Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Maria Alejandra Chardon Suarez - University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
Co-Author(s): Adolfo Rodriguez Velazquez, Dr. Alberto M. Sabat
The advances in technology, the internet and social media networks, has allowed the creation of diverse information sources in which the scientific citizens are the ones who make the most contributions. The data used for this investigation was presented in social media networks and pages of sighting reports of wildlife to determine current distribution data, patterns of reproduction, habitat determination, and diet, among other aspects of the biology of the Borikenophis portoricensis (Puerto Rican Racer). This snake used to be quite common in various areas were anthropogenic activity had thrived. It is believed that in recent years their population has decreased. It should be noted that there are very few studies focused on this species. Using keywords in search engines, a total of 73 pages of sighting reports and 50 groups in social media networks were revised. In these, all publications in Puerto Rico were considered from the moment of the creation of the page, publication dates, municipality of the sighting, snake activity, physical condition, and injuries. The data was processed using a macro in Microsoft Excell, the percentage was calculated, and comparisons were made between these. A map of the positions and abundances of the species was generated. From the reviewed databases, a total of three pages of observations were found (iNaturalist, HerpMapper and Videoteca Fauna PR) and three groups on Facebook (Biodiversidad de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican Herping and Wildlife Photographer of Puerto Rico) with sighting data of the Borikenophis portoricensis. A total of 240 publications were documented in 62 municipalities of Puerto Rico. A large concentration of the sightings (32%) were in municipalities of the northern area, associated with carcass habitat. Similarly, it was found that the months of greatest presence of neonates are August, September and October (75%). In terms of feeding, despite being one of the activities with the least documentation (6%), there was a preference for amphibians and other reptiles, within these some invasive species. A total 41% of the snakes were being held by a person which can be a high-risk activity because this species is poisonous, and there is no record of its venom been thoroughly studied. It should be noted that Facebook groups had a greater record of sightings (82%), it is understood that this is due to the greater accessibility and less complexity when making a publication compared to the observation pages. Both sources of information are of great benefit for the knowledge of the species, environmental education, forms of conservation and documentation. As future research, we intend to increase the sample and include other species and other statistical tests.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Adolfo Rodriguez Velazquez, Dr. Alberto M. Sabat
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Alberto M. Sabat, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: My tasks for this investigation included: obtaining data from the social media network pages included in this investigation; for every listed sighting, I carried out an extense evaluation of locations, keywords, biology of the organism (example given: if organism was neonate, juvenile or adult, physical state, and activity carried out by the snake). After I reunited data from 240 sightings across the island, I processed the data and constructed a map to determine current distribution and habitat determination.