Port Aransas may be a small town, but we are mighty when it comes to observing and documenting our wildlife. This year, Port Aransas and Mustang Island competed in the fourth annual City Nature Challenge. Over 150 cities across six continents took part in this citizen scientist effort to observe and photo document the most organisms in their communities with the app iNaturalist. Port Aransas came in second, per capita for number of observations, species documented, and participants! Port Aransas also had the highest percentage of research-grade verification of species.
Nature exists in every city, and one of the best ways to study it is by connecting scientists and the community through citizen science. As global human populations become increasingly concentrated in cities, it’s more important than ever to document urban biodiversity and help ensure the future of plants and wildlife. Large pools of data built through iNaturalist, natural history museums, and science organizations help authorities make informed conservation decisions that allow humans to coexist sustainably with the plants and animals in their neighborhoods.
The iNaturalist app now contains a vast amount of information of the types of plants and animals found in the Coastal Bend area. It’s a useful tool for any nature enthusiasts to identify the organisms in Port Aransas or many other locations around the globe.