Written by Point Pelee National Park Staff for The Egret, Issue 34- Number 4

 This year was the 100thbirthday of Point Pelee National Park (1918 – 2018).  To help commemorate the occasion, several signature events occurred in the park throughout the year.  On the weekend of July 21-22, 2018, a special Point Pelee 100 BioBlitz was held from 12:00 noon on July 21 to 12:00 noon on July 22.  This was the first All TaxaBioBlitz in Point Pelee National Park and it encompassed the entire park.

Despite the cool, rainy weather, over 35 dedicated expert scientists, naturalists and assistants came to the park to offer their skills, knowledge and time to discover as many living species within the park boundaries as they could.  We also benefited from 10 wonderful, committed event volunteers who helped the experience run smoothly! The number of citizen science participants who came to partake in the expert hikes, presentations and general BioBlitz excitement was between 80 – 100 people. 

Point Pelee 100 BioBlitz Results

  • Number of Observations:
  • iNaturalist observations:973
  • Other observations: 907
  • TOTAL observations: 1880
  • Species Observation Highlights:
    • Total number of species inventoried:  598 as of December 5, 2018
    • Species At Risk observed: 13

Cool Finds!

While we are still waiting for some data to come in, following is a snapshot of the unique species that made an appearance for the Point Pelee 100 BioBlitz! 

 The rare Pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba) was historically recorded in Point Pelee National Park but had not been seen since 1990.  Thought to beextirpated from the park, our tree expert was on a mission to rediscover it.  He was rewarded when he found itpoking out from the underbrush near the Woodland Nature Trail.  A tree species that was thought to be lost from the park was a very exciting find!

 A lichen expert participated in the BioBlitz andcreated the first ever lichen species list for the park.  There were 12 lichens found and identified,down to the genus or species.  This is a great list to build from for future lichen research.

Dr. Steven Paiero, from the University of Guelph Insect Collection, has only started going through our catch of insects from the Middle Island portion of the BioBlitz but here are a few things of note.  Three species of shore bug (Saldidae) were found out on the rocky shores, many hanging scorpionflies (Bittacus strigosus, Bittacidae) and the damsel bug Nabisamericolimbatus (Nabidae) on the interior of the island, and a lot of gall-making plant lice (Psyllidae, Pachypsylla celtidismamma) and metallic woodboring beetles (Buprestidae, Agrilus) on the hackberry. Highlight swere a massive dock spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) and Phloeotribussca bricollis, a species of scolytine weevil that bores into the Common Hop Tree that has only been collected in southwestern Ontario from Middle Island!!

Spoon-leaved Moss (Bryoandersonia illecebra), an endangered species, has been recorded in the park in only 3small, fragmented locations.  During the BioBlitz the endangered moss was identified in a new location in the park where it had never been recorded before.  Avery exciting extension of a struggling population!

Preliminary data analysis shows that in total, 47 species(3 plants, 2 trees, 1 caddisfly, 12 mosses, 12 lichens and up to as many as 17moths) found during the BioBlitz may not have been previously listed for the park.  Most of them are common species,some of them are invasive, but they represent an increase in our knowledge of the park and its inhabitants.  Early detection of invasive species is also a huge benefit for park management strategies. 

 This inaugural BioBlitz for Point PeleeNational Park has created much excitement and encouragement for park staff,connecting them with many experts and participants who are as passionate about our local nature in Essex County as they are.  It was a thrilling and humbling experience to see the BioBlitz come together and be a success.  We were very happy with the outcomes.

We would like to give a big thanks to the Essex County Field Naturalists who helped before, during and after the event.   And, a big thank you to the greater community of nature-lovers who supported and participated in the event.  It was a blast!  See you next time!

‘Massive’ Dock Spider (Photo credit: Steve Paiero)
Point Pelee 100 BioBlitz Group Photo (Photo credit: Parks Canada)

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