Exploring the Microwilderness
Dr. Jessica Rykken
Museum of Comparative Zoology
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Delivered at 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium
The Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership are collaborating to conduct an All-Taxa biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) of Boston Harbor Islands. In its first phase, the project focuses on the "microwilderness" of the islands, namely, insects and other arthropods. This extremely diverse group of animals is easily sampled, yet often overlooked.
Primary objectives of the first phase of this ATBI are to:
- catalog the arthropod fauna across Boston Harbor Islands;
- engage, educate, and excite the public about biodiversity on a very local scale through outreach and educational activities; and
- use biodiversity data to inform park resource management.
Products such as a web-accessible database with images of all species, biodiversity posters, a card game, arthropod displays, and educational curricula, in addition to activities such as volunteer surveys and public collecting events all contribute to the goal of fostering appreciation for the biodiversity that exists in this very human-influenced landscape. Research projects conducted by undergraduate and graduate students are making a significant contribution to the scientific and educational goals of the ATBI, and data from many of these projects will have practical application for park management.