False Creek Bioblitz

False Creek Bioblitz

Report & Photos by John Martin

Hakai Institute and the Friends of False Creek held a citizen science bioblitz of the False Creek area from from Sep 2 to Sep 5. Nature Vancouver participated in this citizen science project as a supporting partner. Work had begun by many marine biologists from the Hakai Institute during the year but this event brought in the general community. While scientists collected and processed data in the waters of false creek, citizens were asked to make observations all along the shoreline. These were posted on iNaturalist under the Friends of False Creek project which is open to the public.

During the event Nature Vancouver had a display set up describing all of the activities and opportunities for the public to become engaged in the natural history of the greater Vancouver area. Copies of the Discovery journal were available along with bookmarks and information on how to join. Many people of all ages were pleasantly surprised and expressed an interest in Nature Vancouver.

We shared a tented table with the Friends of False creek. Over the four days we interacted with well over 500 people out of the thousands that passed our way. Here we see John Martin, Caroline Penn and Pavel Ryzlovsky hosting. Other members also showed up and we had a great time.

Scientists from Canada and the USA completed a very exhaustive review and we all had a great opportunity to get up close to the action. This is only one example where the biologists were collecting specimens from the creek bed. They had an onsite lab with microscopes and more to document everything they found giving us a great biodiversity baseline to base future actions on. A fulsome report is expected soon so for those interested, stay tuned for the follow-up.

We saw real research innovation in action. Here a scientist from the Scripps Institute created a novel way to add a camera to crabs in the creek to follow them in real time. He created several hundred videos showing interactions with food and spiny dogfish. From kids to adults, we were captivated to watch some of these at our table. Notable was the tenacity of the crabs to fend of the much larger dogfish. There is a lot going on under the water.

For those who could not or would not go into the water, there was a display by an underwater photographer who showcased an amazing array of wildlife living in the creek. Photos taken within 60 days were incredible with anemones, fish and organisms never documented before in false creek before in full color for all to see.

This bioblitz was supported by many on land and under the water. It was a great example of citizen science in action and how Nature Vancouver can become engaged in citizen science. Hopefully going forward we will see you out there supporting activities like this and using platforms like iNaturalist to capture the beauty of our natural world.

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