A 24-hour BioBlitz by some 150 scientists and 2,000 students this weekend identified 489 species alive and well in Rocky Mountain National Park. Or did a last-minute flyover by a bald eagle make the final count 490?
Presenting the tally confirmed by scientists this afternoon, BioBlitz coordinators said there were 89 species of birds, 12 mammals, 1 fish, 1 reptile, 289 plants, 12 fungi, 78 insects, and 7 other invertebrates in the mountain environments of the 418-square-mile park. But even as the announcement was being made, a bald eagle flew above the closing ceremony, a bird that had not been “inventoried” in the park during the BioBlitz.
The symbolism of America’s national bird soaring above the BioBlitz crowd was a reminder that there are many more species in Rocky Mountain than those listed on the board. Scientists will be poring over specimens for months or years before they can be certain that no new species to the park were collected during the 24 hours of the BioBlitz. Countless other species in the park that were not collected or observed will remain unidentified.
Photo: Superintendent Vaughn Baker with the final tally for the BioBlitz in Rocky Mountain National Park.
David Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.
He edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and major initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world. More than 50,000 readers have participated in 10,000 conversations.
Braun also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship.