Harvard biologists, students, and amateur science enthusiasts participated in a survey of insects and birds at the Arnold Arboretum on May 1 as part of the second annual Harvard University Campus BioBlitz. The campus-wide effort also included inventories of plants in Harvard Yard, night trappings of moths and other nocturnal insects, and a survey of fish and aquatic insects in the Charles River. Activities at the Arboretum centered on observations in the Arboretum meadow, the collections along Meadow Road, and the North Woods, and included the placement of “bee bowls” to sample the diversity of pollinating insects in the Arboretum.
The 2011 BioBlitz began at midnight on Sunday, May 1 and continued through midnight on Monday, May 2. During this 24-hour period, volunteers participated in taxa-specific sampling expeditions, cataloguing encounters with plants, insects, birds, and more. Student experts led guided nature walks, provided collecting equipment, and helped with specimen identification. Samples were either identified in the field or determined later in the laboratory. Organisms inventoried in the BioBlitz were cataloged and recorded on the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), a public database organized to gather and share scientific knowledge about biodiversity in a single online resource.
Harvard’s BioBlitz was spearheaded by the Agassiz Zoological Club, named in honor of the founder of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Professor Louis Agassiz. Undergraduates studying with Agassiz completed the first biodiversity survey in Massachusetts more than 150 years ago. The Agassiz Zoological Club was reformed last year in cooperation with Harvard’s Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Undergraduate Group, and led a comprehensive survey of organisms on Harvard’s campus last spring.
See the list of insects and birds inventoried in the Arboretum landscape during the 2011 BioBlitz.
Read about this event in the Harvard Gazette.