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.
A BioBlitz has different opportunities and benefits than a traditional, scientific field study. Some of these potential benefits include:
- 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.
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. 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 exper 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.
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
- 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.
- The Canadian Biodiversity Institute held numerous BioBlitzes between 1997 and 2001.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Robert Bateman Get to Know BioBlitz 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.
- 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.
- Harrison Hot Springs had a BioBlitz in July 2011 to highlight the biodiversity of species in the Fraser Valley.
- 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.
- In 2010, the first year it was held, Connemara National Park won the competition having recording 542 species. In 2011, Killareny National Park won the event having recorded an astonishing tally of 1088 species. Crawfordsburn Country Park won in 2012 having recorded 984 species. All of the data are made available through an online mapping system, Biodiversity Maps http://maps.biodiversityireland.ie/# and hard copy species lists are produced http://bioblitz.biodiversityireland.ie/bioblitz-species-lists-now-available/
- 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.
- 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.
- Faro was the first city in Portugal to have a BioBlitz, in October 2009.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 with help from the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club and was sponsored by First Citizens Bank. The 24 hour event found 654 species - 211 plants and 443 animals.
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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/)
- Alaska: The Chugach National Forest and Alaska Department of Fish & Game-Diversity Program organized the first BioBlitz in Southcentral Alaska on July 23 and 24, 2011, to coincide with the International Year of Forests.
- California: The San Diego Natural History Museum began hosting a yearly BioBlitz starting in 2008. The 2008 BioBlitz was held in Balboa Park and in 2009 the event was held at Mission Trails Regional Park on May 1–2.
- California: The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden organized a BioBlitz of its natural spaces in May 2007.
- Colorado: The National Wildlife Federation has been providing a toolset based on the eNature.com species data in the Denver/Boulder metropolitan area since 2004. Results are online.
- Connecticut: The Center for Conservation and Biodiversity and Connecticut State Museum of Natural History have held seven BioBlitz events since 1999. The current record for a single Connecticut BioBlitz was set in 2001 at Tarrywile Park in Danbury, where 2519 species were recorded in the 24 hour period.
- District of Columbia: A BioBlitz at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. in 1996 found approximately 1000 species.
- Washington, D.C. 2007: The National Geographic Society held a BioBlitz in Rock Creek Park on May 18–19. The event was later on a segment of the TV series Wild Chronicles which airs on PBS. Participants included J. Michael Fay, Sylvia Earle, and Boyd Matson.
- Florida: In Manatee County, the local government's Department of Natural Resources (formerly Conservation Lands Management) has sponsored annual BioBlitz events, every spring since 2007. The surveys rotate between the county's different parks and preserves. This event, however, involves only a 12-hour survey instead of the standard 24-hour.
- Hawaii: At Punahou School, a biannual BioBlitz is organized by the students. The event examines certain parts of the campus, and has been held there since the summer of 2008. The BioBlitz there happens once in winter, and once in summer.
- Illinois: The Field Museum of Natural History and other organizations held a BioBlitz in Chicago in 2002. There are several bioblitzes in parts of the forest preserves of Cook and Lake County.
- Maryland/DC/Virginia, 2006: The Nature Conservancy sponsored a Potomac Gorge BioBlitz where more than 130 field biologists and experienced naturalists volunteered their expertise in an effort to see how many species they could find. During a 30-hour survey period from Saturday, June 24, through Sunday, June 25 their surveys revealed more than 1,000 species.
- Maryland: Jug Bay BioBlitz was sponsored by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCPPC) Patuxent River Park staff and rangers, May 30–31, 2009.
- Massachusetts: 2006 collaboration between the Boston Museum of Science and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. The first bioblitz in a series sponsored by the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. The first bioblitz to utilize CyberTracker and NatureMapping technologies for data collection.
- On June 25–26, 2010, a BioBlitz was held in Falmouth, Massachusetts, using town conservation land and adjacent land owned by the 300 Committee (T3C), Falmouth's land trust. Surveys for 15 taxa were planned. About 120 volunteers participated. Preliminary estimate of 930 species found but this number is likely to increase as data are finalized. Full results to be published later in 2010 on the T3C website.
