National Geographic and the National Park Service have partnered to conduct a BioBlitz in a different national park each year during the decade leading up to the U.S. National Park Service Centennial in 2016. Golden Gate was selected for the 2014 BioBlitz, which took place on March 28 – 29.
The Golden Gate National Parks span three counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, and encompass over 80,000 acres and 91 miles of shoreline. The parks more iconic sites include Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods National Monument, Fort Point National Historic Site, the Presidio and the Marin Headlands.
Though the parks are beloved recreation spots, many may not know that they are also part of the UNESCO Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve and lie within a region that the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International have named one of 25 global biodiversity hotspots. They are a place of wildlife corridors, secret nature spots and refuges for rarities.
The parks boast the third highest number of threatened and endangered species of any park unit in the country, and the second highest number of park visitors. You might think that with so many eyes and ears in the parks every day, there would be nothing new left to learn. Not so. Despite our best efforts, we have only been able to scratch the surface of our parks’ ecological wealth. BioBlitz took steps to improve our knowledge by engaging volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers and other community members to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible in 24 hours. Below are some of the highlights:
- ~9,000 people participated in the BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival, including over 300 scientists and more than 2,700 youth
- 250 inventories were completed, both during the day and into the night, including the first canopy exploration ever done at Muir Woods
- 2,897 different species were documented, including
- 1,725 species new to the park's species list
You can view BioBlitz species observations at http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/golden-gate-national-parks-bioblitz-march-28th-and-29th-2014. Additional information and resources about the Golden Gate BioBlitz are available from http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/projects/bioblitz/golden-gate-california-2014/ and through the links from various participating organizations collected in the right-hand menu of this page.