By Sarah Haselton
What is a bioblitz? A bioblitz is a citizen-science event combining the efforts of the public to record as many species as possible within a specific region. These events often take place over a short period of time, up to 24 hours, and the area studied can vary in geographic region as well as size. At a bioblitz event members from the community work together with the common goal of better grasping the local biodiversity. The data collected from bioblitz events are important resources for local conservation efforts. The end goal of a bioblitz is to get an overall tally of animals, plants and fungi in the designated location. These events engage the public with their surrounding ecosystems and create an awareness of overall ecosystem health.
The data collected during a bioblitz utilizes the online network called iNaturalist. iNaturalist creates a platform to share, analyze and understand the biodiversity inventory. The hope of this social network is to create both research quality findings and to motivate community members to protect our environment. While iNat has some technical qualities, it is user friendly and automatically tallies a species for your bioblitz and presents the results in a visual, easy to understand manner for both yourself and fellow participants.
How can you get involved? The Watershed Project, TWP, has partaken in past bioblitz projects and will continue to do so. During a full moon in November TWP monitored the oyster beds located at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond, and will be out again next fall. We will also be taking to the creeks in May and June to look at benthic macroinvertebrates, an indicator of water quality. We encourage you to keep your eyes open for future events hosted by both TWP and other non-profits such as this City Nature Challenge hosted by Wholly H2O at the Albany Bulb. If you are interested in learning more about local biodiversity and being a part of the citizen science efforts in your area, join us for future bioblitz events!