BioBlitz Update and Official Rules

Greetings incipient eco-gladiators,

In order to further galvanize you, and in response to repeated requests that I release additional material from the depths of what have become misleadingly known as the ‘Graham tapes’, (misleading partially because of their sinister nature and partially because they are actually e-mails), I have transcribed an excerpt from my correspondence with the Auburn team captain during the planning stages of the first blitz.  What follows is a translation from the Alabamese – every effort has been made to preserve the original flavor of the language used.

From: Sean Graham,
To: Various herpetologists around the southeast
Cc: Andrew Durso,, John Maerz,
Subject: slander from UGA
Date: February 13th, 2007 at 10:52 AM

Dear dedicated herpers:

Through years of experience hacking computers to change my grades, I have acquired the skills to intercept email messages. I have done this to spy on our competition for the upcoming bioblitz. I snatched this email from Jon Meerz, the UGA club advisor, to Andrew Dursowe, their president. We should all be proud that they are scrambling, but not let our guard down since they are up to such shameless tactics:
The message is as follows:
“Dear Andrew,
My gosh, I am so scared of the GSU and AU herp clubs. Don’t they know how inexperienced we are? We will definately need some help. We need to get in touch with legendary herpetologist Whit Gibbons and get his crew of herpers from the Savannah River Ecology Lab to rescue us.
I mean, do you even know what a seepage salamander is? How do we find one? I guess we’ll concentrate our searching around lakes, because everyone knows that’s where amphibians live.
And I guess pine snakes like live in pine trees, so we’ll need to get some climbing equipment. As for the wood frogs, that’s a no-brainer too.
Anyways, we probably need to start figuring out ways to cheat so that we can win. I suggest you have everyone bring some switchblades to slash the other team’s tires, and maybe a couple of bags of sugar. Whatever it takes, because those other teams are a bunch of herp sissies that couldn’t find a slimy salamander if it was in their pocket.
Jon Meerz
Wannrrell Forestry School
University of Georgia”
I don’t even need to mention what an outrage this is, other than to say that we should remain vigilant and get ready for the fight of our lives. If you know of any herpers anywhere, get them ready for the blitz.

As you can see, these events are typically nothing short of epic.

A few updates to the rules, as hashed out at today’s meeting:

  • ‘All-taxa’ now refers to identifying:
    • vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes) and trees to species,
    • invertebrates (for our purposes, arthropods and molluscs) to family and
    • vascular plants (ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms, minus trees) and fungi to genus.
    • We will NOT count:
      –  humans or their domestic animals, such as domestic cattle, pigs, goats, horses, dogs, house cats, chickens, ostriches, etc.
      –  captive animals or anything in the obvious possession of humans.
      –  “signs” such as tracks or nests–some portion of the actual animal must be seen or heard (i.e., known to be present during the event).
      –  Anything we are not certain (to the satisfaction of our group) about the identification of – specimens can be sent to faculty who are experts in their field for positive ID later on if clarification is needed

In addition, various faculty will be joining our ranks – students vs. faculty!

Until then, happy herping (and birding, bugging, etc…)!


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