Searching for wildlife in a race against the clock

06 March 2013

The University is holding a Bioblitz on its Penglais campus on Saturday 11 May 2013 with the aim of breaking the record for the largest number of species found on a university campus in a single day.

Aberystwyth University boasts one of the most picturesque settings of any university in the country, lying in the shadow of the Cambrian Mountains and on the shores of Cardigan Bay.

It is also the only UK university campus located in a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve.

Bioblitzes have been carried out in many places around the world and are an attempt to list all the species that live in a specific area.

The Penglais campus Bioblitz is just that bit more ambitious as it wants to list all the species that live on the campus alongside the students and staff.

Bioblitz organiser and Director of Teaching and Learning at IBERS, Dr John Warren said: “Sometimes we are too absorbed to notice what a fantastic place we live and work in. Many of us are drawn to Aberystwyth because it’s the most beautiful location of any university; it is surrounded by amazing countryside and inhabited by many rare and unusual species. Bioblitz is an opportunity to demonstrate this to the world by proving just how much biodiversity can be found on the Penglais campus.”

The Aberystwyth Bioblitz will run for 24 hours, from midnight on 10th of May until midnight on the 11th and everyone is invited to participate.

Volunteers will be required for moth trapping when it’s dark, bat detecting at dusk, listening to the local birds belting out the dawn chorus or pond dipping and botanising at more civilized times.

With experts on hand to identify every species of bug, bird, flower and fish, there’s no need for any special skills. The surveying and collecting can be done by anybody who wants to come along and get involved. And volunteers don't have to ‘blitz’ for the full 24hrs, they can just come along at different times of the day or whenever they can.

Dr Warren added “We intend to claim the record by not just listing the majestic red kites that circle overhead, but by identifying every pot plant in every office, the microbes in the soil, the parasites in the fur of voles, even the different species of lettuce in the Art Centre Café salads.”

The Bioblitz organising team are looking for volunteers to help with a host of activities on the day. These range from helping to collect and collate data to taking photographs or uploading results.
Further details about the Aberystwyth Bioblitz are available online at Prospective volunteers are also encouraged to keep an eye out for more information over the coming weeks about how to get involved.

A full programme of activities will be published on the website and those who wish to register an interest in helping can do so by emailing