Bioblitz or­gan­is­ers is­sue a chal­lenge

South Waikato News - - SPORT -

More than 30 of New Zealand’s lead­ing botanists and zo­ol­o­gists will gather at Mi­randa Shore­bird Cen­tre on the Firth of Thames on Fe­bru­ary 28.

They will be tak­ing part in the Mi­randa Bioblitz, an 18-hour search to find and iden­tify ev­ery pos­si­ble liv­ing or­gan­ism on the coast and in the sea ad­ja­cent to Mi­randa.

From 6am to mid­night, ex­perts will lead for­ays into dif­fer­ent parts of this area, re­turn­ing to the Cen­tre with their finds. If they are new to sci­ence – and en­to­mol­o­gist Dr Peter Mad­di­son, the brains be­hind this event, says new species are fre­quently found dur­ing a bioblitz – they will be cat­a­logued and pre­served for fur­ther study.

Mi­randa Nat­u­ral­ists’ Trust (MNT), the or­gan­is­ers of the event, in­vites mem­bers of the pub­lic to come and join in the search and marvel at what is found.

A large videomi­cro­scope will dis­play the smaller or­gan­isms and de­tails of larger ones.

It is un­usual to have a bioblitz out­side a large city. Shore­bird Cen­tre Man­ager Keith Wood­ley says MNT in­tends the knowl­edge gained from this day’s study to form the ba­sis for work to en­hance the habi­tat sur­round­ing the well known shore­bird roost. The area was one of the first in New Zealand to be des­ig­nated an in­ter­na­tion­ally- recog­nised RAM­SAR site be­cause of the con­cen­tra­tion of threat­ened shore­bird species.

The day will open at 6am, with for­ays to find early birds and in­sects. Dur­ing the day, vis­i­tors can help with col­lec­tion of fish and other marine and fresh­wa­ter or­gan­isms, join the search for lizards, birds, flow­er­ing plants, lichens and all man­ner of liv­ing things, right through to mid­night. Ev­ery hour, one of those ex­perts will give a ten minute talk on their spe­cial­ity. A huge en­ergy web will be built up as the finds come in.

MNT are is­su­ing a chal­leng to ex­perts and mem­bers of the pub­lic to help them find 1000 species in one day.

The search area com­prises the Robert Find­lay Re­serve and ad­join­ing land be­long­ing to the Dal­ton Fam­ily and to the De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion. MNT ac­knowl­edges the co­op­er­a­tion of the Lane Fam­ily (own­ers of the re­serve), the Dal­tons and DoC. The EcoQuest Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion, lo­cal iwi and lo­cal fish­er­men are es­sen­tial mem­bers of the team. John Tregidga, Mayor of Hau­raki District and Chair of the Hau­raki Gulf Fo­rum will visit the Bioblitz dur­ing the morn­ing.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to shore­bird.org.nz or phone the Shore­bird Cen­tre 09 232 2781. Good cof­fee and snacks will be pro­vided by Tikapa Flavas.

BACK BY DE­MAND: Pa­cific Gurls are back and will per­form at Toko­roa Lit­tle The­atre next month.

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