Los Angeles River

Overview

We ask our volunteer community scientists to use both eDNA and iNaturalist.

iNaturalist citizen scientists from around the world have made over 26 million observations of over 230,000 species. While iNaturalist provides a tremendous amount of data, there are limitations to photographic observations.  Some species are overrepresented and some species are underrepresented in iNaturalist because of what, where, and when people choose to take photos.

Instead of relying on people to record organisms that they find interesting, eDNA records all organisms that are in the area.  eDNA has its own set of limitations. Because we do not have DNA barcodes for all species, sometimes we can not match the DNA found in environmental samples to actual species. Small organisms that are more evenly distributed are more likely to be detected than large organisms that move in and out of an area.

We will use both eDNA and photographic observations to take advantage of the benefits of both methods. As you can see from the graphs below, eDNA and iNaturalist give different perspectives about biodiversity.

eDNA

Total Occurrences of a Taxon

divisions count percent
Animalia 1214 4.41
Archaea
Bacteria 10753 39.06
Chromista 4312 15.66
Fungi 8028 29.16
Plantae 1902 6.91
Protozoa 694 2.52
Other 0 0.00
Total 27528

Unique Taxa

divisions count percent
Animalia 192 6.10
Archaea
Bacteria 733 23.28
Chromista 486 15.43
Fungi 1300 41.28
Plantae 322 10.23
Protozoa 73 2.32
Other 0 0.00
Total 3149

iNaturalist

Total Occurrences

divisions count percent
Animalia 80714 65.97
Archaea 1 0.00
Bacteria 3 0.00
Chromista 18 0.01
Fungi 1576 1.29
Plantae 39961 32.66
Protozoa 78 0.06
Other
Total 122352

Unique Species

divisions count percent
Animalia 1772 54.24
Archaea 1 0.03
Bacteria 2 0.06
Chromista 10 0.31
Fungi 226 6.92
Plantae 1243 38.05
Protozoa 12 0.37
Other
Total 3267