

    Biodiversity Galiano (better known as BioGaliano) is among the more ambitious, comprehensive, and grassroots biological inventories being carried out anywhere on Earth.

    BioGaliano is a formidable ledger of scientific knowledge and a baseline against which to measure ecological change in the future.

    “The first main goal was just initially this obsessive goal of documenting all of the living things,” says Simon. “The second goal was to engage the community in that process and to make biodiversity research more friendly and participatory.”

    BioGaliano participants can use iNaturalist, an online platform and app, to identify species by simply uploading a photo, and a machine-learning algorithm will spit out a name—Digitalis purpurea, a perennial plant commonly called foxglove—with a high degree of accuracy. The wider iNaturalist community, which includes many experts, confirms the identifications or fills in blanks where the algorithm fails.

    By the end of 2021, BioGaliano had documented over 4,000 species in its six years of operation

    Andrew Simon, the naturalist spearheading the Biodiversity Galiano project, has an MSc from the UVic School of Environmental Studies, where he investigated the implications of seasonal drought for plant and pollinator communities in the southern Gulf Islands. In 2019, he was awarded an Islands Trust Community Stewardship Award for his work as the curator of the Biodiversity Galiano project. Beyond Galiano, Andrew also serves as the president of the Institute for Multidisciplinary Ecological Research in the Salish Sea, with the vision of increasing community capacity for long-term ecological research in the greater bioregion.

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