Image: 1575 – the final tally
14 March 2005
Landcare Research lepidopterist Dr Robert Hoare uses a light to lure moths for counting at BioBlitz. Photo: Peter Buchanan
It’s official – there are at least 1575 non-human life forms at home in the Auckland Domain.
About 50 of the country’s top biologists participated in “BioBlitz – finding nature in the city” on Saturday and Sunday. BioBlitz is a 24-hour quest for life, from plants to fungi to fish to animals. The biologists kept a tally of species they found.
Landcare Research scientist Dr Peter Buchanan was one of the main organisers of the event, and is surprised by the total.
“It is substantially more than the 930 recorded at Dingle Dell, St Heliers at the first BioBlitz last year. And that’s just what we managed to find in 24 hours – there are likely to be far more as yet uncounted.”
At least 2,000 members of the public visited BioBlitz. “ It was great to see the enthusiasm and surprise on people’s faces at what we’d found, and to chat to them about our study,” Dr Buchanan says.
Among the BioBlitz discoveries were blood-sucking leeches, dog vomit slime mould, 15-centimetre long centipedes, and an invasive species of grass. Native surprises include four species of weta, a new fungus, and adult banded kokopu (whitebait) in a murky stream.
BioBlitz was organised by Landcare Research, with input from the Auckland Regional Council, Auckland City Council, Auckland Museum, the Department of Conservation and the University of Auckland. Information collected during the day will provide a useful indicator of the health of the Domain for local councils.
BioBlitz was funded by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. Dr Buchanan says it is hoped that Auckland will host another BioBlitz next year, pending sponsorship.
The first South Island BioBlitz will be held in Hagley Park, Christchurch from 3pm Friday 8 April until 3pm Saturday 9 April.