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Items:  AFSC Scientists Reach out to the Community Through Education, Celebration, and Public Awareness

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ABL Scientists Participate in Southeast Alaska's First BioBlitz

event activity
Children investigate aquatic insects after a collection trip for BioBlitz in Southeast Alaska.  Nearly a thousand species were identified during the event.  Photo by Rosa Spaeth.

event activity
Auke Bay Laboratories scientist Pat Harris (right) in the scientist work tent examines specimens collected at the BioBlitz event.  Photo by Rosa Spaeth.

The AFSC's Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL) participated in Southeast Alaska's first BioBlitz on 26-27 June. The 24-hour event based out of the Fish Creek drainage near Juneau, Alaska, surveyed habitats from the alpine to subtidal in order to catalogue, explore, and celebrate the biodiversity of this ecosystem. Nearly a thousand species were identified during the free event, which was attended by over 400 people including 100 scientists.

The goal of BioBlitz is to educate the public about the biodiversity in their backyards by providing an opportunity for citizens to accompany scientists and naturalists on field surveys. BioBlitz also serves as a community celebration with hands-on activities, lectures, Native dancers, and a barbeque.

The 30 survey teams were led by local and regional scientists identified as "taxon team leaders," who were accompanied by their colleagues and interested public into the field to sample specific habitats. Taxon leaders were responsible for recruiting other scientists, planning their surveys, providing equipment and species list and then leading their group into the field for their survey. Auke Bay Laboratories provided three taxon team leaders: Mandy Lindeberg (intertidal), John Moran (marine mammals/seabirds), and John Thedinga (intertidal fish). Other scientists and contractors who assisted with surveys included Pat Harris, Bruce Wing, Ron Heintz, Darcie Neff, Kevin Heffern, Rachelle Sloss, and Bonita Nelson (who was also on the steering committee).

The event was sponsored by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City and the Borough of Juneau, and AFSC/ABL. The steering committee hopes to make this an annual event.

BioBlitz intertidal taxon team with ABL scientists Bruce Wing, Pat Harris, and Bonita Nelson.  Photo by Rosa Spaeth.


By Bonita Nelson

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