Springbrook BioBlitz discovers new species on the Gold Coast

The most recent Springbrook BioBlitz has recorded extraordinary results, with the addition of many new species to the Gold Coast Flora and Fauna database.

The Springbrook BioBlitz, run by local conservation organisation Watergum, was held 4 to 6 December 2020. Over 350 citizen scientists went out on a mission for 48 hours together with experts and scientists to gather data on Gold Coast’s local biodiversity, with stunning results.

From the 47 surveys conducted during the BioBlitz, 645 species in total were recorded. Of those, 80 significant species were recorded. Significant species fall under the categories of Vulnerable, Near threatened, Endangered, Critically Endangered, City Wide significant and Marine.

In addition, three range extensions were also discovered. Range extensions indicate a significant increase to the area that some species are known to occur.

Of the overall results, 130 new species have been added to the Gold Coast Flora and Fauna database. Watergum President Wal Mayr said these additions will contribute significantly to the City’s knowledge of the local environment.

 These are first-time records for these species that have been provided to Council’s corporate biodiversity database, which is a significant achievement by citizen scientists!

Perhaps most excitingly of all, BioBlitzers uncovered four undescribed species; three spiders and one vine. These new discoveries still need to through a rigorous process to be given an official name.

“There are still a number of samples and specimens waiting to be identified so these numbers may continue to grow over the next few months,” said Wal.

“We couldn’t have completed this event without the incredible support of our community including survey leaders, survey assistants, organising team, basecamp team and sponsors and partners.”

The Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Hugh Possingham attended the Bioblitz and said it was wonderful to share the weekend with so many enthusiastic citizen scientists.

“Collecting information about wildlife over time will be useful to scientists and decision makers in the future, to examine trends and changes in where species live. Observing changes in wildlife from citizen science helps us form environmental policy and make management decisions around issues like fire and pests,” said Professor Possingham.

This event was supported by the Queensland Government, City of Gold Coast, City of Gold Coast Division 9, Seqwater, Regen Australia, Bushnuts, MRA Environmental, Envirosphere and Habitat Environmental Management.

Watergum’s Bioblitz will be back in February 2022 in Numinbah Valley and will once again include a weekend of wildlife surveys where attendees will have the rare opportunity to assist field experts and scientists in their comprehensive documentation of the Rainforest’s spectacular flora and fauna. A dedicated kids’ program will also be added in 2022 to make this an even more family friendly event.

Watergum is a leader in community science, supporting member groups and individuals who are involved in the hands-on restoration, maintenance and protection of the Gold Coast’s natural areas.

Visit watergum.org/gold-coast-bioblitz for more.

IMAGES (c) Narelle Power from DWWFAUNA

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