The Great Southern BioBlitz (GSB) from the 28th to 31st of October is encouraging people to get involved.
It’s an international citizen science event in which people in the Southern Hemisphere help provide a snapshot study of a specific location. Scientists and the community work together to survey and record as many species of flora, fauna, fungi, and aquatic life as possible within a certain time frame – in this case 96 hours.
These observations can then be used by local environmental groups, government departments, students, and other organisations to increase biodiversity awareness, protect habitat, determine species distribution, increase scientific literacy, contribute to climate change research, and inform policy.
This is the third year of the Great Southern BioBlitz.
The first Great Southern BioBlitz in 2020 attracted more than 3,000 participants across 12 countries and three continents, who uploaded more than 91,000 observations of more than 12,000 species. Last year, the second one built on that success with 5,789 observers across 19 countries.
Everyone is invited to participate using the iNaturalist app and website; iNaturalist is an online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe.
Where and when can I participate in the Great Southern BioBlitz?
The 2022 Great Southern BioBlitz will be held from 12:01am Friday 28 October until 11:59pm Monday 31 October in your local time zone.
As you might have already guessed, you must be making observations somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.
Participating areas are nominated by volunteer Local Area Organisers, who define the observation boundaries which can include one or more Local Government Areas (LGAs). But all observations made on the iNaturalist platform during the Great Southern BioBlitz will be automatically included in the overall event, so your area doesn’t need to be officially involved.
The iNaturalist platform has several nodes that upload collected data to a national database, so it’s best to use your local node if one exists – or just use www.iNaturalist.org.
- Australia: iNaturalist Australia
- New Zealand/Aotearoa: iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao
- Argentina: ArgentiNat
- Colombia: iNaturalista
- Ecuador: iNaturalist Ecuador
How do you find and document species during #GSB22?
It’s super simple to contribute to the event!
“Download the free iNaturalist app and take a walk. Take photos and upload them using the app,” says Michelle Neil, one of the founders of the Great Southern BioBlitz.
After this, you’ll have 14 days (until 14th November) to upload and identify your observations.
It’s fine if you can’t identify the organism in your observation, the important thing is to make sure you get good clear photos or sound files as evidence, and a date and location (in the form of coordinates).
Unsure about how to do that? Not to worry, there are some helpful video tutorials on the iNaturalist website that walk you through the process of uploading observations, taking identifiable photos, exploring observations and more.
Keep in mind that the observations must be of a wild organism to count, so pets, pot plants, zoo animals, or flowers planted in public areas by councils won’t be included in the BioBlitz.
“It’s easy to be a citizen scientist and document species in your local area during the Great Southern BioBlitz’s 96-hour window from the 28th to 31st of October this year – so get out there!” says Neil.
Imma Perfetto is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.
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