About the Personal Bioblitz

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Personal Bioblitz logoWelcome to Rutgers' University's Personal Bioblitz Project!
This project started in 2014 by students and faculty in the Journal Club in Evolution run by Lena Struwe and Siobain Duffy in the Graduate Program of Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University. It is now an event run by Lena Struwe and students in collaboration with iNaturalist (California Academy of Sciences), who are providing the website we use for participants to list their species.

The general goal is to discover, identify, and list as many wild species as possible in the world around you during a couple of months, from any species group, and at any place and time. We also want everybody to help each other learn to identify and discover new living things. The observation data we collect together can be used for research and will help everybody discover the real life that exist all around you, all the time, wherever you are.

What is going on? Why are we doing this?
Broad and detailed knowledge about species around us in everyday life has decreased among the public in the last decades. In general, we recognize fewer trees, edible plants and fungi, vertebrate and invertebrate animals, and spend less time on such topics in schools and universities. Even faculty and graduate students in ecology and evolution, the broadest fields of biology, find themselves unable to identify everyday species to genus, and may even be completely unaware of them. We want to counter such 'species blindness' among ourselves and our colleagues and friends and learn more about the biodiversity we see every day as researchers, consumers, and human beings.

The general goal is to discover, identify, and list as many species as possible in the world around you during a couple of months, from any species group, and at any place and time. We also want everybody to help each other learn to identify and discover new living things. The observation data we collect together can be used for research and will help everybody discover the real life that exist all around you, all the time, wherever you are, and, we promise you, you will see things you have never seen before!

CURRENT EVENTS:
  • Spring 2017 Personal Bioblitz: click here for rules, information, updates, and more for the 2017 Bioblitz.
PAST EVENTS:
  • Spring 2016 Personal Bioblitz: click here for rules, information, updates, and more for the 2016 Bioblitz.
  • Spring 2015 Personal Bioblitz: click here for 2015 rules, information, updates, and more.
  • Spring 2014 Personal Bioblitz: click here for results, information, publications, etc.

What is a Bioblitz?
A bioblitz is usually an event where people gather in an area to find as many species as possible during 24 hours, to create a more complete inventory of the species present at that time and at that place.  It also functions as a great educational event.

What is a Personal Bioblitz?
We tweaked the bioblitz idea into a longer project to encourage people to explore and discover the species that are present in our everyday lives, and learn how to see and identify more species as part of a collaborative project.  In our Personal Bioblitzes, participants discover, identify (with help from others), and list species they encounter during an extended time period. The challenge is to record as many unique species as possible per person, and to together as a group discover and identify as many different species as possible. We included all organismal groups (except viruses), and all places on earth where there are unlabeled species. For more specific rules, look under each bioblitz event (the rules have also changed between events).

Publication in BioScience: "Personal BioBlitz: A New Way to Encourage Biodiversity Discovery and Knowledge in K-99 Education and Outreach" by Nicholas B. Pollock, Natalie Howe, Ivelisse Irizarry, Nicholas Lorusso, Ariel Kruger, Kurtis Himmler and Lena Struwe doi

RU Core depository of research data: https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/47952/

Watch a short movie about the 2014 Personal Bioblitz

How many species can you find in your backyard? 
What is that sound under the sink, really? 
"Ick, a bug - wow, it is a Speckled Sharpshooter! Cool!" 
Seashell treasure hunt - which ones are the same?
Fungi, are they really slimy? 
A drop of pond water, a drop with hundreds of invisible species?
"Salamanders in New Jersey? You bet! I can show you where."
Lets explore, discover, and be amazed.

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