BioBlitz 2016

St Andrews BioBlitz took place last week on Friday and Saturday.  This is the third year of BioBlitz in St Andrews. This years’ event was attended by children from Crail and Greyfriars schools, home schoolers, volunteers from postgraduate and undergraduate courses, University staff, visiting specialists, and many enthusiastic members of the public.

At the time of writing the total number of species identified stands at around 420.  Jack Sewell from the Marine Biological Association’s Education Team won the BioBlitz Goody Basket (generously filled with help from St Andrews Brewing Co, J&G Innes, and Topping & Co.) for making the closest guess to this end-of-day species count.  The total number of species so far is less than in 2015, but specialists are still working on processing samples and identifying species. This means that the final species count is not yet available.  Although BioBlitz officially takes place over two days, in practice there are of course months of preparation before the event, organising teams of people, publicity, and specialists. After BioBlitz has taken place there is still more work to be done, classifying and confirming all the species observed.  Species seen include organisms of all kinds of sizes, from large birds to marine creatures on the microscopic scale – and some are much harder to identify ‘for sure’ than others!

Amongst species identified so far, there has been one which is new in the UK, and at least one other species that is new to Scotland. Further details will emerge as scientists compare the St Andrews database more carefully with records held in Fife, and in the National BioBlitz network.  Data from previous years are available at the National BioBlitz Network Gateway website and the 2016 data will also be there as soon as it is ready.

Bioblitz 2016 was funded by the School of Biology (Public Engagement) and the Big Lottery Fund.  Bioblitz also gratefully acknowledges help from Transition, the University of St Andrews, The Scottish Oceans Institute, MASTS, and the Marine Biological Association.

Thanks to everyone who took part.

There are many more pictures of the event on the BioBlitz Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StABioblitz/