News / Calgary

Wanna find new bugs? Check out Alberta's BioBlitz

University of Calgary bug expert says there's a good chance of finding an insect no one's seen before.

The Alberta BioBlitz is looking for people who want to discover new bugs in an insect census.

Submitted

The Alberta BioBlitz is looking for people who want to discover new bugs in an insect census.

It’s more than just a hike; it’s a chance to discover new species while getting your name in the history books.

Scientists and researchers from across the province are inviting Calgarians to join them at University of Lethbridge’s Westcastle Field Station in Castle Mountain Provincial Park for BioBlitz, which is an interactive weekend that will likely turn up new species of plants and insects.

“I suspect we will find several things that are entirely new to science and we will probably find species that we didn’t know occur in this province,” said University of Calgary bug expert John Swann, of the first year in the three year study.

It’s a joint initiative between the U of C, the University of Lethbridge, the Entomological Society of Alberta and Alberta Parks, and it presents a rare opportunity for Albertans to make history if and when new species are found.

Swann said this is just one event over the year that the general public can make a significant contribution to science by putting on their hiking boots and getting their hands a little dirty. The goal is to identify as many species as possible that will be added to the database.

“If you’re helping to collect this material as a member of the public, then I want your name on every single specimen that we collect, where it was collected, when it was collected it and who collected it,” he said.

Those who plan to attend are asked to wear proper hiking clothing and footwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, a water bottle and a lunch, as there are no food vendors on site.

The BioBlitz runs July 15, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and July 16, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, please contact John Swann at jeswann@ucalgary.ca.

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