BioBlitz

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Base camp at a BioBlitz in Auckland, New Zealand.

A BioBlitz, also written without capitals as bioblitz, is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period (e.g., usually 24 hours). There is a public component to many BioBlitzes, with the goal of getting the public interested in biodiversity. To encourage more public participation, these BioBlitzes are often held in urban parks or nature reserves close to cities.[1]

Features[edit]

A BioBlitz has different opportunities and benefits than a traditional, scientific field study. Some of these potential benefits include:[2]

  • Enjoyment - Instead of a highly structured and measured field survey, this sort of event has the atmosphere of a festival. The short time frame makes the searching more exciting.
  • Local - The concept of biodiversity tends to be associated with coral reefs or tropical rain forests. A BioBlitz offers the chance for people to visit a nearby setting and see that local parks have biodiversity and are important to conserve.
  • Science - These one-day events gather basic taxonomic information on some groups of species.
  • Meet the Scientists - A BioBlitz encourages people to meet working scientists and ask them questions.
  • Identifying rare and unique species/groups - When volunteers and scientists work together, they are able to identify uncommon or special habitats for protection and management and, in some cases, rare species may be uncovered.
  • Documenting species occurrence - BioBlitzes do not provide a complete species inventory for a site, but they provide a species list which makes a basis for a more complete inventory and will often show what area or what taxon would benefit from a further study.

History[edit]

The term "BioBlitz" was first coined by U.S. National Park Service naturalist Susan Rudy while assisting with the first BioBlitz. The first BioBlitz was held at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Washington D.C. in 1996. Approximately 1000 species were identified at this first event. This first accounting of biodiversity was organized by Sam Droege (USGS) and Dan Roddy (NPS) with the assistance of other government scientists.[3] The public and especially the news media were invited. Since the success of the first bioblitz, many organisations around the world have repeated this concept.

Since then, most BioBlitz contain a public component so that adults, kids, teens and anyone interested can join experts and scientists in the field. Participating in these hands-on field studies is a fun and exciting way for people to learn about biodiversity and better understand how to protect it.

In 1998, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson and Massachusetts wildlife expert Peter Alden developed a program to catalog the organisms around Walden Pond. This led to a state-wide program known as Biodiversity Days. This concept is very similar to a BioBlitz and occasionally the two terms are used interchangeably.[4]

A variation on the BioBlitz, the Blogger Blitz began in 2007. Rather than gather volunteers and scientists at one location, participant blogs pledged to conduct individual surveys of biodiveristy. These results were the compiled and mapped. The purpose of this blitz is not to survey down to species level across all taxonomic groups, but rather to raise awareness about biodiversity and provide a general snapshot of diversity.

BioBlitzes by country[edit]

Australia[edit]

  • The Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness www.alcw.org.au has run two successful bioblitzes , in Bermagui 2012 and Pambula 2014 with another planned for November 7th 2014 at Mimosa Rocks National Park. the Atlas of Life works in association with the Atlas of Living Australia(the national biodiversity database)
  • The Woodland Watch Project (part of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has organised BioBlitz's in the wheatbelt area of Western Australia in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
  • Two 'SpiderBlitz's' (variants of the BioBlitz concept) were organised in 2007 and 2008 in the wheatbelt by WWF to focus attention on threatened trapdoor spiders, and their unique habitats.
  • Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management Wheatbelt NRM ran a BioBlitz around the wheatbetl town of Korrelocking in 2012.

Canada[edit]

  • The Canadian Biodiversity Institute held numerous BioBlitzes between 1997 and 2001.[5]
  • Victoria's Beacon Hill has had two BioBlitzes, in April 2007 and October 2007. They successfully gave thanks for the biodiversity of the region. Beacon Hill has since been a site for Arborblitzs, which focus on identifying all the trees within the park.
  • Saint Mary's University (Halifax) has held an annual BioBlitz in Nova Scotia, Canada since 2008. In an effort to monitor changes in biodiversity over time organizers plan to hold the BioBlitz in a different type of ecosystem each year until baseline data is established for 6-8 differing research zones. The BioBlitz will then systematically revisit these sites, allowing new data collection from each zone every 6–8 years.[6]
  • There has been an annual BioBlitz in Whistler, BC since 2007 (2011 will be their fifth year). Over the past year they have found 2318 species in the Whistler area.[7]
  • The Robert Bateman Get to Know BioBlitz[8] started in 2010 to celebrate the international year of biodiversity. In a partnership with Parks Canada there were many sites all across Canada which celebrated bioblitzes on the international day of biodiversity (May 22).
  • Metro Vancouver has hosted their annual BioBlitz at Burnaby Lake Regional Park since 2010. This bioblitz has a large public participation component with lots of activities including pond dipping, nature walks and meeting live animals up close. The species count currently stands at 488, including a Western Screech Owl, Red-legged Frog, Brassy Minnows and Common Fern which, despite its name, had never been found in the area before.[9]
  • The Warren Lake BioBlitz was scheduled for 11-13 August 2011. Warren Lake is on the east side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. There is a hiking trail which circumnavigates the lake and it will be considered the border of the BioBlitz, i.e., there will be quite an extensive aquatic focus.
  • Stanley Park in Vancouver held its first BioBlitz August 20-21, 2011.[10]
  • Harrison Hot Springs had a BioBlitz in July 2011 to highlight the biodiversity of species in the Fraser Valley.[11]

Ireland[edit]

  • An Ireland's BioBlitz Event has been held annually since 2010 - established by the National Biodiversity Data Centre http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/ to celebrate International Year of Biodiversity. A unique feature of this event is that it has a number of parks through the island competing against each other to see which site records the most species over a 24hr period. The event is usually held on the third weekend in May each year.
  • The event is co-ordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre who mainatin a special website http://bioblitz.biodiversityireland.ie/ each year so that progress with the event can be tracked on-line.
  • To cater for the success of BioBlitz in Ireland, support is provided for a special 'Local BioBlitz Challenge' for local sites. Also, on 14-15 June 2013 Limerick City hosts the first Urban BioBlitz in Ireland.
  • On May 1st, 2014 the first Intervaristy BioBlitz was held with support from the National Biodiversity Data Centre. University College Cork, National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity, Dublin City University and Dundalk IT all competed to count Biodiversity on campus, with NUIG being the inaugural winner.

