BioBlitz will count Torrey Pines’ biodiversity

Volunteers will document the biodiversity at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve on Saturday during the annual BioBlitz, sponsored by the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Every year the BioBlitz visits one of the county’s most beautiful spots. The public is invited to participate in a portion of the BioBlitz for free, when activity booths are staffed by Torrey Pines docents from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a $10 fee for a day-use parking pass.

Participants will interact with working scientists, volunteers and educators to explore Torrey Pines and learn about the museum’s collections and research.

The heart of BioBlitz is a “rapid biodiversity assessment” in which participants find answers to two simple questions: how many species are here and what are their names? Hundreds of regional scientists and San Diego families have participated in BioBlitz in the two years it has been held, first at Balboa Park and then at Mission Trails Regional Park.

More than two dozen science experts took part in a daylong survey of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve last May in which they documented 729 species of plants, birds, fish, invertebrates, insects, reptiles, and mammals.

The most significant findings were the discovery of four species of bats and a species of “everlasting” (a flowering plant) not confirmed in the reserve before.

“San Diego is the most biodiverse county in the nation, yet we have so much more to learn about the nature in our backyard. BioBlitz is a great opportunity to highlight that diversity by seeing how many species we find in just 24 hours,” says Dr. Michael Wall, the Museum’s BRCC director and curator of entomology. “Every day, the scientists and volunteers in BRCC are working to explore and understand our regional biodiversity. The Museum’s BioBlitz at Torrey Pines will be our chance to share some of what we do every day with the public.”

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Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve has historic ties to the San Diego Natural History Museum. Museum volunteers and staff helped to establish Torrey Pines at the turn of the century. The Museum’s Guy Fleming was one of the first botanists to study the Torrey Pine and report that the area was being damaged by picnickers and campers.
Museum volunteers patrolled the bluffs in the early 1900s to keep people from cutting the pines down for firewood. In 1921, famed local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps and the City Park Commission appointed Mr. Fleming as the first custodian of the park.

— San Diego Natural History Museum (Lynne Friedmann contributed to this report)