First Ever Ecology Club BioBlitz

Greetings, fellow Ecology Club members,

Well, this event is the first in what I hope will be a long series of productive, competitive, cutthroat bioblitzes at the Madison County battlefield known as Spring Hollow.  I remember when I was the young president of the UGA Herp Society, getting an email from one Sean Graham, then of Georgia State, now at Auburn.  What follows is but an excerpt, as some passages may be too explicit for sensitive ears:

From: Sean Graham,
To: Andrew Durso,; John Maerz,
Date: Monday, February 12th, 2007 at 3:42 PM
Subject: I’m cheating, are you? 

Just wanted to give you a head’s up that I am purposefully trying to undermine your bioblitz effort by inviting the Ichauway herp lab to the bioblitz; to see where Sean Starret’s true loyalties lie, and to try to rip apart your team’s morale.

Also, we are getting George Folkerts and Carlos Camp to be on our team, because we’re nasty like that. Those guys could find a seepage salamander on Mars.

I would encourage you to be equally cutthroat. For example, I believe there may be a useful pool of herpers across the river in South Carolina that you could tap into, if you’re scared of losing.


p.s. Your team sucks

This, plus repeated comments that UGA “couldn’t herp their way out of a wet paper bag”, was the beginning our our long friendship/rivalry based on collecting, identifying and publishing the most new records from poorly documented areas in Georgia and Alabama.  The purpose of a bioblitz is twofold: 

  1. Thoroughly document the fauna/flora of a particular area
  2. Do so in a competitive manner so as to encourage both teams to obtain the maximum number of species

So, without further ado, announcing:

The First Annual Spring Hollow All-Taxa BioBlitz
Sponsored by the Odum School of Ecology Undergraduate Ecology Club


The Rules:
  1. Teams will be chosen, one member at a time, by two captains, who also happen to be the outgoing co-presidents, Mark Milby and Jean Chi.  First pick will be determined by a coin toss.  At this point you’re probably asking: ‘Is Durso doing this to get back at all the kids who were good at sports in elementary school and always chose him last?’  And at this point I’m answering ‘Yes, finally something competitive that I’m good at, you assholes.’
  2. The area of the blitz will be constrained to the Spring Hollow property boundary, including all fauna observable in the atmosphere above to 10,000′, and in the lithosphere below, to a depth of 50′.  Maps will be provided to each team.
  3. The duration of the blitz will be from 12:00 AM on May 1st to 11:59 PM on May 2nd.
  4. No cheating.  This includes transport of species from off-site to the site, submission of retained specimens collected earlier than the blitz, etc…
  5. One point will be awarded each team for each species of vertebrate (mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish) and vascular plant (gymnosperm, angiosperm or fern) identified to species with the Latin binomial.  All species must be vouchered (pressed/preserved specimen, live specimen, clear photograph or recording of unique call/song) for later verification by experts.
  6. Interference (“playing offense”) is permissible (i.e. sabotaging the other team with planted plastic snakes, tape-recorded bird & frog calls, people dressed in bear suits running through the woods, etc..) and encouraged.
  7. Field guides, minnow traps, hoop traps and small mammal traps will be provided.  Bring your own binoculars, cameras, snake hooks, and any other equpiment you think might help your team win.

We’ll go over this at the next meeting, so be prepared.



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