Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Future of My Snailing

The one thing I like about snailing Luzerne County, Pennsylvania is that it is an understudied area. All my findings seem very valuable in my eyes because there really aren't a lot of records from the county. In fact, as I leaf through Pilsbry, my county seems very rarely represented in mentions about species, even those that are known to occur in surrounding counties. My county is left blank in many of the Hubricht maps. It's kind of like my own way of feeling like a pioneer. I'm in mostly uncharted territory.

However, in a week I begin my new job at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology as Interactive Web Designer for the Citizen Science Department. In such an area, where scientists abound, is it already well scoured? Will it be harder to find shells because there are more collectors? Is my beginner's knowledge and elbow grease much less valuable in the situation? Maybe, who knows. I won't know until I get up there and can start sniffing around for these answers.

But a more positive way of thinking about it is that I may be able to find someone to apprentice. Let's face it, right now, I'm practically an island when it comes to snailing. I really have nothing but some books well older than me (and in some respects outdated due to changes in taxonomy, etc) to try to parse and hope I'm correct. It might be nice to have someone to correct my mistakes in real time and offer insight. At the very least I'll have the Cornell library and can hopefully find all the articles that I've wanted but have yet been able to procure.

I'll still actually be in Luzerne County most weekends. However, I don't foresee a ton of time to devote to birding/snailing when I'm here. Of course, I'm sure I'll be able to steal a little time here and there.

A couple asides:

Besides the Anguispira I seem to have a litter of Zonitoides nitidus!

Also, I'm pleased that I've resumed work on my land snail iPhone app. I'm still researching all the species (which I've expanded to all of the northeast- from PA to ME). I'm also including snails that are known to the norther counties of MD, DE, and WV as they seem like they are at least hypothetical to the range.

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