July 11, 2019

the amazing Vanellus chilensis nest

There is an interesting fact about the eggs of the "Vanellus chilensis", its shape. 
they do not have the common shape of eggs, they have a sort of "conical" shape with two importante consequences:
First, the conical shape alows better arrangement together; 
Second, since the "nest" is, in fact, the bare terrain soil, whitout any constraints to keep then together, the conical shape avoids them to roll far from assumed posicion of the "nest".

Posted on July 11, 2019 22:12 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 08, 2019

a look at citizen science in Latin America

Having participated in the "Workshop: Science of the Citizen of Biodiversity in Latin America" ​​held in September of 2018 in Mexico City, I met many people who taught me new ways to observe biodiversity, not only through individual specimens, but also through interactions between species, the "web of life", leading me to admire them for their competent and efficient work.
Even before going to the Workshop, I processed some simple statistics to situate myself (as one of the representatives of Brazil) in relation to the other countries that would participate in the event. I found that our performance, at least as far as the use of the iNaturalist platform is concerned, is very poor compared to the other Latin American countries.
Back in Brazil, I made several contacts with people involved with different forms of life, in universities, a journal of scientific divulgation, study groups, science citizens, government institutions and individuals, presenting them to the iNationalist, stimulating them to register their observations in a broad-spectrum database.
I updated the statistics to present them to the iNaturalist community. These statistics were prepared for the 15 Latin American countries that were represented at that Workshop. The data were obtained on July 7 counting only verifiable observations. The results are very interesting.

To compare the performances of countries with such different populations, from 4 million (Panama) to 209 million inhabitants (Brazil), it was calculated the number of observers per million inhabitants. The comparison is shown in figure 1.

Figure 1

In some sense, this statistic illustrates the engagement of the population with citizen science and the use of the iNaturalist platform. [Please, see Post Scriptum bellow]

To compare the performances of countries with such different areas, from 51,000 km² (Costa Rica) to 8,512,000 km² (Brazil), it was calculated the number of observations per 1,000 km². The comparison is shown in figure 2.

Figure 2

One can think of the influence of population density to access the sites to make the observations, but no correlation was found in this sense. It may be a result of the attention and the experience of the citizen scientist when he or she is in the field. [Please, see Post Scriptum bellow]

Comments are welcome.

Post Scriptum
The comments of "aztekium_tutor" and "tiwane" are very important, calling attention to the great amount of observations made in Costa Rica by outsiders.
Analyzing the 25 observers who have the highest number of observations in Costa Rica, only 4 of them have more than 80% of their observations in the country, while 17 have less than 30% of their observations in the country.
In fact, for a country that is not very populous and has significant ecological tourism, the engagement of the population can not be directly related to the proportion of the number of observers in relation to the population of the country. Certainly the density of observations (observations/1,000km²) is also influenced by the presence of outsiders.

Posted on July 08, 2019 14:55 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 3 comments | Leave a comment

July 05, 2019

Biodiversity in a Calabur tree sapling - update

This is an update of the post on biodiversity observed in a Calabura tree on January 31 this year
Now, six month later, we did other 51 visits to the sapling, which lead to a total of 26 species of insects, remainhing 2 species of arachnids.
To access the observations, "explore" filtering for the person's name "nelson_wisnik" and the tag "calabura". You are welcome.

Posted on July 05, 2019 14:28 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 02, 2019

Report of the "April Fool's Day 2019 - BioBlitz"

The project dealt with some species that camouflage themselves in the environ or mimic others as their way to survive, fooling us also.
A simple, basic, statistics, ilustrates how dificult is to observe them.
For birds, Nightjars and Nighthawks, there were only 6 observations including 4 different species. In the same period, there were 10,811 observations of birds of 1,195 different species.
Related to Arachnids, looking for the Cyclosa conica and the Misumena, there were only 5 observations of 2 different species, while, in the same period there were 1,525 observations of arachnids of 295 different species.
Finally, looking for Katydids and Stick insects, one got 101 observations of 28 different species, while, in the same period there were 11,403 observations of 2,846 species of insects.
The species choosed for this project are globaly spread, and the observations came from all the continents (except Antarctic).
They are as fascinate species as difficult to observe them.