- On September 29th 2010, the TDWG Techno/BioBlitz was held alongside the Annual Biodiversity Information Standards Conference in Woods Hole.
- Missouri: Sponsored by the Academy of Science, St. Louis, partners from the public, academic and corporate sectors collaborated on BioBlitz at Forest Park in St Louis in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The 2010 St. Louis BioBlitz is scheduled September 10.
- New Hampshire: Squam Lakes. 2008. The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in collaboration with Squam Lakes Association and Squam Lakes Conservation Society in cooperation with the Holderness Conservation Commission, the US Forest Service Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, UNH Cooperative Extension, Plymouth State University, NH Fish and Game Department, and Ecosystem Management Consultants.
- New York: Saw Mill River watershed, Westchester County, September 2009. Groundwork Hudson Valley, leading the Saw Mill River Coalition, conducted a Saw Mill River BioBlitz on September 25–26 with more than 50 scientists from a wide variety of fields. A concurrent conference on the health of the river was held at Pace University in Pleasantville that was open to the public and had activities geared for children. Funded by a grant from Westchester Community Foundation with additional support from US EPA and NYS/DEC Hudson River Estuary Program. Major co-sponsors joining the effort were Westchester County Parks, Recreation and Conservation; Teatown Lake Reservation; Pace University's Department of Biology and Health Sciences; Pace University's Academy for Applied Environmental Studies; Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society; Greenburgh Nature Center; and the Saw Mill River Audubon.
- New York: Central Park. 2006. In collaboration with the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, the Explorers Club, the American Museum of Natural History and the Boston Museum of Science. This is the first bioblitz in history to incorporate the collection and analysis of microorganisms.
- New York: A BioBlitz at Central Park found more than 800 species in 2003, including 393 species of plants, 78 of moths, 14 fungi, 10 spiders, 9 dragonflies, 2 tardigrades, 102 other invertebrates, 7 mammals, 3 turtles, 46 birds and 2 frogs.
- New York: On August 27-28, 2013 a BioBlitz  at Central Park was held in partnership with Macaulay Honors College of CUNY. With help from the Central Park Conservancy over 350 Macaulay students worked with nearly 30 scientists and cataloged more than 460 species. 
- North Carolina: The North Carolina Botanical Garden in collaboration with the Morehead Planetarium sponsor an annual bioblitz in September on garden-owned property.
- Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Biological Survey hosted an annual BioBlitz at different locations around Oklahoma starting in 2001. Their 2010 BioBlitz will be held on October 8–9 at Kaw Lake in north-central Oklahoma with a base camp at Camp McFadden.
- Rhode Island: Rhode Island Natural History Survey has conducted annual BioBlitzes in the state since 2000.
- Vermont: The Vermont Institute of Natural Science held a BioBlitz in 2004 at Hartford.
- Washington: BioBlitzes conducted using NatureTracker software on PDAs for conservation planning./
- Wisconsin: The non-profit Biodiversity Project held three Great Lakes BioBlitzes with support from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and NOAA in 2004. The sites were Riverside Park in Milwaukee; Baird Creek Parkway in Green Bay; and Wisconsin Point in Superior.
- Australian Bird Count (ABC)
- Breeding Bird Survey
- Christmas Bird Count (CBC) (in the Western Hemisphere)
- Seabird Colony Register (SCR)
- The EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds
- Tucson Bird Count (TBC) (in Arizona, US)
- "BioBlitz - Definition of BioBlitz n the Entomologists' glossary". Amateur Entomologists' Society (AES).
- "Bio-blitz home page". Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
- "Kenilworth BioBlitz Home Page". Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Canadian Biodiversity Institute Online".
- "Saint Mary's University BioBlitz - Past BioBlitz". Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Whistler Bioblitz
- Cairns, Lois (19 February 2012). "Mining opponents plan blitz to help protect Coast plateau". Sunday Star Times.
- The Center for Conservation and Biodiversity
- Center for Conservation and Biodiversity - Results from the 2007 BioBlitz
- TDWG Techno/BioBlitz