Thursday, May 29, 2008

Visit Our New BioBlitz Blog!

National Geographic's BioBlitz blog has a new home. Come follow the action at Rock Creek, the Santa Monica Mountains, and more here!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An Emerging Explorer

Ten-year-old Joshua White participated in the BioBlitz with his grandmother, Joyce Jayson. It was Joshua's first visit to Rock Creek Park and his first experience working "in the field."

"I wanted to come out here because I didn't have anything to do at home except watch TV," Joshua said. "Then I got here and heard the speaker talking about animals like the snapping turtle and the king snake, and I wanted to try and find some animals."

Joshua and his grandmother headed out into the park, and the fourth-grader quickly made his first discovery: a tiger swallowtail butterfly.

"I found this leaf that looked like it was up in the air," Joshua said. "I got closer and it was a butterfly. I swooped the net up behind it and caught it!"

As excited as Joshua was, his grandmother was even more pleased by the day's outcome. "We read about the BioBlitz in the newspaper, and I knew that Joshua would like it," Jayson said. "He likes everything that's outside. He's at home out here."

Photograph of Joshua's discovery journal by Mark Christmas/NGS

Saturday, May 19, 2007

And We’re Done!

The Rock Creek Park BioBlitz has officially come to an end. In twenty-four hours we’ve identified 666 plant and animal species. (See breakdown below.) That number will change as the scientists continue to identify and catalog their finds, so check back here for updates over the next few weeks.

And it’s never too early to plan for future BioBlitzes, including our next one, taking place in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California. National Geographic and the National Parks Service will continue their partnership and host a BioBlitz in a different national park for the next nine years, leading up to the National Parks Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016.

Thanks to everyone—scientists, volunteers, and participants—who made this BioBlitz so successful, and see you again next year!

BioBlitz Species Tally
Amphibians and Reptiles: 17
Aquatic Invertebrates: 21
Aquatic Plants: 30
Birds: 29
Fish: 20
Fungi: 52
Mammals: 12
Soil Invertebrates: 10
Terrestrial Plants: 232
Terrestrial Insects: 243
Total: 666

Photograph of John Francis of National Geographic and Adrienne Coleman of the National Parks Service by Mark Christmas/NGS

In the Spotlight

Photographer David Liittschwager shows a photographed beetle to the National Parks Service’s Ken Ferebee, mammals expert Marc Allard, and Sue Salmons and Dan Sealy of the National Parks Service. For his unique macro-photography style, Liittschwager photographs live specimens in Petri dishes.

Photograph by Mark Christmas/NGS

Caught by the Light

Overnight, a light trap set up to lure moths also enticed this crane fly, a long-legged relative of the mosquito.

Photograph by Jess Elder/NGS


Updated Species Count: 239

“Finding All Creatures Great and (Very) Small”

From a profile of the BioBlitz that ran in today’s Washington Post: “There were caterpillars hiding under leaves, earthworms wriggling under rocks, scientists climbing in the treetops and spiders scrambling in the grass.”

Read the complete article.

Photograph by Lois Raimondo/The Washington Post


Species Count: 414

A Bat in the Hand

One of the findings last night was a pippistrelle bat, caught in a mist net by the midnight bat team. Mist-netting is a common technique for trapping birds and bats. A mesh net about the size of a volleyball net is set up in the wild, nearly invisible to bats and birds, who fly into them.

Photograph by Colin Langston


Species Count: 410