A tool for biodiversity exploration, education, and
Links to other BioBlitz
The BioBlitz approach is illustrated at this web site using the data, reports, and accounts taken
during the 24-hour BioBlitz expedition to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
National Park hard upon the banks of the Anacostia River at the heart of the urban
wilderness of Washington D.C. (May 31 - June 1, 1996). The name and concept of the
BioBlitz is not registered, not copyrighted, not trademarked, and not a government thing.
Its just an idea that can be used, adapted, and modified by any group, who should freely
use the name BioBlitz for their own purposes.
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 and Unique Species/Groups. 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 Occurrence. 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.
Join the BioBlitz E-mail Discussion Group
Simply send an email message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the body (not the subject line) put: subscribe bioblitz <your
Send it off and you will get a confirmation message from the computer
regarding your subscription .
Links to Other Blitz
Projects and Related Things
Species List from Kenilworth
1996 Bio-Blitz Expedition to
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Monitoring Home Page
This site is still open to constructive embellishment - please send comments to Sam
Droege - email@example.com
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.