World Parks Congress BioBlitz 2014
The World Parks Congress BioBlitz was a celebration of science working with the community to create a species audit of the Sydney Olympic Park site. The event was held on 16 November during the World Parks Congress Public Festival 'Planetfest' at Cathy Freeman Park and was a free all-ages event. The BioBlitz proved a success as one of the first major public facing citizen science events run by the Office of Environment and Heritage.
This citizen science event involved children, congress participants, scientists, naturalists and community members to create a snapshot of urban biodiversity in the area. Citizen scientists worked together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals and other organisms as possible. Over 500 people joined in on the day visiting the BioBlitz tent filled with interactive hands-on displays from Taronga Zoo, the Frog and Tadpole Study Group, Society of Insect Studies, Living Data and the Australian Museum.
Approximately 250 survey participants came from all over the world including, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, London, San Jose, Santiago, Seattle, South Korea and Washington DC. They braved Sunday morning wind and rain, when most would have stayed tucked in bed, to help experts compile a census of species in Sydney Olympic Park spotting birds, spiders, insects, water bugs and a plethora of other species using the iNaturalist app on their mobile phones. Participants had the option of going solo and using the phone app to assist in collecting sightings. Surveys ran throughout the day (8am until 5pm).
So far the WPC BioBlitz has recorded 243 species (with more ID’s coming through every day). Many of the invertebrate species identified had never previously been logged in that area, adding valuable information to Sydney Olympic Park Authority records. Our pick for most weird and wonderful observation on the day would be the dog vomit slime mould (Fuligo septica), a strange plasmoidal organism which appears after heavy rain often in bark mulch in urban environments and is tolerant to environments with heavy metal toxicity.
A crew from National Geographic was there on the day capturing all the excitement and interviewing participants about their experience for a video package of the day that we’ll soon be able to share.
To find out more about the species spotted on the day check out iNaturalist for photos of some of the observations.
Our hope is that BioBlitzes can be used in the future to help protected area managers track change over time. Find out more about the citizen science projects in OEH.
This event would not have been a success without the support of our many partners and also the volunteers that helped out on the day to ensure things ran smoothly.
Watch the World Parks Congress Bioblitz TV Ad
Watch the World Parks Congress BioBlitz video summary from the day
Page last updated: 21 July 2015