BioBlitz in Stratford, Connecticut, May 2007

For 24 hours on May 18-19, 2007, the Yale Peabody Museum joined forces with the Beardsley Zoo for a “BioBlitz” of Stratford, Connecticut.

Download the lists of species observed in the Yale Peabody Museum–Beardsley Zoo 2007 Stratford BioBlitz:

Invertebrates [288KB]
Vertebrates [352KB]
Fungi [119KB]

Click here for the free Adobe Reader® needed to open these PDF files.

Around 50 people, including volunteers, Peabody staff, Yale postdoctoral fellows and Peabody affiliates from at least 6 countries, participated in one or more of the various teams —  taxonomic working groups or TWGs — that specialized in specific categories: Mycology, Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Botany, Ornithology, Mammalogy, and Invertebrate Zoology. Although it was raining and the nighttime temperatures were in the 40s (F), the team members were eager and committed to the cause of tabulating as many species within the town as possible within 24 hours. 


Survey techniques varied by specialty, and included motion-sensitive cameras, trackway traps, funnel net traps, cover object surveys, light traps, seining, bird call-back surveys, and good old fashioned observation, either with the naked eye or binoculars. 

Additional work was done at a lab set up at the Beardsley Zoo’s Hanson Outdoor Education Center, where, among other techniques, microscopes were used to identify species by counting spider tarsal tufts and tadpole tooth rows.

In the end, teams tabulated 729 plant, animal and fungus species within the town of Stratford in those 24 hours. Highlights include a state record isopod, 2 Stratford town record amphibians, and several state listed species. Data on the state-listed species have been submitted to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s database, where they may be useful in mapping the distribution of protected species. 

Representatives of some of the surveyed species are now available to researchers around the world as vouchers in the Yale Peabody Museum’s collections. Additionally, tissue samples collected for many species are now stored in the Museum’s tissue collection housed within the Peabody–Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies cryofacility. 

Many of the TWGs reported interesting observations. The Ornithology group observed many species of rallid that were not expected, including a vagrant Purple Gallinule that was several hundred miles from its normal distribution area. 

The Mammalogy TWG “photo-captured” a White-tailed Deer (at right) attracted to a can of tuna, which it apparently ate. This same team also is responsible for the most unusual amphibian record of the event, a Spotted Salamander. 

Though this amphibian species is common and expected within Stratford, no other team saw it. This alone is not unusual. What makes the Spotted Salamander “observation” interesting is that it was a trackway left on white paper. (Trackway traps are made from a PVC pipe with paper inside and ink on each end. Animals walking through the pipe leave footprints on the paper.) This may be the first time a salamander track has been used in such a survey.

Plans are already underway for a BioBlitz in 2008, with the goal of collecting data from the same locations to gain a more complete understanding of the area.

For information on the next Yale Peabody Museum BioBlitz contact:

Gregory Watkins-Colwell
Division of Vertebrate Zoology

Related BioBlitz Links

Beardsley Zoo

Center for Conservation and Biodiversity
& Connecticut State Museum of Natural History
University of Connecticut

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
with links to other BioBlitz sites

Town of Stratford