Monday, April 23, 2012

Ain't We Got Fun?

During the past two weeks, the Friends of the Wekiva River arranged for more than 150 scientists to come to the Wekiva Basin and take part in a BioBlitz, an intensive multi-layered snapshot survey of all the organisms in the region. 

It's the biologists' version of speed dating:  Okay, Mr./Ms. Scientist, how many plants, aquatic invertebrates, terrestrial invertebrates, reptiles/amphibians, mammals, fish, or birds can you encounter in one brief week in a beautifully diverse ecosystem?

Here's a link to a short film that captures what was going on earlier this month while the rest of us were probably stuck indoors at our computer screens.  Doesn't this look like a whole lot of fun?

(Keep your eyes peeled for a wacky man-wth-a-net Monty Python-esque moment!)

My very small part in supporting this effort (besides showing up this past Saturday to hear and celebrate the results) was delivering lunch to one set of scientists two weekends ago. 

While I was on site, some college biology students from the insect division came tramping out of the forest with their nets.  Before they could settle down to their sub sandwiches, one of the girls spotted a large spider hanging out on one of the picnic tables and she and her friend immediately crawled under the table to track it down.  Clearly these were insect folks because seriously, when was the last time you saw two girls hustle toward a spider?

When I mentioned that to the girls (after they returned to their seats), they laughed a little nervously and told me I had missed a real show the night before. Most of the BioBlitz scientists were camping and some of them were doing their collecting at night (because that's when the forest gets really interesting).  The girls said after dark they went out with the night study group and when they aimed their light at the ground, all you could see wherever you looked were the tiny bright reflections of thousands and thousands of pairs of spider eyes. And what happened then? More nervous laughter, and then the confession:  "We screamed all the way back to the tent."


  1. LOVE the honesty!!!! I'm pretty OK with spiders too, but that number, on their home turf? Eeeek.

  2. I know, the story was charming,but the details? Pretty creepy. Makes me look at camping a whole new way.


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