Sustainability Action Blog


Highfield Campus BioBlitz

By Julia Kendal |

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Guest blog post by Oliver Cockroft, BioBlitz Intern

On Wednesday 8 June the annual Highfield campus BioBlitz event took place. The aim of the day was to record as many different species present on the campus as possible. In recent years, the total number of species has been over 300. To aid in the species classification, Phil Budd, from Southampton Natural History Society, and John Poland, from the Hampshire Ecological Services lent a hand. Lizzy Peat from Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre was also present, allowing us to keep an official record that contributes to a county-wide data set. Additionally, 3 guided walks took place on the day, led by Phil Budd, Dr Jake Snaddon, from Biological Sciences, and John Poland.

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The day started slowly, with only six different species identified by 11.00am, but picked up quickly as the 15 or so volunteers came back with more and more records of the various species sighted. For each sighting the location and species was recorded, allowing the species duplicates to be discounted.  Many volunteers had some previous experience in finding and identifying species, which was extremely helpful to the day. The volunteers made good use of the equipment available, gathering what they found in pots and using the identification guides.

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Each of the guided walks focused on a different group of species: 10.30am with Phil focused on ‘Flora’; 12.30pm with Dr Jake Snaddon focused on ‘Bees and Butterflies’; and 2.30pm with John Poland focused on ‘Fauna’. Whilst each walk had a focus, the guides were more than happy to answer queries from the public and volunteers about any species found along the way.BioBlitz 2016 3 CURB

The weather stayed sunny and bright throughout the day – great conditions for sighting insects which would otherwise be dormant. By 1.00pm, 65 different species had been identified. A well-deserved lunch was provided to the volunteers courtesy of ‘Curb’, Southampton’s branch of ‘The Real Junk Food Project’, which aims at reducing food waste by collecting food that would otherwise be thrown away. The volunteers were impressed by both the range and quality of what Curb provided!

At 4.00pm the final totals came in, with 338 records and 232 different species found. This beat the 2014 total, but came shy of the 2015 total by about 30 species. This may be because there were fewer people actively searching, and for the first time the BioBlitz did not include specific bat and bird walks. Many of the people involved mentioned how they enjoyed the day, having got to learn and/or improve catching and identification skills, work with experts, and discover the enormous number of different species present on Highfield campus!BioBlitz 2016 2

BioBlitz will continue to run events throughout the summer, including working with children groups and being part of Marwell’s Zany Zebra trail. Find out more on Facebook, Twitter and the BioBlitz blog.

Photos by BioBlitz Interns Georgia Harper and Oliver Cockroft.