BioBlitz – finding nature in the city

BioBlitz is a unique opportunity for scientists, students and the public to experience the vast array of species (biodiversity) living in an urban reserve.  The goal is to count as many species as possible in a 22-24-hour survey of a large urban area. The emphasis is on recording the total number of species, not naming every creature that has been found. Past BioBlitzes have recorded over 1000 species at each of the locations.  It is not unusual to find new records for New Zealand.

It is unusual for so many biologists and so many biological disciplines to work together to work together in the same place, at the same time and on the same project. It is a great opportunity for scientists to talk to interested people and equally, a great opportunity for the public (adults and children) to talk to scientists, including a chance to look down their fancy gee-whizz microscopes at ‘Base Camp’. There’s always lots of interesting specimens and displays at base camp.

To get a taste at what goes on at a BioBlitz, have a browse through the various photos from previous events.

The searchers

Teams of specialist ‘…ologists’ (botanists, mycologists, entomologists, etc) search around the clock for every possible species they can find. Nocturnal animals, such as some insects and vertebrate pests, are much easier to find during darkness. Most species can be identified in the field.

Scientists also have a programme of field trips for the public visitors. These are free although children must be accompanied by an adult or responsible care-giver. Field trips are essentially guided walks lasting 30-60 minutes, with an introduction to various techniques that scientists may use in the field. Generally we try to provide a couple of nocturnal events as well … light trapping moths with ‘moth man’ Dr Robert Hoare, and spotlighting spiders and weta with ‘spiderwoman’ Grace Hall.

 

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