Unprecedented bioblitz results
What better way to Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday than by documenting the presence of more than 400 species during a bioblitz in Manitoba’s globally rare alvar communities in the Interlake? Thirty-five participants couldn’t agree more, as they spent the day documenting as many species as possible — in particular, rare and threatened — found in the region, including some that were identified here for the first time.
Alvars are an endangered ecosystem in Manitoba. This globally rare habitat is characterized by thin to no soil over unbroken limestone and supports a unique group of plant species.
Three at-risk birds — eastern whip-poor-will, common nighthawk and bank swallow — were also spotted. To top that off, participants also documented the presence of hoary bat, along with Gastony’s cliffbrake and western dwarf cliffbrake (ferns that, in Manitoba, are found only on alvars).
The bioblitz also included surveys for insects, land snails and rare orchids. This was the first targeted search for some of these groups of species on Manitoba’s alvars. A search for bat caves revealed a few locations that might serve as hibernation spots for bat species that overwinter in Manitoba.
The bioblitz was undertaken with support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Government of Canada as a Canada 150 Signature project.