University responds to the BioBlitz challenge

March 16 / 178

Hundreds of people, armed with BioBlitz toolkits, hit the pavements and parklands of Melbourne in March, on a mission to photograph and report on the diverse set of animals, insects and plants, living in the City of Melbourne.

Melbourne is among the world’s most biologically diverse cities but rapid development, population growth and the changing climate are challenging that diversity.

The City of Melbourne and University of Melbourne are working together to address these challenges, and ensure Melbourne’s biodiversity thrives into the future.

The Parkville campus’ System Garden was among the official locations that hosted events for participants. Academics and student volunteers were on hand to guide BioBlitz volunteers in their explorations.

Many more people took up the BioBlitz challenge in their own homes, neighborhoods and parklands within the City of Melbourne.

The photographs and data gathered have been used to create a biodiversity inventory for campus, and to inform the new Sustainability Plan.

To complement the event, the University encouraged BioBlitz participants to download the ‘Wildversity’ app. Wildversity, developed by UoM students in 2015, allows users to snap pictures of birds, insects, plants or mammals. It then identifies the species and records the sighting in a biodiversity database.

“It is an app that enables students and staff at the University to take pictures of the biodiversity that is around on campus, and create a virtual map that people can look at,” according to Wildversity’s spokesperson Cherese Sonkkila.

“The data set means we can develop a Biodiversity strategy for the University of Melbourne. Hopefully this is something that can be implemented worldwide at a number of Universities.”

To see pictures from this year’s BioBlitz and find out more information, visit the BioBlitz website

Hear more about Wildversity here

Story by Bridget O'Reilly

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