Bioblitzes

A bioblitz (also bioquest or foray) brings the diverse capabilities of local natural historians, professional and amateur scientists, and students to the national parks en masse to explore, share findings, and educate the public about biodiversity. It is a 24-hour event in which teams of scientists, volunteers, and community members join forces to find and identify as many local plant and animal species as possible. Participants comb the park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible. Bioblitzes represent important contributions to systematic inventory and monitoring programs and can provide basic data needed for resource protection and conservation, which enhances park managers’ abilities to protect resources. Though they do not comprehensively inventory a park’s resources, bioblitzes develop important information on species occurrences, richness estimates, and identification of rare, endemic, and invasive species. Such data address the unfunded inventory needs of parks and are an excellent way to identify and help prioritize possible monitoring needs. Among the hundreds of species counted in each event are surprising discoveries of not only rare species but also species new to the park, county, state, region, and to science. A bioblitz enhances public awareness of biodiversity in national parks. Bioblitzes facilitate educational and intellectual interactions among participants. They offer students hands-on experience and interaction with career scientists, especially taxonomists, whose numbers are declining in today’s institutions but whose skills are needed for managing biodiversity. Broad and diverse media coverage of these events offers excellent, far-reaching venues to discuss conservation and park issues. Additionally, educational programs and curriculum development can follow these bioblitzes. Bioblitzes not only benefit from volunteers but actually rely on the donation of time from professional taxonomists and experienced amateurs. These partnerships are vital to the parks and increase the richness of the bioblitz experience by bringing together different skills. Partners share the common goals of greater understanding to protect park resources and new interactive and educational outreach opportunities. Volunteers make the events possible through their support and participation on the teams. Visit the 2009 Yellowstone National Park Bioblitz page for information about the event.