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BioBlitz: A Snapshot of Biodiversity

Girl and man looking a sea life
Taking a close look at sea life at the Biscayne National Park BioBlitz, 2010. NPS/Ginny Reams.

A bioblitz is a quest to discover living organisms. During these rapid biological surveys, scientists and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds work together to compile a "snapshot" of biodiversity in (usually) less than 48 hours. Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on our planet, including all living creatures, their habitats, natural processes, and the connections between these things.

Bioblitzes are an important part of the National Park Service (NPS) A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement. The focus of Call to Action Item 7, "Next Generation Stewards," calls for the NPS to "create a new generation of citizen scientists and future stewards of our parks by conducting fun, engaging, and educational biodiversity discovery activities in at least 100 national parks, including at least five urban parks." This goal was exceeded as of August 2014, with a least 114 parks participating in biodiversity discovery efforts.

The NPS and the National Geographic Society (NGS) have collaborated to host one large-scale BioBllitz per year for the 10 years leading up to the NPS Centennial in 2016. These high-profile events have involved thousands of participants of all ages and backgrounds who have worked together to discover wonderful diversity of species, as well as participate in a wide array of educational offerings. The 2016 BioBlitz will feature inventories at national park sites in and around Washington, D.C. on May 20-21, 2016, and will be the center piece of a national celebration of biodiversity as simultaneous bioblitzes take place in national parks across the country.

2015 BioBlitz: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

"It was an utterly wonderful event.

"I think the combining of the cultural festival and the BioBlitz was brilliant, and it tied together culture and science in ways that strengthened interest and participation in both."

--- BioBlitz Participant, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Not only did the BioBlitz at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, May 15-16, 2015, bring in exciting new information about what lives in the park, it also emphasized the unique cultural aspects of Hawai'i. Traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, "alakai'i", were integrated into the survey team, providing a holistic approach to the research and exploration activities. The NPS and NGS blended this cultural component with Western science in a BioBlitz that counted 416 species in 24 hours, including more than 22 that are new to the park, and engaged more than 6,000 publc participants.

Explore this website for details about past BioBlitzes and watch the video below to see footage from the 2012 BioBlitz in Rocky Mountain National Park. Also, check out the following links to see how participants are changed and enriched by these efforts: "Inspired by Nature," by the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and "Imani's BioBlitz," by the National Geographic Society.

Last Updated: September 23, 2015