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Wednesday, April 8, 2009


A BioBlitz is a 24-hour inventory of all living organisms in a given area, often an urban park. The term "BioBlitz" was coined by National Park Service naturalist Susan Rudy while assisting with the first BioBlitz at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Washington D.C. BioBlitz in May 31 - June 1, 1996. Approximately 1000 species were identified at this event. This early BioBlitz was conceived and organised by Sam Droege (USGS) and Dan Roddy (NPS), and inspired many other organisations to do the same. The bioblitz name and concept is not registered, copyrighted, or trademarked; it is an idea that can be used, adapted, and modified by any group to freely use for their own purposes. The next year, 1997, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History conducted a BioBlitz in one of the Pittsburgh parks. They added a public component, inviting the public to see what the scientists were doing. At about the same time Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson and Massachusetts wildlife expert Peter Alden developed a program to catalog the organisms around Walden Pond, which led to a state-wide program known as biodiversity Days.

A bioblitz has the dual aims of establishing the degree of biodiversity in an area and popularising science. Botanists, mycologists and entomologists all play a role. Some BioBlitzes are an annual event.

Scientists establish a base at a point close to the area and provide expertise in identifying organisms found by the public as well as doing their own inspection of the area.

A full BioBlitz must take place over a full 24-hour period as different organisms are likely to be found at different times of day. Schools may organise BioBlitzes over a shorter period of time, but the results will less accurately show the variety of species in the area.

The First Annual Blogger BioBlitz is planned for the week of 21 - 29 April 2007. Participants pledge to conduct individual Bioblitzes and the results will be compiled and mapped. So, unlike traditional BioBlitzes the surveys are not likely to be deep across many taxonomic groups. However, they will serve to raise awareness about biological diversity and will provide a broad snapshot of spring diversity in many locations.

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