By Sydnee Byrne
Shannon DeCillis (left) and Samantha DeTurris (right) using nets to document bugs on the bioblitz (Photo by Sydnee Byrne)
The first annual bioblitz expedition was hosted by the Environmental Studies department in an effort to promote biodiversity and sustainability on campus, and preserve the woods after Broadview’s construction. Any student with a passion for the environment was welcome to come along!
According to National Geographic, a bioblitz is “also known as a biological inventory or biological census,” and its purpose is to document different species of bugs and plants to see how many invasive species have made their way into our environment.
“This area of forest was supposed to be set aside and conserved,” said Dr. Allyson Jackson, an environmental studies professor who led the afternoon expedition.
But as the construction of Broadview continued, there were issues within construction that led to this area of forest being cut down and used for a sewer line.
There ended up being a “huge amount of trees and plants lost due to the construction of Broadview,” according to a student named Chia-Li Sung, which is why documenting what is left of the native plants and bug life in the area is so important.
“We want to know how much ‘good stuff’ and ‘bad stuff’ there is,” says Dr Jackson.
Not only did we lose plants and bugs to Broadview, but invasive species have also proved to be a huge problem. This bioblitz will also help to document any invasive species that are in the area that may be impacting native species growth.
Students who were a part of the bioblitz, which occurred Sept. 22, were
A group of students tracking species using the app
iNaturalist (Photo by Sydnee Byrne)
equipped with jars and nets of varying uses to help them in their process of identifying and documenting the species.
The documentation process was done with a mobile app called iNaturalist. The app allows you to document species you are unfamiliar with and help identify them, and depending on the species, your picture may be sent in for research done by experts. You essentially become a citizen scientist and help promote research on biodiversity.
The three-hour bioblitz allowed the group to explore an area of woods along the road that would normally be very hard to access, but because of a sewer line being put in from the construction of Broadview, there was a big cut into the woods that made it very easy to walk through.
The Environmental Studies department hopes to be able to continue to do bioblitz excursions like this one in the
The area of forest that was being documented (Photo by Sydnee Byrne)
future, but that is entirely dependent on student involvement! So, if nature and the environment is one of your passions, the Environmental Studies department urges you to put on some sturdy shoes and long pants and document some bugs!