University of Cambridge Museums

Projects, events and news from the University of Cambridge Museums

BioBlitz 2015

Giving people the chance to help inform the displays in the new Museum of Zoology

Despite the rain, both visitors and animals alike came out to join the Museum of Zoology at our annual BioBlitz, which this year was hosted at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Over 300 individuals helped experts to find over 250 species over the 24 hours of the event.

The BioBlitz is a 24 hour race against the clock to discover as many plants and animals as you can. It ran from 5pm on Friday 12 June to 5pm on Saturday 13 June. We were joined by many returning experts, from the Department of Zoology and beyond. In all, over 60 specialists and volunteers came along and helped to make the event a success. Activities ranged from spider surveys, pond dipping, and bat walks, amongst a multitude of others, all of these running alongside the continuous species survey.

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(C) Fyntastic Photography

Notable finds from the Garden this year included the elusive Carder Bee. We have known this has been present at previous events but it has not been spotted before and so this was an exciting first for the Cambridge BioBlitz. The Carder Bee is notable for how the males fiercely defend their territory by flying directly and rapidly at intruders. The male reinforces this threat as the tip of his abdomen is armed with a series of spines.

(C) Ettore Balocchi

(C) Ettore Balocchi

Excitingly, we also discovered a new Mollusc – the Hygromia Cinctella or Girdled Snail. 28 species of snail were found at the event but this one was a new find. This species is commonly found throughout the Mediterranean, it is a non-native species of the UK, first seen in the South-East in 1950.

Other finds included over 30 species of birds including a Sparrow Hawk and a Grey Heron, 24 different spiders, 32 species of moth including the Elephant Hawk Moth, and the small mammal traps found two Bank Voles, and two Wood Mice.

This year we are particularly enthused to be compiling the data collected at the event as it will directly feed into the Garden display in the brand new ‘Discovery Space’ in the newly redeveloped Museum. The Discovery Space is a new gallery under development, which will be an immersive space based on the specimens, sights and sounds of real habitats in the UK. The garden display will refer to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and we will now take this list of species found and select our specimens to match.

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We hope that you enjoyed the Cambridge BioBlitz 2015 as much as we did, don’t worry if you missed out on this event, there are many other ways to get involved in helping to shape the new Museum, from taking part in our Ocean Songs project, to helping to #rasiethewhale, or joining us in a hunt to collect empty snail shells to form habitat spaces in the new building for solitary insects. So even though we’re closed at the moment we’re still very much here and busier than ever before!

Find out more about the redevelopment at:

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