The article was written by UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Horticulture Extension Agent: Lorna Bravo
Every year, 100 citizens will engage in citizen science for biodiversity, by enrolling in BioBlitzes in South Florida. Every year, 25 UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardeners will become successfully trained on citizen-science tools and activities to conduct a BioBlitz.
What is a BioBlitz?
A BioBlitz is a biological survey that aims to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists, Master Gardeners, and volunteers conduct an intensive field study and explore hands-on science over an entire day. The team documents species occurrence in part through a basic inventory of biodiversity, potentially including rare species. The BioBlitz team uses a wonderful nature app iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org) that helps record and share all their observations.
Broward County BioBlitz Project Results
The first BioBlitz in Broward County took place in Tree Tops Park on November 10, 2018. The team contributed 278 observations on iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org ) During the BioBlitz; the team nearly tripled the current amount of observations in the park. The team recorded 140 species in the park, adding 50 new species to the park on iNaturalist. The group recorded, a total of 27.2 miles of trails and roads and were included in OpenStreetMap. This is a free world map that is user-contributed (https://www.openstreetmap.org).
The second Broward County BioBlitz took place at Quiet Waters Park on March 30, 2019. The teams added 350 observations and 172 species recorded ( only 12 species previously documented). The Quiet Waters Park BioBlitz included an invasive plant removal activity. The Quiet Water’s Park naturalists worked with UF/IFAS Extension Broward County’s Master Gardeners and removed 1,702 gallons of invasive plants at Quiet Waters Park during the BioBlitz event. You can read more about the BioBlitz results at https://mablab.org/post/qwp-bioblitz-summary/.
Benefits of Conducting a BioBlitz
The Broward County BioBlitz is a collaboration of the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (UF/FLREC) and UF/IFAS Extension Broward County. Dr. Mathieu Basille is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecology at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center leading the BioBlitz project along with UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Urban Horticulture Program. The partnership between UF Research and UF/IFAS Extension on this project has allowed an opportunity for the public to be part of scientific discovery in a fun, exciting way.
The BioBlitz project connects Broward County’s volunteers with urban development impacts on natural habitats, our urban area’s biodiversity, and the importance of our local natural habitats and biodiversity. Human activities, including urbanization and climate change, have already significantly reshaped the collection of animals that call this area home. It is essential to increase public awareness about the unique biodiversity of South Florida. Environmental sustainability starts in our backyards, and UF/IFAS Extension Broward County sees excellent potential in this project.
Want to join us on our next Fall 2019 BioBlitz?
Our next Bioblitz will be November 2, 2019, at Shady Banks Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Shady Banks is a residential neighborhood located in Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale area. Shady Banks have approximately 500 homes on quiet, tree-lined streets. It is situated on the banks of the New River and contains Hortt Park and the Bill Keith Nature Preserve. This event is free. Contact UF/IFAS Extension Broward County at 954-756-8519.
To read about BioBlitz in Broward County, one can visit our UF/IFAS Extension website at:
https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/broward/urban-horticulture-and-natural-resources/bioblitz/ and to read What is a BioBlitz http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/UW/UW44900.pdf
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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.