Mandy Hobkirk, Biosphere-wide Blitz organizer and Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region coordinator, says BioBlitz data is used to examine the biodiversity and species richness of an area, and to see if there are changes over time such as fluctuations in populations or increases in invasive species. (Vancouver Island University photo)

Mandy Hobkirk, Biosphere-wide Blitz organizer and Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region coordinator, says BioBlitz data is used to examine the biodiversity and species richness of an area, and to see if there are changes over time such as fluctuations in populations or increases in invasive species. (Vancouver Island University photo)

Citizen scientists asked to look for bugs and birds in upcoming ‘BioBlitz’

VIU-based researchers studying biodiversity on the mid Island

Vancouver Island University hopes people will use their cellphones to help ID birds and bugs in its upcoming Biosphere-wide Blitz.

The event takes place from April 16-18 in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, located between Nanoose and Qualicum Bay, and will encourage people of all ages to download the iNaturalist app and use it to identify species by collecting plant, animal and insect data, said a press release. The information will be used to “examine the biodiversity and species richness of an area, and to see if there are changes over time such as fluctuations in populations or increases in invasive species.”

Data could also be potentially used to guide policies related to management of sensitive environments, the press release said.

“The BioBlitz is important because it connects people with nature and promotes knowledge sharing,” said Mandy Hobkirk, biosphere region coordinator. “It also provides us with a comparison of environmental changes over time. This information provides us with a snapshot of the biodiversity of species richness from the study area and can contribute to biological species inventory for the area we are recording from.”

In order to participate, people are asked to download the iNaturalist app from Google Play or Apple’s App Store and join the MABR Biosphere Blitz project.

Prizes, including books on bird, flora and fungi identification, will be up for grabs daily to the people who record the most observations.

To learn more about the event, click here.

READ ALSO: VIU prof receives B.C. Good Citizenship medal


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