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Scientists Stage Round The Clock Search For Life

LANDCARE RESEARCH - NEWS RELEASE - 'BIOBLITZ': SCIENTISTS
STAGE ROUND THE CLOCK SEARCH FOR LIFE

Scientists stage round-the-clock search for life In the first event of its kind in New Zealand, top biologists will join forces in a race against time to find out who and what (besides humans) lives in Auckland.

"BioBlitz * finding nature in the city" is a 24-hour search for all different kinds of life, running from 3 pm Friday 30 April right through until 3 pm Saturday 1 May.

Organised by Landcare Research, a multi-disciplinary team of scientists will scour the forest of Dingle Dell Reserve, St Heliers, Auckland, and the bush gully and grounds of Meadowbank Primary School. They will record everything they can find, dead or alive; from plants to fungi to fish to animals, and keep a running tally.

Department of Conservation, Auckland Museum, Auckland Regional Council, Unitec, and University of Auckland staff will also share their expertise.Entomologist and radio / TV host Ruud Kleinpaste will lend a hand, and at the end of the 24 hours, Conservation Minister Hon.

Chris Carter will reveal the total number of species recorded.

Landcare Research mycologist (fungal scientist) Dr Peter Buchanan is one of the organisers of BioBlitz.

Dr Buchanan says the main objective is to raise awareness of science, and reveal the diverse world that exists under city dwellers' noses."BioBlitz is a unique opportunity for scientists, students, and the public to experience the vast array of species living in a healthy urban park and school grounds.

Specialist scientists will be searching around the clock, as nocturnal animals are much easier to find during darkness.

"As well as entomologists and mycologists, our team includes ornithologists, ichthyologists, limnologists, herpetologists, lichenologists, bacteriologists, parasitologists and many other '-ologists'.

They will all be happy to explain what they do."Members of the public are welcome to come along to the BioBlitz 'base camp', a large marquee on Tamaki Drive at Vellenoweth Green, St Heliers, equipped with computers, microscopes and displays.

Species that cannot be readily identified in the field will be brought to the base camp for examination.

All information will be recorded on computer databases.

The total number of introduced and native species will be tallied and announced at regular intervals.Dr Buchanan says while it's impossible to predict just how many species will be found, one thing is certain.

"There'll be hundreds * enough to surprise most people."And while BioBlitz is about fun and education, there will be conservation benefits also."The lists we make will assist park management by identifying pest species that should be monitored or controlled, and native species that need looking after.

The survey may reveal unique aspects of the parks that were not known previously."BioBlitz will help us understand how much urban parks are contributing to Auckland's biodiversity."BioBlitzes are regular events in the parts of the United States.

It is hoped this BioBlitz will be the first of many in New Zealand.

ENDS

For more information, see the BioBlitz website: http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biodiversity/bioblitz/ Or

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