Details of Ireland’s BioBlitz 2014 announced (23 & 24 May)

Ireland’s BioBlitz 2014 will see four wonderful heritage sites compete in this year’s event on 23 & 24 May. The four sites offer a variety of habitats and biodiversity interest, which should make for interesting recording. The four sites for 2014 are:

Glenarm Estate, Co. Antrim

Glenarm Estate, Co. Antrim

Howth Head, Co. Dublin

Howth Head, Co. Dublin

Derrynane Historic Property, Co. Kerry

Derrynane Historic Property, Co. Kerry

Cong/Clonbur, Co. Galway/Mayo

Clonbur/Cong, Co. Galway/Mayo

To volunteer

As always, we are seeking volunteers to help with the recording at all four sites. If you have expertise in recording of biodiversity and would like to volunteer for a site, please contact the following:

Howth Head –  Maria Walsh  mwalsh@biodiversityireland.ie

Cong/Clonbur Woodlands – Una Fitzpatrick ufitzpatrick@biodiversityireland.ie

Glenarm Estate – Pauline Campbell  pauline.campbell@nmni.com

Derrynane – Liam Lysaght  llysaght@biodiversityireland.ie

 

Ireland’s BioBlitz – What is it?

Ireland’s BioBlitz brings together scientists and recorders in a race against time to see how many species can be recorded in a 24-hour biological survey of four of Ireland’s heritage sites. The public is invited to observe the activities, to interact with the recorders and to participate in the range of other activities arranged by the host venues. By pitting the four venues against each other, it will bring an added dimension to the event, allowing comparisons to be made between the sites, and to gain further insights into the relative biological richness of the different habitats.

Ireland’s BioBlitz is designed to increase public awareness of the variety of life in Ireland and to highlight some of the ecological services that biodiversity provides to enhance our quality of life at the global and the local level. It is also hoped to demonstrate the high level of skill and expertise necessary to study many aspects of Ireland’s biological diversity.

How will it work?

Doing the final tally_1024x768

Base Camp – the final tally.

A ‘Base Camp’ will be established at each venue which will serve as the hub for the BioBlitz activities at each site. This will be managed by staff of the host site and the National Biodiversity Data Centre, working in collaboration with some key experts invited to the event. Base Camp will be equipped with species lists and other equipment that might be needed on the day to aid the identification and validation of species observed. It will also be from where recorder and volunteer effort is coordinated to optimise the recording effort and where the overall species tally will be done. A large tally board will be located at each Base Camp to keep recorders and visitors informed of progress, and unusual or exciting news will be posted on the BioBlitz notice board throughout the day.

Ireland’s BioBlitz Perpetual Trophy

Activities throughout the event from all sites will be channelled through the Ireland’s BioBlitz website which is co-ordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre offices in Waterford. Observations received at Base Camp will be logged onto a specially developed Ireland’s BioBlitz 2014 online record submission form, which will show, in real time, progress with recording tally and enable visitors to the site to see what species have been recorded at each site. In addition to showing the progress with record collation, the Ireland’s BioBlitz website will provide news updates and present photographs of activities.

A snapshot of progress at each site will be presented on the website at 00.00hrs, 11.00hrs, 13.00hrs and 15.00hrs on 24th May. The winning site will be the site that has submitted the most species on-line by 17.00hrs.

When will it take place?

Ireland’s BioBlitz 2014 will start at 17.00hrs on Friday 23rd May and end precisely 24 hours later at 17.00hrs on Saturday 24th May. The recording and logging of species ends precisely at 17.00hrs on 24th May, whether or not there are more species to be counted. Any outstanding records not logged by 17.00hrs will be kept and used to generate a complete species list after the event.  The winning site will be the one that has the largest number of species logged on-line by the cut-off time.

How will it be organised?

Stephen McCormack_1024x765

Identifying insects

There will be scientific survey activity running throughout the 24 hour period, and members of the public are invited to participate and attend the event.  Members of the public are invited to visit the sites between 09.00hrs to 17.00hrs on Saturday 24th  May. A number of key experts and experienced recorders have volunteered their time to participate in the BioBlitz at each venue. They will use their knowledge and expertise to conduct survey work at different locations throughout the sites to optimise the number of species counted. By opening the event to the public on Saturday, visitors are encouraged to interact with the scientists and recorders to see how they undertake their survey work and collate their findings. A programme of extra events will be organised from Base Camp throughout the day to provide additional activities for visitors.

Rules

As this is primarily a fun event, the rules are straightforward. Record all the species seen within, or from, the site you are surveying between 17.00hrs on 23rd May and 17.00hrs on 24th May 2013. This includes wild, naturalised and feral species, but does not include domesticated or species held in captivity. Plants growing within formal gardens or planted in flower beds are not to be included in the species list.  Lists of species recorded can be submitted by anyone, but surveyors should register at Base Camp in advance. Records should be submitted on the official BioBlitz recording sheets available at Base Camp on the day.

A record should be to species level and must include the minimum information: species name, recorder name, detailed location name and/or grid reference.

For difficult taxonomic groups a record to the genus level can constitute a valid record. However, if there is even one species recorded for a genus, then an additional genus level record is not valid.

In the vast majority of cases, records are generated by direct sightings of organisms.  Nevertheless, records will be accepted based on what is considered conventional recording for a particular group. For example, for bat recording, the use of bat detectors to confirm identification through echolocation, or the identification of land mammals by tracks are valid means of generating records and will be accepted. Similarly the recording of birds by song is valid.

Surveying techniques such as pitfall trapping, which would normally involve the placement of traps over an extended period of time will not be permitted. Any trapping activity must commence after 17.00hrs on Friday 23rd May.

After the Event

A specially designed certificate will be presented to the winning site by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The name of the winning site will also be added to the perpetual BioBlitz trophy, to go beside the names of the previous winners Connemara National Park, Killarney National Park, Crawfordsburn Country Park and Colebrooke Estate.

A complete species list for each site will be finalised, seeking the advice of experts where necessary, and the records will be mapped on Biodiversity Maps, the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s mapping system. Each participating site will be provided with a separate hard copy species list for its own use.

How can I become involved?

Moth trapping with Michael Bell_1024x687

Moth trapping ..

If you are interested in assisting with the recording or just wish to participate in the programme of events that each site will provide on the day, please visit the site’s page for contact details.

All venues would welcome the assistance of experienced recorders to assist with survey work on the day.

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is extremely grateful to the support of all of the scientists who volunteer to give of their time freely to assist with this event. The Centre is also grateful for the support of its partners, in particular  Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Centre for Environment Data and Recording, Coillte, Fingal County Council and the Office of Public Works (OPW).