Bioblitz organisers issue a challenge
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.
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