New Zealand[edit]

Dr Peter Buchanan, the organiser of the 2004-2008 Auckland BioBlitzes
  • Landcare Research, in conjunction with colleagues in other institutes and agencies, held BioBlitzes in Auckland in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008; and in Christchurch in 2005. A BioBlitz was planned for early April 2009 in Christchurch. Other New Zealand BioBlitzes have been held in Hamilton and in Wellington.
  • The first marine BioBlitz occurred on the Wellington South Coast over a month, since a marine BioBlitz is trickier weatherwise than a terrestrial one.
  • In March 2012 Forest and Bird organised a BioBlitz on the Denniston Plateau on the West Coast of the South Island. It is the site of the proposed Escarpment Mine Project.[12]

Portugal[edit]

  • Faro was the first city in Portugal to have a BioBlitz, in October 2009.

Spain[edit]

  • In Formentera (Balearic Islands), during the Posidonia Festival 2008, there was a bioblitz.[13]
  • Barcelona (Catalonia) hosts a BioBlitz yearly since 2010, organized by Barcelona City Council, University of Barcelona and Natural History Museum of Barcelona, in collaboration with several naturalist and scientific societies. First BioBlitzBcn was held in June 2010 at Laberint d'Horta and Parc de la Ciutadella. Second in October 2011 at Jardí Botànic de Barcelona. Third in May 2012 at Jardí Botànic Històric.

Sweden[edit]

  • Sweden's first BioBlitz was organized in Röttle (Gränna) on the 4th and 5th of August 2012. [14]
  • On the 7th and 8th of September 2012 a BioBlitz was organized in Fliseryd near the river Emån. [15] A total of 345 species were reported in this former industrial site on islands in the river. [16]
  • Sweden's fourth BioBlitz will be organized in Högsby on June 5th and 6th 2014.

Taiwan[edit]

  • Taipei 228 Peace Park 2008 BioBlitz on December 20, sponsored by Taiwan Forestry Bureau and National Taiwan Museum, found more than 180 plants, 11 birds and 1 mammal.

Trinidad & Tobago[edit]

  • Tucker Valley BioBlitz 2012 was the first bioblitz in Trinidad and possibly the Caribbean. It was organised by Mike G. Rutherford, curator of the University of the West Indies Zoology Museum (UWIZM) with help from the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club (TTFNC) and was sponsored by First Citizens Bank. The 24 hour event found 654 species - 211 plants and 443 animals. http://sta.uwi.edu/fst/lifesciences/TuckerValleyBioblitz2012.asp
  • Arima Valley BioBlitz 2013 was again organised by Rutherford along with the UWIZM and TTFNC and was based at the Asa Wright Nature Centre. The event found 139 vertebrates, 247 inver-tebrates, 30 fungi, 7 diatoms and 317 plants making a total of 740 species. http://sta.uwi.edu/fst/lifesciences/ArimaValleyBioblitz2013.asp

United Kingdom[edit]

Bristol Natural History Consortium now host the National BioBlitz Network. (www.bnhc.org.uk)

  • First UK Marine BioBlitz undertaken by the Marine Biological Association and the Natural History Museum together with other partners. Wembury, South Devon 2009 (http://www.marlin.ac.uk/bioblitz/)
  • Bristol May 21/22 - Organised by Bristol Natural History Consortium
  • Northumberland May 21/22 - Organised by Northumberland Biodiversity Network
  • New Forest National Park May 21/22 - Organised by New Forest National Park Authority
  • Swansea May 21/22 - Organised by Swansea City Council
  • Cairngorms May 22 - Organised by Cairngorms Biodiversity
  • Dundee May 29/30 - Organised by Dundee City Council
  • Leicester May 25/26 - Organised by Leicester City and County Council
  • Isle of Wight June 2 - Organised by Isle of Wight Council
  • London June 5 - Organised by OPAL
  • Derby June 5/6 - Organised by Derby City Council
  • Brighton June 6 - Organised by Sussex Wildlife Trust
  • Marine and coastal BioBlitz, Devon, Mothecombe, June 11/12 - Organised by OPAL and the Marine Biological Association
  • Jersey June 11/12 - Organised by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • Fife June 25/26 - Organised by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and "Celebrating Fife 2010"
  • Cambridge July 2/3 - Organised by Cambridge University
  • Lincolnshire July 9/10 - Organised by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
  • Nottingham July 18 - Organised by Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group
  • Bristol July 24 - Organised by the BNHC
  • Flintshire July 31 - Organised by Flintshire County Council
  • North Ayrshire August 1–6 - Organised by North Ayrshire Council
  • Lancashire August 7/8 - Organised by Lancashire Wildlife Trust
  • Kent August 12 - Organised by Kent Wildlife Trust
  • Corfe Mullen August 28 - Organised by Corfe Mullen Nature Watch
  • Cornwall September 4 - Organised by ERCCIS
  • Sandford School - June 10 2011 - organised by Ambios
  • Mount Edgcumb, Cornwall, September 2011. Marine and coastal bioblitz organised by the Marine Biological Association (http://www.marlin.ac.uk/bioblitz/)

United States[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]