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Rhode Island Natural History Survey » SE Naturalist Special Issue on Great Smokies ATBI of Interest to BioBlitzers
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Exec's Blog &News &Publications dgregg on 14 Dec 2007 05:42 pm

SE Naturalist Special Issue on Great Smokies ATBI of Interest to BioBlitzers

At the office we just received a special issue of Southeastern Naturalist (Vol. 6, Special Issue 1, December 2007) devoted to papers from the March 2006 symposium on the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory that has been ongoing in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park since 1997. This is the mother of all BioBlitzes, a now 11 year effort to catalogue every species that walks, crawls, oozes, flys, slithers, grows, moulders, fulminates, contemplates, and expostulates within the 2,200 square kilometers of the park. Each chapter in the special issue presents the results of the ATBI in one taxon. Coverage in this issue includes bacteria, mushrooms, lichen, algae, diatoms, oligochaetes, ephemeroptera, plecoptera, megaloptera, trichoptera, lepidoptera, coleoptera, odonata, formica, collembola, and tardigrades. Each chapter is great reading and several really communicate well the senses of wonder and discovery that brought the researchers to the ATBI and bring many of us to natural history.

There are some good insights into why some aspects of our own Rhode Island bioblitz work well and why others don’t. For one thing, the ATBI (which for the scientists is a volunteer effort) uses up most of the community mindedness of most of the taxonomic specialists for most of the taxa, something that reflects both the size of the project and the dire state of systematics in the U.S. and worldwide right now. Of all the times to run out of taxonomic expertise, just when climate change and intercontinental transportation are putting our biodiversity into a global sized blender! Hopefully, RINHS is playing some part in supporting and encouraging the development of what nascent taxonomic interest there is out there. Hopefully, we are helping to build and support the fellowship of naturalists who are making valuable contributions to our own knowledge of All the Taxa Around Rhode Island (ATARI?)

The Southeastern Naturalist is a companion publication to the fine Northeastern Naturalist, which is a valuable resource to our natural history community, and both are published by the Humboldt Field Research Institute, Eagle Hill Road, Steuben, ME (www.eaglehill.us). Distribution of this special issue to RINHS was paid for by Discover Life in America (DLIA), the non-profit organization set up to coordinate the ATBI (www.dlia.org), and we’re very grateful for this.

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