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Are we really finished atlassing?

One of our goals was to finish atlassing the proteas. But what is "finished" and how would we know when we had "got there"?

The easiest way to tackle the problem is to keep track of all the new records coming in and when no more come in (or so few as to be negligible), then we will have completed our task. And if we did not finish, then the data should tell us how much longer would be required to complete the task. So how did we fare?

The top graph opposite shows the number of new records (corrected for the number of SRS) per batch run. At the bottom (in squares) is the summary of new records per 1:50 000 series maps. We effectively stopped getting new data by Run 100 – in January 1998. However, at a 12km X 12km grid scale (diamonds) we are still getting one new record per 12 SRS and there is no sign of this tailing off. Indeed it seems to have reached a constant and we cannot predict when we will have reached a "negligible" amount of new data!

A more detailed look at the finer scale data (bottom graph) summarizes the new data (diamonds and top line) and new records to us, but for which herbarium records exist (squares and bottom line). In both cases the values have declined, but show no signs of reaching zero. Our new data for instance started off at 1 new record per 6 SRS and has dropped over the 6 years to 1 per 14 SRS. In other words, in our last month of atlassing we had 100 new records of proteas (excluding new records for which herbarium records already existed). And with no sign of this rate abating, there is no way we can predict how much longer we should have continued for. All we can say with certainty is that we have not yet adequately mapped our proteas at a 12 X 12 km scale.

Tony Rebelo

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