Using iNaturalist to assess spatial variation in coat colors
Kelsee Dodd, undergraduate researcher in the Pease Lab, is leading an exciting project on whether open-access biodiversity databases such as iNaturalist can provide more than just species occurrence records to the wildlife research community. Here, we used citizen-science occurrence records with photographs from iNaturalist to gather and delineate the colormorph of American Black Bears (Ursus americanus) in North America. We then compared how coat color morphology evaluated from citizen-science records compares to previous findings from the 1980s.
We plan to expand this approach to other species with geographic variation in color to fully assess the database.