Cornell University

Getting ready for the Bioblitz

Blogger Bioblitz ParticipantTomorrow’s the big day. I’m hosting a Bioblitz on a 5 acre patch of land near Ithaca. A pack of roving naturalists, taxonomists, mycologists, and ilk will join me to inventory all the life forms we can find. I’m excited.

And to think that just eleven days ago I was despairing that winter might never end! That’s when a freakish April snow storm dumped almost a foot of snow on me.April 16 2007, unwelcome snow Three big hunks of trees blocked my driveway, my trees groaned under the weight, and four-wheel-drive was just barely enough to get me to work. The plucky phoebe that had claimed the prime nesting spot above my front deck went ominously quiet.

Now the snow is gone. The phoebe has been joined by his partner, and they have built a mossy nest together atop the downspout. It’s time for our Bioblitz. We’re not the only ones blitzing this week. At least 50 other sites are taking part–they span North America from Canada to Panama. Jeremy Bruno of The Voltage Gate is collating the efforts at his Bioblitz clearinghouse.

Our bioblitz site contains a happy little stream with burbling waterfalls, a hemlock grove, a slope with mature red oaks, and a steep, dry, white pine ridge. We’ll see tomorrow how many different organisms make their homes here, on the land, in the stream, in the air. April is not a great time for fungi in upstate New York (in warmer years we might hope for a morel). So for the next little while, I’ll be blogging about the Bioblitz, and my posts will stray from the fungi we love most dearly.

Spring reasserts itself this week

Want to take a guess at how many species we’ll find? Folks who pitch in tomorrow at the Ithaca Bioblitz can win a prize for the closest guess. For all you folks out there on the internet, mere glory will have to suffice.

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Most people don't pay much attention to fungi, which include things like mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildews. Here at Cornell we think they're pretty fascinating. In fact, even the most disgusting foot diseases and moldy strawberries are dear to our hearts. We'd like to talk to you about fungi, so that like us, you too can tell gross stories at the dinner table. Afterwards, maybe you'll notice some things you would have overlooked before, and we think this could be good for the planet.

Kathie T. Hodge, Editor

Beneath Notice, our book of borescopic mycology.


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