Know your neighbours
Blogger: Massey University Journalism Student, Tamara Novak
Forest & Bird’s month-long hunt for creatures around Mana, near Wellington has revealed over 1291 different beasties & plants residing in this area – five of which are new to science.
Several local and international scientists, marine graduates, divers, ecologists, parents and children took part in the Bioblitz -search to help raise awareness of the rich diversity of creatures and plants living on people’s doorsteps.
Over six hundred students from seven local schools were unleashed onto the area to fossick, scour and scrutunize the land and sea in search of fresh discoveries.
As well as giving children the chance to exercise their detective skills, the BioBlitz gave students an appreciation of their unique natural environment and an opportunity to figure out how each creature works in concert with each other.
Graham Bird – a British scientist living in NZ – lamented the fact that we still don’t really know what’s on our land or in our sea.
Although we’ve done a good job of naming most of our mega-fauna, he says many of the smaller creatures residing in our sea, sedges, forest verges and wetlands are undiscovered, unnamed and therefore largely unprotected.
Many of the new species found were under 5mm in size, so BioBlitz searchers were given a quick training session on how to become eagle-eyed and hunt out the little, often over-looked creatures that lay undiscovered in sand-dunes, beaches and rock-pools.
BioBlitz coordinator, Allie Burnett, says the event gave her a good appreciation of how even the most minuscule or rudimentary creatures have evolved over millennia to occupy their little niche and become an integral part of the NZ ecosystem.
She hopes that in the coming years, more BioBlitzs will be conducted, so even more discoveries can be made!