05 February 2012

The Michigan Odonata Atlas

Okay, Mark O'Brien has let the cat out of the bag. We are beginning work on a Michigan Odonata Atlas. It will have less focus on identification than many regional publications, and more focus on Michigan distribution, abundance, and ecology. Before we reveal our own brilliant ideas, we'd be happy to hear what you'd like included. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

We are likely to create a web page and Facebook page for the project as things gear up. Stay tuned.


Cathy Carroll said...

I like the idea. Can we help/participate?

Nannothemis (Julie Craves) said...

Yes! As we get our preliminary maps together, we will be putting out a call to fill in gaps.

Silly Putty said...

Julie and Darrin- This is great! I am definitely a beginner only, and would benefit from a detailed description of how to meaningfully participate in the atlas. Is collection necessary? If so, what protocol if any should I follow to collect them, and who do you send the specimens to? Is it at all like atlassing for birds, or just incidental observations.

Nannothemis (Julie Craves) said...

Caleb, the Michigan Odonata Survey has been compiling records for years, and the planned Atlas will utilize those records. The Atlas will be based on specimen data at the county level. There are obvious gaps and needs, so I expect that there will be a call to action for this field season for people to go out and explore under-collected counties in particular, and seek out obvious species missing from well-surveyed counties (look at how many species we found in Wayne!).

So a few things right now:

-- There is a collecting guide on the MOS web site (http://bit.ly/wiYPXB) but it will be tweaked for this project. But it gives you an idea of how simple it is. We will also be publishing one here on Urban Dragon Hunters.

-- The MOS database (link in sidebar) is currently undergoing a major overhaul behind the scenes, so it is not up to date right now. But, it can give you an idea of what is missing in a county, or has not been collected in 50 years, for instance. You can search it by county. I think one goal is to generate county lists for people to work from when the database is updated. (Doug McWhirter has been mobilizing effort in his area, and could provide you with a helpful checklist, I'm sure.)

-- There is a state checklist on the MOS site with links to very old maps done by an intern some time ago, I think. So they aren't current, but might help you ballpark some species.

Mark O'Brien is in charge of all the data and specimens, and has been consumed with the transfer of all insects in wet storage from the main museum in Ann Arbor to an off-site location. This has been a long, HUGE project, so we'll really get going on the Atlas once that is complete.