Notice: the quantities of observations and species were consulted on April 2nd, 15:55GMT, it is possible to increase as more observations are uploaded, but the dramatic difference must remain.

Posted on April 02, 2019 16:01 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 30, 2019

Project "April Fool's Day 2019 - BioBlitz"

Camouflage and mimicry are ways to deceive others. There are numerous species that camouflage or mimic other species to achieve their survival.
We ourselves, observers, are often surprised when we realize what happens during our field endeavors. I mean that so many other situations we do not even realize, we are fooled.
This project pays homage to the species that camouflage and mimic, and challenges us to find them. I selected some species, perhaps more visible, found on almost every continent.
Feel free to join the project and, also, suggest camouflage and mimicry species of your interest. Good luck to all of us!
The distinction between camouflage and mimicry is not always clear when only the model and the mimic are at hand. When the receiver is known and its reactions understood, however, the distinction is quite clear: in mimicry the signals have a special significance for the receiver and for the sender, which has evolved the signals in order to be perceived by the receiver; in camouflage the sender seeks to avoid detection by the receiver through imitation of what is neutral background to the receiver. [1]
In seeking to differentiate between camouflage and mimicry, camouflage can be consider as a more 'passive' attribute, in which an organism has evolved to blend in against a background, whereas mimicry has a more 'active' component to it, whereby an organism copies a specific species or behaviour.[2]

[1] https://www.britannica.com/science/mimicry
[2] https://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/forest-ecology/mimicry/
[3] https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2016.2080

Posted on March 30, 2019 03:34 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 25, 2019

Project "The World Water Day 2019 - BioBlitz March 22 to 24"

"World Water Day is an annual UN observance day (always on 22 March) that highlights the importance of freshwater. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. World Water Day is celebrated around the world with a variety of events. These can be educational, theatrical, musical or lobbying in nature." [1]
It is well known that the forms of live we deal with in the earth are all, or nearly all, dependent of the water. Being so, we needed to choose some few to catalog in the World Water Day. We avoided the obvious species that expend all their lives in the water (fishes, algae, for exemple), in favor of some that have have relation to water either in time or space, are around us, and do not demand sophisticated equipments to observe them.
"Amphibians are small vertebrates that need water, or a moist environment, to survive.
The species in this group include frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. All can breathe and absorb water through their very thin skin." [2]
"Most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought. Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water." [3]
"Bromeliads often serve as phytotelmata, accumulating water between their leaves. The aquatic habitat created as a result is host to a diverse array of invertebrates, especially aquatic insect larvae. These bromeliad invertebrates benefit their hosts by increasing nitrogen uptake into the plant. [4]
"Nymphaeales, the water lily order of flowering plants, is found in quiet freshwater habitats throughout most of the world.
All plants of the Nymphaeales order are aquatic." [5]
The results show that, for the categories of life being observed by the Project, 62% were observations of Amphibians, while 34% were of Cactuses, only 3% of Bomeliads, and even fewer, only 1% of Nymphaeales.
The result for Nymphaeales did not surprise me, but the result for Amphibians was quite impressive since I hardly observe one.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Water_Day
[2] Animal Encyclopedia, National Geographic Book (C) 2012
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cactus
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromeliaceae
[5] https://www.britannica.com/plant/Nymphaeales

Posted on March 25, 2019 22:38 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 24, 2019

The Cecropia

Cecropia is an interesting genus, opportunistic in some situations, pioneer in others. This is due to the fact that their seeds germinate and the species develops under sunshine.
When one has new soil, for example a silting of a lake or in the margin of a river, the Cecropia has advantage over other species. This also occurs when a clearing is opened in the woods due to the fall of one or more trees, allowing the insolation to reach the ground. Cecropia survive on poor soils and are part of the early stages of ecological succession.

On the other hand, its life can be short because, providing shade for the growth of other species that do not develop under insolation in the first stage, it is surpassed in height and, consequently, shaded, which causes it to perish. Typically, in the forest, the life of Cecropia lasts for about twelve years.
Many individuals of the genus Cecropia live in symbiosis with ants, which inhabit the hollow of their stems and, in turn, protect them from insects that try to feed on their leaves.
Moreover, the fruits of Cecropia are appreciated by several species of birds, and its leaves are part of the menu of the sloth and the howler monkey.

