We use teams to help organize the science and the logistics at BioBlitz. All participants must be assigned to a team during pre-registration. In addition to taxonomic teams and habitat teams, we have an art team, a creative writing team, and even a “people team” that helps run the event.
The exact teams vary from year to year depending on habitat, expertise, and participants’ interests. Some teams might be focused narrowly on a single taxon, others might be broad. Some teams are organized around habitats and feed their finds out to the right taxonomic teams. For example a “pond team” will encounter invertebrates of many taxa and need to feed those out to several different teams for counting. They make sure these “orphan” finds get to the right team.
The organization that goes into each team comes largely from the team captain and its members, not RINHS. There is no “right way” to organize a team. Do it the way you feel comfortable and that will engage your energy. And have fun!
Here are teams for a typical RI BioBlitz, with names where they’ve been established by past teams. Some years we won’t have every team, depending on the site (no marine team if it’s an inland site, obviously) and we never know the size of the teams until registration time.
Art [Art Team]
Creative Writing Team
Microscopic Unicellular Organisms Other Than Algae and Fungi
Vascular Plants [The Plantathletes]
Algae (Freshwater and Terrestrial) [The Phycophreaks]
Mosses [The Standing Stones]
Lichens [The Cladonia Crazies]
Fungi [The Fun-Guys]
Other Terrestrial Soil Macro-invertebrates [The Litterbugs]
Spiders & Kin [The Creepy Crawlies]
Crustaceans & Kin [The Crabby Crawlies]
Moths [The Night Knights]
Bees & Wasps
All Other Insects
Reptiles & Amphibians [The Herpetophiles]
Fish [The Aquaverts]
RINHS staff will put those expressing a particular taxonomic interest during registration in touch with the leader of the phylogenetically closest team. If someone wants to work on a new team or a sub-taxon of an existing one, that can be arranged.
For recording purposes we group taxa into overarching “super teams” —for instance all plants (including vascular and non-vascular), all mycota (including lichens and fungi), all non-arthropod invertebrates, all insects, all vertebrates, etc.
A team’s job can be greatly simplified by using a checklist of species. There are a number available for download from RINHS or elsewhere.
Rhode Island Species Checklists
Teams can submit an annotated checklist at the end of the event but if your taxon doesn’t have a checklist you can submit species using our Observation Reporting Form. This form has a map on the back to note find spots or the sites where you ran a particular kind of trap. These forms will be available at the BioBlitz site, you don’t need to come with your own.
Sample Observation Reporting Form PDF:1.5MB
In order to help assemble teams that will cover the widest range of possible species, we have developed a BioBlitz Reference Taxonomy. It is not really a proper phylogenetic or cladistic ordering. Many levels of organization have been left off and some older groupings retained despite new orderings by scientific taxonomists. The goal is to simplify the presentation and focus on taxa that the scientifically literate public would be most familiar with. It might help to think of it as a list of the potential maximum number of teams. By starting with this list, we can then condense down to the teams we actually have available with the hope no taxon will be left unassigned. The document is helpful, too, for reminding participants to keep their eyes open for obscure, interesting, or often overlooked creatures.
RI BioBlitz Reference Taxonomy .xlsx:16K
BioBlitz is a weird sort of game and to increase the fun we track the performance of each team against the theoretical maximum number of species in their taxon and against the RI BioBlitz average and record high and low for their taxon. At the closing announcement every year we recognize teams that set new records and find the highest percentage of the theoretical maximum. If you’re setting goals, here’s the list:
RI BioBlitz Stats PDF:66K