Faculty/Staff Detail

Carol Van Der Karr, Academic Affairs, Susan Wilson, Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies Department, and Andrea Dávalos, Michael Hough and Tim Baroni, all from the Biological Sciences Department, volunteered at the 24-hour community BioBlitz Sept. 8 and 9 held at the Cayuga Nature Center in Ithaca, NY. The event was sponsored by Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Sciences (SIPS) and the Cayuga Nature Center and the censing work was done at the both the center and The Smith Wood Preserve in Trumansburg, a patch of old growth forest near Taughannock State Park that has recently yielded newly discovered species for the Cayuga Lake Basin. A BioBlitz is the cataloging of all life forms, from mammals to bacteria, that can be found in a defined area over a 24-hour time span. It is meant to serve as a baseline snap shot of biodiversity for the area. The first ever BioBlitz was held in 1996 at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. Such events are now common across the US and can cover small or large areas, such as national parks, and the time frames can be extended to a year or more. Van Der Karr and Wilson helped with the census for mollusks (snails and slugs) and annelids (worms). Dávalos assisted with identification of non-native annelids, Hough helped with identification of plants and Baroni with collecting and identification of fleshy fungi (mushroom and relatives). The BioBlitz started at 5 p.m. Friday at the Cayuga Nature Center and included talks and demonstrations that evening until 9 p.m. on snails, slugs, bats, spiders, moths and other nighttime insects. Saturday’s events began at 10 a.m. and included talks, walks and demonstrations on plants, fungi, microbiology, bees, large wild animal back yard feeding and birds. In addition, some of the selected organisms collected by the survey teams and brought to the nature center for identification were placed on display, along with field guides and literature on identification of organisms in nature. The event drew nature enthusiasts from as far away as Rochester, N.Y., and resulted in an overflow parking capacity at the center on Saturday.