What is Biodiversity?
Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the term used to describe the variety of living things in a specific area. This variety is necessary to sustain most healthy ecosystems. These systems don’t just include plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms, but humans too!
Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere (GBB) is exploring ways to contribute to the protection and conservation of biodiversity along eastern Georgian Bay! We want to understand how geographic spaces in the Biosphere region are currently contributing to the conservation of biodiversity.
Bioblitz Finds: Bumblebees, Barn Swallows, and Blue-Spotted Salamanders!
As part of this initiative, GBB is helping to host 10 bioblitz events throughout the summer. A bioblitz is a community science event where people come together to discover local plants and animals and record their findings. At a bioblitz, participants try to identify as many species as they can within a specific area or within a specific length of time. It is a lot of fun!
To date, GBB has helped host 5 bioblitzes this summer where hundreds of species have been recorded! At these events, participants take pictures of insects, plants, and animals with their phones and upload their observations to a free app called iNaturalist, where it helps identify species and gets added to a global database. All observations within the Biosphere region get added to GBB’s iNaturalist project. These observations help GBB staff understand what species are in the biosphere region and where they are located, which can help to guide research questions, mitigation projects, and other conservation initiatives. Below are some highlights from the bioblitz events we have held this summer.
Still Creek Bioblitz
On June 24th, GBB partnered with Magnetawan Watershed Land Trust (MWLT) to host a bioblitz at Still Creek Nature Reserve near Whitestone. After hiking and paddling through many diverse habitats, GBB staff and bioblitz participants recorded a total of 129 observations using iNaturalist! These observations will help MWLT to effectively care for and manage the land that has been entrusted to them.
Larval salamanders, tadpoles, toads, and frogs – this event featured amphibians in all their forms! GBB staff and participants headed out to Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre just outside of Parry Sound on June 29th for an Amphibian Bioblitz. By searching in and around vernal pools (small, seasonal depressions with water) they found a total of 5 species in many different life stages (including some Four-toed salamander eggs found nestled into the sphagnum moss!). Who knew tiny little pools of water could host so much diversity?
White Pine Bioblitz
GBB partnered with Bayfield-Nares Islanders’ Association (BNIA) on July 16th to conduct a bioblitz on the “Isle of Pines,” on Georgian Bay with an incredible old growth white pine forest. This event was a great opportunity for community members to gather and learn more about the biodiversity that exists in the archipelago!
What’s abuzz at the pollinator patch? On July 19th, GBB staff and participants visited the Ziigwan River Butterfly Garden (the pollinator patch near Trestle Brewery) to see what pollinators they could find! There are hundreds of species of native bees in Ontario, including 16 species of bumblebees. At this Pollinator Bioblitz, participants learned all about the importance of planting native species which help provide native pollinators important habitat and food.
Grundy Lake Provincial Park Bioblitz
To celebrate Healthy Parks Healthy People Day on July 21st, GBB staff joined a bioblitz at Grundy Lake Provincial Park to teach park visitors about using iNaturalist to record species. Armed with frog nets, bug nets, buckets, and binoculars, participants recorded a total of 101 observations!
You can help local science and biodiversity efforts!
- Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram accounts that share information regarding upcoming free summer bioblitz events that you can attend!
- Join 4,500 other people who are a part of GBB’s iNaturalist project! Download the app and start recording the species that you see.
- Host your own bioblitz! We have a guide to help you get started.