Fraser Island (K’Gari) to be BioBlitzed by Scientists
Jun 24, 2016
A huge BioBlitz is being planned for Fraser Island (K’Gari) in November to bring together experts from many areas of biology to carry out a stock-take of the natural resources of the World Heritage island.
The BioBlitz is being organized by the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation (FIDO) with support from the University of the Sunshine Coast, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance (FINIA).
Base camp for the BioBlitz will be at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Dilli Village Fraser Island Research and Learning Centre. The study area extends from the ocean beach to Lake Birrabeen, covering all six dune systems and encompassing most ecosystem types from heathlands, tall forests, swamps, fens and perched dune lakes.
FIDO Honorary Project Officer John Sinclair said that the aim of the BioBlitz is to establish critical baseline data to assist in managing this world wonder into the future.
“Work has begun this week to recruit people with expertise in identifying any critters that swim, slither, walk, crawl, hop or fly in the study area as well as all the sorts of plants and fungi large and small that support these very special ecosystems.” Mr Sinclair announced.
He said that people participating in this very special sort of stock-take don’t need a PhD, but they do need expertise in identifying species in their area of biological interest. “We are looking for people with special interests in arachnology, ornithology, herpetology, general zoology, botany, mycology and other areas of biology”.
Organizers are also seeking volunteers to assist the experts to carry out their field work.
“We aren’t planning to cover the whole island but to explore the selected study area thoroughly. We expect that the BioBlitz will discover some species never previously recorded from K’Gari especially amongst the invertebrates and fungi that deserve more study than has previously given to them” he said.
UNESCO recognizes the Fraser Island World Heritage Area for representing “an outstanding example of significant ongoing biological processes. These processes, acting on a sand medium, include biological adaptation (such as unusual rainforest succession), and biological evolution (such as the development of rare and biogeographically significant species of plants and animals)”
The BioBlitz will run from 28 November to 4 December. While participants will need to meet their own costs, this is a unique opportunity to meet and work together with experts from an array of disciplines in a very attractive field setting.