BioBlitz is a signature citizen science program for Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. During BioBlitzes, huge numbers of arthropod species are documented, many never previously observed at Acadia National Park.
During one summer weekend in each of the last 14 years, the National Park Service (NPS), Maine Forest Service, University of Maine, the Entomological Society, and the Schoodic Institute have sponsored insect or spider focused biodiversity discovery (Bioblitz) events. Based at the Schoodic Education and Research Center, professional entomologists and citizen scientists of all ages collectively combed the Schoodic and Mount Desert Island sections of Acadia National Park to document terrestrial and freshwater arthropod biodiversity. The 2004-2012 bioblitzes identified 1,605 species in 248 families, of which 525 and 109 were new species records for the Park and State of Maine, respectively. These research efforts inform park managers, and contribute to improving the public’s awareness and understanding about the biodiversity and ecological role of insects and spiders. These citizen science events also gave kids and their parents opportunities to spend a great weekend in the Acadia outdoors and become enthused about nature and biodiversity.
In 2013, the Bioblitz focused on beetles; 371 species were recorded of which 109 were new records for the park. The 2104 Bioblitz also focused on beetles; the effort yielded at least 300 species of beetles, including species that were not collected in the 2013 Blitz. In 2015, volunteers from all over New England, guided by members of the Maine Entomological Society, captured more than a thousand specimens of wasps, bees, and ants and promptly sorted all of them. The collecting effort yielded approximately 300 species, with the possibility of newly discovered species.
The 2016 Acadia National Park BioBlitz focused on Lepidoptera: butterflies and moths. Found were 249 species (preliminary results) of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Added together the field and laboratory time of all participants totaled over 555 hours of effort. The 2016 effort included the introduction and use of iNaturalist. This app and activity allowed for the use of smartphones, iPads and digital cameras to photograph target species and contributed to a biodiversity database devoted to Acadia National Park.