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#Science

Ojibway BioBlitz leads to discovery of 12 species never-before recorded in Canada

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The inaugural Bioblitz at Essex County in Canada has led to a discovery of 1119 species of flora and fauna, including 12 species never-before recorded in Canada.

The Bioblitz in Essex county was the first of its kind ever to be held there and is a biological inventory and awareness program that teams biological experts with local volunteers. Held at Ojibway Prairie Complex including Ojibway Shores on the Detroit River in Windsor, the event saw participation from 30 experts and approximately 100 participants on June 28-29, 2014 with the primary objective of documenting all flora and fauna they encountered.

Participants studied everything that flies, digs, squirms or grows. The study led to discovery of 1119 species (and counting) of flora and fauna, including 12 species never-before recorded in Canada! Forty-Five different orders of organisms were identified; plants and invertebrates made up the largest percentage of species found.

Despite lacking experts for a number of species rich groups of organisms (Hymenopterans, Hemipterans, Platyhelminthes, Fungi and others), a large number of taxa were documented by this small, dedicated group.

The term “BioBlitz” was first coined by National Park Service naturalist Susan Rudy while assisting with the first BioBlitz at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Washington D.C. in 1996. A BioBlitz has the dual aims of establishing the degree of biodiversity in an area while connecting local citizens, community groups and land use managers with concepts of conservation science.

Often local parks are chosen for BioBlitz events as they have many of the key partnerships or stakeholders in place to facilitate the event. Specialists in various disciplines like botany, entomology and ornithology all play a role in identifying species.

The Ojibway Prairie Complex (located in Windsor Ontario) is a collection of five closely situated natural areas. The most striking aspect of Ojibway Prairie Complex is the tremendous variety of its vegetation and animal life.

The prairie landscape, characterized by a low density of trees (less than 2.5 trees/hectare), contains a variety of tall grasses and flowers. Wetlands, forest, oak savanna and tallgrass prairie provide habitat for a great number of rare plants, insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.

The full report can be found here.