A rare BioBlitz

Hello everyone, today I want to tell you about my first BioBlitz! It was held at rare Charitable Research Reserve on Sunday, August 16th. I have previously visited rare to do some standardized sampling with Dan and Kareina, so I knew where we were going, but as this was my first BioBlitz I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Our BIO collections team had been preparing almost all week for it, so I knew we’d have a ton of fun.

I arrived at 12:30, pulling up to the barn that was to be our home base. The rare team had set up tents and tables for us to eat at later, and we had a variety of stations set up inside the barn for the actual science stuff! The first teams went out to do some fieldwork, and bring back samples. I went with a rare representative and another BIO member, and boy were we hot! We were sampling a wetland on Blair Flats, where we had previously set up a malaise trap and some bucket light traps. At first we were unsuccessful in finding water where we could get some aquatic samples from. Although the area itself contained an abundance of wetland plants, and no doubt had a solid groundwater supply, it was dry at the surface where we first started. Moving to the middle of the wetland area we managed to find a few feet of water to grab some aquatic samples to bring back and sort at our base.

Me looking through aquatic samples
Me looking through aquatic samples
Participants identifying Lepidoptera in the field
Participants identifying Lepidoptera in the field

When we were back at the barn which was serving as our base, we brought the samples to our sorting and IDing station. There were a variety of sorting stations, including an imaging station, plate-making stations, an archive material reference station and others. I spent the afternoon sorting through three different aquatic samples, picking out the specimens and sorting them based on order into vials. We found hirudineans (leeches), a variety of hemipterans (true bugs), coleopterans (beetles), molluscs (snails), some collembolans (springtails), ephemeropterans (mayflies) and zygopterans (damselflies).

Participants sorting through what we caught
Participants sorting through what we caught
Fungi team going over what they found
Fungi team going over what they found

All in all it was an incredibly successful BioBlitz. We found well over 4000 specimens, and they are now being processed at BIO! We will definitely be running another one in the future!

-Danielle

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