BioBlitz Event Provides a Snapshot of Plant and Animal Biodiversity

Mandy Hobkirk uses an identification book while examining plants at VIU's Nanaimo Campus.

Mandy Hobkirk, Biosphere-wide Blitz organizer and Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Coordinator, says BioBlitz data is used to examine the biodiversity and species richness of an area, and to see if there are changes over time such as fluctuations in populations or increases in invasive species. Vancouver Island University Photo

April 7, 2021 - 10:15am

Participants will use the iNaturalist app for this year’s modified Biosphere-wide Blitz, which collects data that is used to inform policies on the management of sensitive ecosystems and habitat.

The Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) is hosting its first Biosphere-wide Blitz and is asking people to become citizen scientists for the day to identify flora and fauna by using the iNaturalist app.

The event has been modified from the annual MABR BioBlitz where observations are made over one day in one or two locations within the biosphere. This year the BioBlitz will span three days, April 16-18, and participants can make observations at any location within the boundaries of the region.

To participate, simply download the iNaturalist app from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, create an account and join the project “MABR Biosphere Blitz.” There is a prize at the end of each day for the person who submits the highest number of observations. Prizes include identification books on birds, flora or fungi. Learn how to use iNaturalist by watching a series of tutorial videos available here.

Observations will be accepted from any site within the biosphere region. Everyone participating in the event is expected to follow provincial guidelines and maintain physical distancing.

The event, coordinated by MABR, relies on participants to help identify species by collecting plant, animal and insect data. This data is used to examine the biodiversity and species richness of an area, and to see if there are changes over time such as fluctuations in populations or increases in invasive species. The data can be used to inform policies on the management of sensitive ecosystems and habitat.

“The BioBlitz is important because it connects people with nature and promotes knowledge sharing. It also provides us with a comparison of environmental changes over time,” says Mandy Hobkirk, MABR Coordinator. “This information provides us with a snapshot of the biodiversity of species richness from the study area and can contribute to biological species inventory for the area we are recording from.”

The information is important b­ecause data collected on any endangered species or species at risk that may be living in the area can be compared across several years, and could give researchers and conservationists some intel as to how that species is doing.

Learn more about the Biosphere-wide Blitz on Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region’s website. If you have any questions about the event please contact the coordinator by emailing Mandy.Hobkirk@viu.ca.

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C: 250.618.0373 l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region

The Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region is goverened by a roundtable, which consists of representatives from VIU’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI), First Nations, municipalities and other organizations. MABRRI focuses on conducting research and community engagement initiatives primarly within the biosphere region but also supports VIU’s Academic Research Plan by working on projects across Vancouver Island.


Tags: MABBRI | In the Community