NUI Galway has won the top award for most biodiverse campus at Ireland’s first Intervarsity BioBlitz competition, beating off stiff competition from UCC, TCD, DCU and Dundalk IT. Over a 24 hour period, 43 volunteers combed the University’s campus and recorded a total of 581 species.
With extensive semi-natural habitats on NUI Galway grounds, the BioBlitz teams recorded 333 plants and tree species, 55 bird species, 75 insect species- including 21 butterflies and moths, 33 diatoms, 30 terrestrial and freshwater slugs and snails, 19 different mosses, 18 other invertebrates, 8 mammals, 5 lichens, 3 fish, a frog and 1 alga.
Along with NUI Galway staff and students, many volunteers were graduates of NUI Galway and specifically School of Natural Sciences. They are now themselves staff in GMIT, NUI Maynooth, UCD, National Parks and Wildlife Services, all as professional field ecologists
Ireland’s BioBlitz is designed to increase public awareness of the variety of life in Ireland and to highlight some of the ecological services that biodiversity provides to enhance our quality of life at the global and the local level. The Bioblitz demonstrates the high level of skill and expertise necessary to study many aspects of Ireland’s biological diversity. It also demonstrates the importance of being able to survey and identify plants and animalsas these are important aspects of Ireland’s biodiversity and skills that are taught at NUI Galway.
Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects: “The University is very pleased to have participated in the BioBlitz, and delighted to have emerged as the campus with the highest level of biodiversity. We have worked hard to ensure that as new buildings are constructed in response to growing student numbers and research activity, the built environment leaves ample room for this wide range of plant and animal life.”
This initiative was supported by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, the Buildings Office and the Green Campus team.
NUI Galway’s statistics from the BioBlitz competition can be viewed at http://records.biodiversityireland.ie/bioblitz.php?fk=IntervarsityBioBlitz2014_NUIGalwaySite&sn=NUI%20Galway&bkey=IntervarsityBioBlitz2014.