Experts from Bournemouth University have helped with a national BioBlitz campaign to catalogue the UK’s natural habitat.
The national BioBlitz was organised and championed by naturalist and television presenter Chris Packham, and took in several locations across the UK, finishing in Dorset with a look at the habitat of the local area, aided by BU academics.
The blitz took part in East Stoke, near Wareham, around a River Laboratory used by the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) and Bournemouth University.
John Davy-Bowker is an Honorary Research Fellow at Bournemouth University and organised the Dorset leg of the BioBlitz tour. He said, “We are absolutely delighted to be a part of Chris Packham’s national BioBlitz event. We are recording all of the biology as quickly as possible, in a blitz, in a defined area in a defined period of time.”
Professor Genoveva Esteban is a Microbial Biologist at Bournemouth University, she said, “I’ve been looking at the microscopic organisms that live in the area around our River Laboratory. It is fascinating because no-one looks at things that are smaller than about half a millimetre, and that is exactly what we target, so we find species that haven’t been recorded in this part of the country and maybe fresh records for the country itself, or even the first records in Europe!”
Chris Packham took time with each expert to understand the habitat around Dorset, the sort of animals that were found as a part of the BioBlitz and the conservation effort undertaken by staff to ensure that species native to Dorset survive and thrive in their local habitat.
Adrian Pinder is Director of BU’s Global Environmental Solutions team. He looked at the fish species in the River Frome, alongside the River Laboratory. He said, “We’ve been trying to record as many fish species as possible through the day. We have found a big shoal of dace, gudgeon, salmon and occasionally an eel even comes out too. We’ve had experts from all over the county coming to observe different animal groups. The fact that it is Chris Packham’s bioblitz has garnered that level of support.”
It is not the first time that Chris Packham has been involved with the university, as the television presenter was also keynote speaker at BU’s Festival of Learning in 2015.