Bioblitzes encourage sustained nature observations
Bioblitzes such as #HomeSafari by Meise Botanical Garden or Natuurpunt's 1000 species weekends are a popular form of citizen science. During such a blitz, you look for as many species as possible within a certain time frame. Bioblitzes are organised to quickly get a picture of which species are in an area, and to involve the public. They also often yield new species, and are a great way to highlight projects, areas or organisations.
Is a bioblitz also effective for these different purposes? Are they more than just noting down some loose observations? And do they effectively get the public participating in them more involved in biodiversity data collection? Research under the COST action Alien-CSI did an analysis of the activity of more than 3,000 observers in a sample of 2,000 bioblitzes between 2013 and 2020 on the popular global observation platform iNaturalist. All bioblitzes published in the scientific literature were also analysed.
Bioblitzes indeed proved effective for engaging people in observing nature. About 20% of the people who participated in a bioblitz continued to use the app iNaturalist afterwards. Among these observers, we also saw an increase in observation activity immediately after the bioblitz. Compared to the year before the bioblitz, weekly sighting activity increased by seven days on average over a 50-week period. Given the very large number of people participating worldwide, this represents a huge increase in the number of observations. Bioblitzes create networks of organisations, professionals and citizens engaged in biodiversity research and conservation, increasing knowledge and support for nature.
Read more: Meeus S., Silva-Rocha I., Adriaens T., Brown PMJ, Chartosia N., Claramunt-López B., Martinou A.F., Pocock MJO, Preda C., Roy H.E., Tricarico E., Groom Q.J. (2023). More than a Bit of Fun: The Multiple Outcomes of a Bioblitz, BioScience 73(3): 168–181.