ESF's Second "Bioblitz"
May 14-15, 2004
SYRACUSE, N.YStudents and scientists from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will conduct a "bioblitz" at Onondaga County's Beaver Lake Nature Center this month, identifying and cataloging every species of living organism they can find in 24 hours.
Beginning at noon Friday, May 14, scores of researchers will fan out across the center's 650 acres, searching for plants and animals on land and in the water. The final tally will include species of fungi, ferns, mosses, and higher plants such as shrubs and trees; aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, including insects and crustaceans; fishes; amphibians; reptiles; birds; and mammals, including the Homo sapiens conducting the inventory.
Dr. Neil H. Ringler, the chair of ESF's Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology (EFB), which conducts the event, expects the count to surpass the 661 species that were found last year in Syracuse's Elmwood Park. The Beaver Lake property is nearly 10 times the size of the city park, with an array of diverse habitats and a 200-acre glacial lake that is frequented by migrating Canada geese.
The popular county facility also offers easy access and ample classroom facilities that will make it easy for the participants to do their jobs. Ringler expects college students, faculty and staff to participate, along with some alumni. Members of the public and local school children might also be involved.
County Executive Nicholas J. Pirro said he welcomes the students and faculty for this unusual undertaking. "We think of parks as a place for people, but clearly Beaver Lake Nature Center is a place that supports a wide array of plant, animal and insect life," Pirro said. "I am eager to see the results of the bioblitz."
Onondaga County Parks Commissioner Robert Geraci, a 1973 graduate of ESF, predicted the bioblitz will confirm that Beaver Lake has an ?astounding? collection of diverse ecosystems and habitats.
Last year?s bioblitz, believed to be the first in Central New York, was part of EFB?s 25th anniversary celebration. The goal goes beyond conducting a scientific survey of the area.
"Beaver Lake is a great resource for the community," Ringler said. "People should know what's out there. The center has an incredible diversity of wildlife and plant life."
While the results are being tallied, Dr. Alexander Weir, who teaches mycology classes, will lead a game of "Biological Jeopardy." The results are expected to be announced at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 15.