RARE Opportunities for BIO

Hello BIObus Blog Buddies! I’m here to tell you this week about a new and fascinating reserve where the Biodiversity Institute has started collecting specimens; rare Charitable Research Reserve. The reserve is over 900 acres of beautiful and very diverse landscape, which is actually conveniently close to my house. rare’s main goals include: the conservation of the landscape as well as a variety of species that inhabit the Waterloo Region, ecological restoration, research and education of the public to be more environmentally conscious and knowledgeable. rare is home to educational seminars, and a myriad of research projects, and ongoing public projects that involve a community garden and eight different trail systems. They have animal monitoring initiatives which include bird-banding and bald eagle monitoring, amphibian studies, and research projects from universities and museums.

A map of Rare’s trails and boundaries, courtesy of http://www.raresites.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2014-property-trails.jpg
A map of Rare’s trails and boundaries, courtesy of http://www.raresites.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2014-property-trails.jpg

rare is a particularly unique area in which 66% of all plants, 70% of bird species, 60% of amphibians and reptiles, and 50% of all mammals in the Waterloo Region are found. They have a large assortment of habitat types including spectacular limestone cliffs formed by ancient reefs where Bald Eagles hunt, old-growth forests where 300 year old oak, maple, beech and ash trees can be found, and a floodplain for the Grand and Speed Rivers, where a large variety of waterfowl and abundant aquatic life reside. There are also wetlands that are known to have the highest primary productivity of all aquatic ecosystem types while providing water cleaning services and a home for unusual species. The reserve’s high habitat diversity is the reason that this area can support this immense number and variety of species.

This high habitat diversity not only supports the larger and well known species, but also the insects that BIO is working on collecting. Last week we began standardized sampling for 3 sites in rare. With a riparian site, a forest agricultural buffer site, and a grassland site to explore, we set up Malaise traps, collected for our Berlese funnels, set up pan traps, pitfall traps and an intercept trap at each site. We are out to quantify the insect species within these habitats and hopefully even find some new ones!

Our forested site in Rare
Our forested site in Rare
Our grassland site in Rare
Our grassland site in Rare

We’ll be providing you with updates about rare Charitable Research Reserve and our sampling there, but for more information about Rare and its projects, read their newsletter ‘The Rare Review’, visit their website ‘www.raresites.org’, or find them on Facebook and Twitter! Hopefully I’ll be seeing some of you at some of the many upcoming events in this amazing reserve.

-Danielle

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