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Scientists are always searching for better ways to assess biodiversity in different areas, particularly when trying to find rare species or newly introduced species that may become invasive. Engaging the public to help with this work has proven successful for this type of work, and the recent Blitz the Bear “BioBlitz” at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) is an excellent example of this approach.
Stephen Hensler and Paula McIntyre of the Cerulean Center will present a program entitled "Blitz the Bear Launches Great Lakes BioBlitz Program" on November 10 at 9:30 a.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center Auditorium in Empire, Michigan.
Hosting “BioBlitzes,” which are events held to find as many species as possible at a location (usually in a 24 to 48-hour period), is a good way to engage both professional scientists and the public in meaningful sampling useful to researchers. On September 16-17, 2016, the Cerulean Center hosted Blitz the Bear; a BioBlitz at the National Lakeshore in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS). Over the two days of the BioBlitz, nearly 250 students, teachers, scientists, volunteers, assistants and Cerulean Center and NPS staff teamed up to make nearly 1,000 observations of nearly 350 species, some of which had not been found at SLBE before. Blitz the Bear was the first in a planned series of Great Lakes BioBlitzes for the Cerulean Center, fitting into a broader effort to promote citizen science around the basin to better study and manage this globally unique and significant ecosystem while making science more tangible to all. It also contributed to the nationwide 2016 National Parks BioBlitz which has surpassed 100,000 observations. More than 5,000 citizen scientists made observations and collectively recorded more than 10,000 species across the National Park System.
Stephen Hensler is an aquatic ecology researcher with 20 years of experience studying the Great Lakes and their watersheds. His expertise centers on ecology of fishes, zooplankton, and benthos with special attention in recent years on non-native species. Stephen is chair of the Cerulean Center Board of Directors. Paula McIntyre is a Traverse City native and communications professional. She has worked in the Great Lakes research and policy community for more than 20 years. As Co-Executive Director of the Cerulean Center, Paula is committed to engaging citizens in Great Lakes research to promote our understanding of and, ultimately, our caring for the Great Lakes ecosystem.
This talk is part of a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore speaker series called “Research Rendezvous.” To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NPS and highlight the value of national parks as our nation’s “living laboratories,” the National Lakeshore has been hosting a series of public talks by park researchers in 2016. All Research Rendezvous presentations offered at the National Lakeshore are free.