To access the observations, "explore" filtering for the person's name "nelson_wisnik" and the tag "Cecropia". You are welcome.

Posted on February 24, 2019 01:35 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 23, 2019

The Euterpe

Reading of the book "The Atlantic Forest of South America" [1](*), from the Chapter #34, "Harvesting and Conservation of Heart Palm", which deals with the heart of palm of the Euterpe edulis, I learned about the possibility of hybridization through cross-pollination between Euterpe edulis, the "jussara" palm of the Atlantic Forest, and the Euterpe oleracea, the "acai" of the Amazon.

Althought I knew they were similar, I could not think of hybridizing because they are endemic of ecosystems distinct and very far apart. So, the hibridizing occurs in artificial plantations, intentionally or not.
Even though their similarity, these two species were explored very differently by the populations of their ecosystems, the peoples of the Amazon, said "primitives", and the peoples of the Atlantic Forest region, said "developed".  The latter almost led the species to extinction [2].
At present, some native peoples of southern and southeastern Brazil are allowed to pick up palm "jussara" in the Atlantic Forest, but the collection is also done illegally, hastily, with processing done in the forest itself, having occurred cases of botulism due to lack of hygiene.
I remember that in my childhood my mother bought the palm heart jussara "in natura" and cooked it at home (just boiled in water and salt), we were not at risk, consumption was not great and there was no awareness of sustainability.
Due to the extinction risk of Euterpe edulis, an alternative palmetto has been offered on the market, from the "pupunha" palm, the Bactris gasipaes, with good acceptance.
The "acai" product has also been offered in the region of the Atlantic Forest, but produced from the "jussara" palm tree, taking advantage of the "acai" fame, without jeopardizing the sustainability of the "jussara".
The juice of the "acai" needs to be kept refrigerated, frozen, a very high cost to bring the Amazonian "acai" to the region of the Atlantic Forest, but it is exported to the United States and Italy.

To access the observations, "explore" filtering for the person's name "nelson_wisnik" and the tags "E_edulis" or "E_oleracea". You are welcome.

Figure caption: acai plantation in the Marajo archipelago

[1] The Atlantic Forest of South America *
      Biodiversity Status, Threats, and Outlook
      Galindo-Leal, C. and de Gusmão Camara, I. - Editors
      Center for Applied Biodiversity Science
      (c) Conservation International, 2003
      ISBN 1-55963-988-1 / ISBN 1-55963-989-X

(*) This book was given to me by Dr. Carlos Galindo-Leal, to whom I thank very much

[2] https://de-barco-na-amazonia.blogspot.com/2009/06/quem-tem-ensinar.html

Posted on February 23, 2019 00:41 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 16, 2019

The Jari channel

Upstream and not far from the mouth of the Tapajós River, a tributary of the Amazon river, is the "Furo do Jari", a channel that allows the entrance of water from the Amazon River into the Tapajós River. The length of the Jari channel is about 17 nautical miles (approximately 19 miles, or 31 kilometers), and it give access to the communities Arapixuna and Carariaca.

The Amazon river has "whitewater", while the Tapajós river is a "clearwater" river, which means, besides its appearances, that they have quite different chemical, physical and organoleptic properties [1]. Being so, the seazonal variation in the mixture of the waters in the surrounding floodplains results in an overall biodiversity enhancement.

I had opportunities to visit the Jari channel and did, up to now (January 2019), 55 observations of 36 different species.

[1] www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)

To access the observations, "explore" filtering for the person's name "nelson_wisnik" and the tag "Furo_Jari". You are welcome.

 To visualize the Jari channel, you can see the videos:

Posted on February 16, 2019 20:09 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 06, 2019

Parasitized eggs

In a Calabur tree there were insect eggs that, because of their dark coloration, seemed to have been parasitized. They were collected and monitored until its outbreak.

It was confirmed that the eggs were parasitized, apparently by insects of two genera, Gryon and Telenomus, which are still pending confirmation.
I did gather the eggs but the microscope photos and the identification of the genera were done by the entomologist Dr. Valmir A. Costa, and they are presented here with his permission.
Comments and any help to the identifications are welcome.

To access the observations, "explore" filtering for the person's name "nelson_wisnik" and the tags "calabura" and "parasite". You are welcome.

Posted on February 06, 2019 01:54 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik | 0 comments | Leave a comment