Scientists, Students Team Up for BioBlitz Event

David Wagner, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut, talks to Wesleyan faculty and Wesleyan Hughes and Mellon Fellows about the 2007 BioBlitz, to be held in Middletown June 8-9.
Posted 06/04/07
BioBlitz 2007 is coming to Middletown and Wesleyan faculty and students are playing key roles.

For those unaware, BioBlitz is a 24-hour environmental diversity survey that was originated in the state by the University of Connecticut and several partners. During BioBlitz, scientific specialists are partnered up with grade school students and others for field surveys and other activities. The idea is to get a snapshot of the biodiversity of a specific area in a 24-hour period.

This year, BioBlitz 2007 will focus on Middletown, taking place from June 8-9, with the public invited to attend between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. June 9.

Wesleyan has contributed $5,000 toward the survey and events. Wesleyan faculty, staff and students have been involved in planning, logistics, events as well as participating in the actual surveys. This includes Laura Appel, visiting associate professor of biology; Barry Chernoff, Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Sciences, professor of biology; Valerie Marinelli, administrative assistant for the Environmental Studies Program; Michael Singer, assistant professor of biology; and Michael Weir, professor of biology, director, Hughes Program in the Life Sciences. Both Chernoff and Singer will be leading field studies.

The fieldwork teams headed by Chernoff will survey three locations and identify and catalogue aquatic fish and invertebrates. He will be assisted by Kevi Mace ’07 and Nick Field ’09. Singer’s field teams will be in two locations identifying and cataloguing caterpillars. He will be assisted by Tim Farkas ’08, and Christian Skorik ’09.

As part of the ramp-up to BioBlitz 2007, the coordinator of the program David Wagner, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut, spoke to students on campus from the summer Hughes Program in the Life Sciences and Mellon Scholars, as well as others from the university community.

Along with Wesleyan, BioBlitz 2007 sponsors include the City of Middletown, University of Connecticut Center for Conservation & Biodiversity, the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Pratt & Whitney, the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, and Middletown Public Schools.

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By David Pesci, director of Media Relations