Hoft Farm Bioblitz

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July 21, 2022 by Matt Pelikan

BiodiversityWorks and the Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life (MVAL) recently partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to run a bioblitz at TNC’s Hoft Farm Preserve in West Tisbury. Taking place on July 15 and 16, the event brought together about 20 nature enthusiasts for an intensive effort to catalog biodiversity at the Hoft Farm. The community science platform iNaturalist was used to compile observations, and experienced naturalists led teams of observers and helped beginners learn to identify wildlife and use iNaturalist.

BWorks staff coordinated a “moth night” on the evening of July 16, erecting a blacklight-illuminated sheet to attract nocturnal insects, and deployed acoustic bat detectors, camera traps, and live traps for minnows and small mammals. During the day on the 16th, teams spread out over the 90-acre property to find, photograph, and identify as many types of plants and animals as they could.

By the end of the event, 14 participants had uploaded a total of 571 observations into iNaturalist, representing 282 species. 36 species of birds heard or seen during the event were recorded separately in eBird, another community science platform used by birders, giving a total of 317 species for the day! You can review the list of species entered into iNat here.

But most importantly, the event was an opportunity for naturalists of all ages to share their enthusiasm, enjoying and celebrating the biodiversity of the wonderful Nature Conservancy property. Thanks to TNC for hosting the bioblitz, and thanks to all who participated.

In addition to using iNaturalist for events such as bioblitzes, the MVAL uses that platform to gather data on biodiversity island-wide. iNaturalist observations from Martha’s Vineyard – currently more than 17,000 of them – are automatically swept into our Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life iNat project. You can read about the project and explore data here.

Matt Pelikan is the director of the Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life project at BiodiversityWorks.