VCU Rice Center

Photo of BioBlitz

BioBlitz, June 2004

On June 13, 2004, we hosted Virginia BioBlitz 2004, a 30-hour race against time to identify as many species as possible living at the Rice Center. From 9 a.m. Saturday, June 12, to 3 p.m. the following day, a group of scientists, naturalists and volunteers tallied as many plants and animals as they could find to help raise public awareness of Virginia’s biodiversity and to survey the flora and fauna of the Virginia Coastal Plain.

The event was a great success. Nearly 80 participants identified more than 800 species [PDF] at the Rice Center.

BioBlitz participantVirginia BioBlitz is part contest, part festival, part educational event and part scientific endeavor. It provides an opportunity for professional biologists, students, naturalists and families to work together in the field.

Survey teams included expertise in plants (vascular and non-vascular), vertebrates (reptiles, amphibians, fishes, mammals, birds) and invertebrates (including spiders and their kin, butterflies and moths, dragonflies and damselflies, copepods and beetles, and many other taxonomic groups).

As a survey tool, the annual BioBlitz provides a snapshot of the presence of many groups of organisms present at a site. This snapshot can and has revealed new state and seasonal records, providing another layer of data that might suggest further directions for investigation.

The event was co-sponsored by the Virginia Herpetological Society, the Virginia Natural History Society, the Entomological Society of Washington, The Virginia Academy of Sciences, the Richmond Herp and Bug Society and the Virginia Native Plant Society. Other participating institutions and societies include the Smithsonian Institution, USDA-ARS, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Museum of Natural History, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, Hampton University and Richmond Audubon Society.