Fishers Island on iNaturalist shows biodiversity

by Jane Ahrens

In August 2021, the Museum held a special Biodiversity workshop, led by Murray Fisher, where he showed an eager group of citizen scientists how to use their cellphones to help create a record of all living things present on and around Fishers Island.

If you couldn’t make the workshop but want to contribute to the iNaturalist Biodiversity project on Fishers, you are encouraged to download the iNaturalist app and find out more about the Fishers Island Biodiversity Project.

Fishers Island, iNaturalist

Fishers Island is undoubtedly a place of great natural beauty—on our beaches, in our marshes, woodlands, grasslands, and even our own backyards. But what range of species live here? We can fairly easily observe the wide variety of plants, birds, and mammals with which we share our island, but most people miss the smaller things.

[button color=”green” size=”medium” link=”” icon=”” target=”true”]Project Fishers Island Biodiversity Species[/button]

Luckily, a remarkable platform named iNaturalist has been developed to help users identify any living organism. It is brilliantly simple to use. Users upload a photograph (from their phone or computer) and the platform’s image recognition software will guess an identity for it. Then that “observation” is automatically shared with nearly two million users, including specialists, who can help confirm the identity of the species. iNaturalist allows users to not only identify any living organism but to keep a catalog of everything the user has seen. It also facilitates the creation of projects like “Fishers Island Biodiversity” that group observations based on time and geographic parameters.

Many Fishers Island iNaturalist observations have reached Research Grade status, meaning that they are shared with the Global Biodiversity Database and can be used by scientists and policymakers when regulating and managing species.

A species that has shown up on South Beach and observed since November 2021 is the Atlantic Black Seahare (Aplysia morio) Research Grade, ID’d by iNaturalist and confirmed by Mystic Aquarium.

The following observers had photographs on display in the Ferguson Museum’s 2021 exhibit: Jane Ahrens, Kit Briggs, Marnie Briggs, Tracy Brock, Benjamin de Menil, Jamie Doucette, Murray Fisher, gerardwayscatmitch, Stephanie Hall, Michele Klimczak, Frank Laskowski, lydbug14, Sara Maysles, Foster McBride, Terry McNamara, Dr. Adam B. Mitchell, Fishers Island Photography, Linda Musser, Kristen Peterson, Phoebe Polk, Alex Pollack, Pierce Rafferty, Laird Reed, Alexa Rosenberg, Jack Schneider, and Harry Yerkes.

Please go to to see thousands more observations of the flora and fauna of Fishers Island by simply searching for our location.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

A Fishers Island Community Center Program and the accompanying Fog Horn eNewsletter serve as the communications resource for the Fishers Island community. The content – news, calendar, links and photos, milestones, ads, and more create a clear image of Fishers to those on and off the island.

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