Science and Goals of the BioBlitz

Data
The first goal is to compile a snapshot survey of the life on a particular property as an indicator of the biodiversity of the area. This data will add to the data collected through other efforts such as PNDI information from the State, the NPS survey of Flora in the Delaware River Corridor, the 1991 Natural Areas Inventory of Wayne County by The Nature Conservancy and other sources. The Upper Delaware BioBlitz is modeled after the Monroe County BioBlitz which compiled the 4th of its biannual inventories, with over 1,078 different species of plants, insects and animals catalogued in 2012.


Public Awareness
“BioBlitz is designed to increase the public's awareness of the variety of life in their immediate neighborhood and the services these various species provide to improve the quality of their lives. We usually hear the word "biodiversity" in regard to rainforests with their vast number of species. Yet the diversity of life in our own backyards is phenomenal. We take for granted clean water, fertile soil, and air to breathe. Yet these are all the result of working ecosystems filled with species that perform these tasks. From our morning shower to our late night snack, we are supported by biodiversity every minute of the day. What better way to address the topic than to invite people to share in our 24-hours of discovery and to experience the vast array of species that we can find in their neighborhood park in just one cycle of the day” – UCONN’s BioBlitz site.


Excite Kids about Science
The Saturday of the BioBlitz is open to the public through outreach to local schools and families. The visitors will have an opportunity to see the collected specimens, look into microscopes, talk to the experts and read resource books provided by the experts. The total number of unique specimens collected by each team will be posted above the teams table giving the kids an idea of the abundance and provide some competition between teams. Since all of the specimens will have come from throughout the site to the “base camp” the visitors will have the opportunity to see the diversity of local life in the context it enjoys and also to head out on guided mini-forays.


Interdisciplinary Research
The BioBlitz provides an ideal opportunity for collaboration, comparison and discussion between biologists in different fields regarding the interaction and co-existence of species within the surveyed habitat. We will provide a place for dinner and casual conversation for the experts on the Friday evening of the event and optionally for the Saturday evening after the event concludes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 BioBlitz Results

Final report of the 2014 Upper Delaware BioBlitz

2014 Collection Inventory Spreadsheets

 

2013 BioBlitz Results

Final report of the 2013 Upper Delaware BioBlitz

2013 Collection Inventory Spreadsheets

 

Collection Protocols

Upper Delaware BioBlitz teams will use a variety of methods, or protocols, to find or capture and identify the life forms their group is seeking. Some of these specimens will be able to be viewed live at the team tables under the tent, while there will be photos of others. We are seeking to identify, photodocument and return specimens live to the habitats where they were found.

The bird team will actually begin their 24-hour period of identifying birds on the property early Friday morning (a better time for bird activity), and will use binoculars and their knowledge of bird calls to identify species as they survey the property. Their two-person teams will again survey assigned sections of the property late afternoon into early evening.

The invertebrates team will do mostly aerial sweep netting for adult insects.  They will, however, likely try setting up Malaise traps (netting traps which intercept and funnel flying insects into a collecting bottle) too.  They will also run UV lights after dark for collecting night flying insects.

The mammal team will use Sherman live traps and Havahart traps, which will be baited, set in appropriate habitat, and checked periodically throughout the 24 hour period.  Triple high and single high mist nets will be set up prior to sunset, opened near dark, and checked frequently for bats or other animals (they frequently catch flying squirrels too).  Other methods will include identification of mammal tracks and signs, and sightings on the property for mammals less likely to be captured (e.g. white-tailed deer, black bears, beavers, muskrats, river otters, foxes, porcupines, and skunks).

The aquatic macroinvertebrate (animals without backbones large enough to be seen without magnification) team will primarily use a kick net for sampling riffle habitat in Shehawken Creek and sections of the West Branch and the mainstem Delaware River. This approximately 8” by 19” net is set vertically on the stream bottom, and the substrate is disturbed for about a meter upstream of the net so that aquatic macroinvertebrates wash down into the net.

The fish team will utilize boat, tow barge, and backpack electrofishing, which temporarily stuns fish and enables them to be netted. They may also set up a hoop net in non-flowing water habitat. There will be a live display some of the fish they’ve captured in an aquarium at their table under the tent.

The reptile and amphibian team will use hand-capture, dipnetting and turtle traps as sampling techniques. They will also have live specimens on display at their table, before returning them to the habitats where they were captured.

The fungi team will search suitable habitats on the property for mushrooms and other fungus forms, and will bring back to the display table fresh specimens of the various forms they find. They may then follow up with specific identification using dissecting scope or microscopic evaluation.

The botany team will employ a meandering transect approach, with team members walking through each habitat and recording all plant species observed.  Plants will be identified to species level, if possible.  Photos of some of their interesting finds will be displayed at their table.

The mosses and lichens team will photograph and collect specimens they find on the property, and will have photos as well as some specimens on display at their table.