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December 07, 2016
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A habitat snapshot; The 2013 Upper Delaware BioBlitz

Mike Hutchinson of the invertebrate team shows one of many mosquito traps they used during the bioblitz. Dry ice is placed in the Dewar container at the top; the ice sublimates and carbon dioxide gas is created, which attracts mosquitoes; a small fan sucks the attracted insects to the bottom-most container for collection.

The sample collection and science arm of the Upper Delaware BioBlitz was comprised of nine teams of biologists in nine fields of expertise: aquatic macroinvertebrates, birds, botany, fish, fungi, herps, invertebrates, mammals, and mosses and lichens. The teams collaborated with each other; teams using nets in waterways captured fish, insects, crayfish and turtles and other herps with a single net. The high water curtailed some activities along the riverbanks and streams at first, but alternate sites were found and falling stream/river levels got sampling back on track for affected teams. The high, swift current helped in a few ways; yearling trout were found in abundance sheltering in high grass along the river. The weather got sunny after early morning and most of the teams were out collecting or surveying. Saturday was mostly clear and seasonable; a perfect day to be out in the field. Visitors who came to visit were treated to many interesting presentations and displays, and were able to participate in some activities such as mushroom hunting or birding walks. All manner of plant and animal life were on display at the individual team tables and team scientists were there to answer any questions. Most of the living specimens not needed for later analysis in the lab were released back into the wild at event’s end.

As far as the results of the Upper Delaware BioBlitz, here is a statement from Steve Schwartz as posted a day after the event and shortly before this article went to press:

In all “972 distinct species were identified at the 2013 Upper Delaware BioBlitz according to the preliminary tally at the site at the close of the collection period at noon Saturday. Some teams had specimens they were going to continue to key out to identify back in their labs. The final tally will be well over 1,000 species for the 24-hour event. Thanks to everyone who participated including the teams of scientists, volunteers, sponsors, donors and event steering committee.”

Here are the preliminary species counts by team:

Amphibians and reptiles, 16; aquatic macroinvertebrates, 60; birds, 54; botany, 222; fish, 27; fungi, 47; invertebrates, 457; mammals, 9; mosses and lichens, 80.

For more info and updated results, visit the Upper Delaware BioBlitz website at www.upperdelawarebioblitz.com or their Facebook page by searching for Upper Delaware BioBlitz. This is indeed a significant number for a 63.5 acre tract of land and is indicative of the rich wildlife diversity of this stretch of river we call the Upper Delaware.