BioBlitz Results and Documentation
A TOOL FOR BIODIVERSITY EXPLORATION, EDUCATION, AND INVESTIGATION - THE
Illustrated using the data (approximately 1000 species recorded),
reports, and accounts taken during the 24-hour Bio-Blitz expedition to
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, hard upon the banks of the
Anacostia River at the heart of the urban wilderness of Washington
D.C. (May 31 - June 1, 1996)
(Results housed at http://www.im.nbs.gov/blitz.html)
THE IDEA. Organize the natural history talents of the top scientists
and naturalists living within urban centers to document the
biodiversity present at their backdoor.
JUSTIFICATION. The allure of the pristine, the remote, the tropical
has linked natural history discovery with exotic locales, far-off from
our homes and lives, and forever on the frontier. But, not so! The
distribution, occurrence, and patterns of plants and animals is
nowhere on this planet completely documented. The Bio-Blitz is an
initial step toward closing that gap. Informal in methodology and
organization, it can be molded by the sponsoring group to fit the
circumstances and talent pool of the region.
THE PROCESS. Count as many species from as many taxonomic groups as
possible in a 24-hour time period. The details of when, where, and
how are forged to fit the local situation. See the write-up about the
Kenilworth Bio-Blitz and the comments and suggestions made by
participants. We encourage others who put together a blitz to add
their comments also. These will act to guide future blitzes.
WHAT A BIO-BLITZ CAN DO FOR YOUR PARK OR REGION. Below are listed a
number of the benefits accrued to the participants, the blitz site,
participating organizations, and the critters being blitzed.
FUN. Alright, professional training begs us not to put fun first
on the list, yet the child naturalist within knows that crawling
around in the woods and fields looking at plants and animals is
about as good as it gets.
BRINGS OUT THE SPECIALISTS. A one day event, especially one
surrounded by colleagues and other naturalists, is about the only way
(short of paying) that a local area can get good taxonomic information
for some groups of species.
IDENTIFYING RARE/UNIQUE SPECIES. By bringing together the best
in the field, their insights can be used to identify uncommon or
special habitats for protection and management. In some cases
rare species may be uncovered.
DOCUMENTING SPECIES OCCURENCE. The lists of species generated for the
site, while incomplete, are an excellent starting place for
inventories. With such talent in place information will be added even
for well covered species such as birds. For example, on the
Kenilworth Expedition several new bird species were added to the park
list, despite being birded by local ornithologists for years.
MEDIA ATTENTION! Bring together an eclectic stew of colorful
mycologists, ornithologists, lichenologists, bacteriologists,
herpetologists, ichthyologists, entomologists, and botanists.
Sprinkle well with other suspected misanthropes and you will have
reporters eating out your hand. Put that same group's
publications out as bait and you won't get nary a nibble.
NATURAL HISTORY SYNERGY. Naturalists are often isolated within larger
agencies or departments. Getting out into the field with folks from
other fields decreases inbreeding, leads to new insights, presents
possibilities for cross-fertilization, increases the overall fitness
of the entire community.
PARK/SCIENTIST BRIDGE BUILDING. The scientist/park manager
relationship can often be a prickly one. Hosting a Bio-Blitz
gets the park staff acquainted with local scientists and resolves
permit and collecting issues at one time with a minimum of
paperwork and misunderstanding.
ESTIMATE SPECIES RICHNESS. Mark-recapture estimators can be used on
combinations of simple species lists from the same area to estimate
the total species richness for taxonomic groups without having to
resort to comprehensive samples.
WHAT A BIO-BLITZ WILL NOT DO FOR YOU.
COMPLETE INVENTORY. A one day event cannot come near to documenting
all the species present. The species pool changes throughout the
year, so no matter what day is chosen, species will be missed.
BASIS FOR MONITORING. Repeating a Blitz on the same day each
year should not be thought of as a means of tracking change over
time. The loose nature of participants, the vagaries of species
detection, weather, observer skill, and many other factors all
conspire to limit the usefulness of among year comparisons.
However, repeated blitzes will add to the accumulated species
inventory and are a good means for identifying groups that would
benefit from a more formal monitoring program.
MAKE YOUR CAR PAYMENTS. Nobody is going to get rich off of organizing
BioBlitzes. Participants, in all likelihood, will always be
volunteers, needing nurturing and tender care lest they bruise and not
return. Sponsoring organizations should, however, be in a good
position to recruit small grants from local governments and
foundations to defray some of the logistical and reporting costs.
All documents/gifs/results are available at web site:
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L L L L L L L
Sam Droege FROG@NBS.GOV
w 301-497-5840 h 410-798-6759 fax 301-497-5784
NBS, 12100 Beech Forest Dr., Laurel, Md 20708-4038
But nature is a stranger yet;
The ones that cite her most
Have never passed her haunted house,
Nor simplified her ghost.
To pity those that know her not
Is helped by the regret
That those who know her, know her less
The nearer her they get.
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 1996 15:07:36 -0400
From: John Wullschleger
Subject: Re: group for marine concerns?
Along these lines, is there a list focuses on intertidal
Olympic National Park
On 06/27/96 you wrote:
I would like to know if anyone knows if there is a group solely for the
discussion of Marine concerns?
is a global e-mail discussion list on all aspects of marine biology.
The purpose of the Marine Biology list-server is to provide
a forum on all issues of interest to marine scientists throughout
the world. To subscribe to the list please send a message to:
with the line:
and no signature.
For any list related or administrative issues please contact:
Furthermore a compilation of electronic mailing lists (listserv) which have
a Marine, Oceans or Coastal focus is available at:
I hope this will be of some assistance.
Labo. d'Ecologie Bat. 403 R.de C.
Universite LYON-1 Tel: (33) 72 43 15 83
69 622 Villeurbanne Cedex Fax: (33) 72 43 11 41