Bioblitz Record

Bioblitz organising team: Dr Pippa Moore, Dr John Warren and Charlie Long in the University Tropical House

Bioblitz organising team: Dr Pippa Moore, Dr John Warren and Charlie Long in the University Tropical House

23 April 2013

On 11May 2013, Aberystwyth University staff, students, and the wider local community will descend on the Penglais campus in a 24 hour marathon attempt to identify as many species as possible that live on site.

The local organising team are confident that they are not only going to break the record for the number of species found but are set to shatter it. There is no official record but the most species found in a UK bioblitz is around 1000 and globally it stands at around 3000. The reason that the organisers are so sure that the record is on its way to Aberystwyth is threefold.

Bioblitz organiser and Director of Teaching and Learning at IBERS, Dr John Warren explains “First and most importantly, Aberystwyth University is the only campus in the world located within a biosphere reserve. We all know that we are fortunate to live and work in such a special and biodiverse place.  

“Secondly, from midnight on the 10th to midnight on the 11th of May there is a packed programme of 30 separate events that make up Penglais Campus Bioblitz.”

Dr Pippa Moore, fellow organiser adds, “No stone, rotting piece of wood or pool will be left unturned in the search for every type of living organism that inhabits the campus. So thirdly, ground breaking molecular science will be used to identify micro-organisms – the millions of tiny species that play such a vital role in making the Earth inhabitable.”

Penglais Bioblitz is an event for all the family and you are more than welcome to join in with the fun and become a record breaker. There will be activities for all interests through the fun packed day, starting with moths at midnight and bats before breakfast.

During the day experts will lead expeditions around the campus identifying not just the wild and horticultural plants that delight visitors, but they will also seek out the creepy crawling creatures that hide amongst them.

Camera traps will be set to capture images of foxes, badgers and hedgehogs that are all known to roam campus at night. You don’t need to be a professional to take part, because there will be a host of experts on hand in Bioblitz HQ to help with the identification of anything unusual.

Postgraduate student Charlie Long, part of the organising team adds “Most events will congregate in the entrance to the Edward Llwyd Building on the Penglais Campus where there will be enthusiastic experts helping to lead the various activities. Just turn up if you want to take part, you don’t need any specialist equipment just sensible shoes and clothing and your enthusiastic curiosity.”

The entire programme of events is a huge collaborative venture with the involvement of many local organisations and experts. These include local moth and bat groups, the National Trust, Ceredigion Council, Aberystwyth Botanical Society, the Wildlife Trust, and Natural Resources Wales.

Full details of the programme along with start times can be found on the Bioblitz website.