North Cascades bioblitz a success

During 14 days of plant and animal inventories this summer, North Cascades National Park employees and volunteers documented more than 135 animal, insect and plant species.

Staffers and volunteers were looking at plants, animals and insects in subalpine and alpine areas to establish baseline data for future evaluations as the park continues its study of the effects of warming climates on cold-adapted biota.

Here is a recap of the bioblitz:

The day after the July 12 kickoff seminars, citizen scientists joined experts and did inventories of invertebrates, lichens and watermelon snow, Chlamydomonas nivali, near Cascade Pass.

In August, Judy Harpel of the University of British Columbia led a moss workshop and a moss crawl. Citizen volunteers had the chance to see bug-on-a- stick moss, Buxbaumia viridis, which Harpel said many bryologists are never lucky enough to see. Although identifications are ongoing, at least 58 moss species were observed including a range extension of 40 miles for one species of moss.

Jessica Rykken of Harvard University and her team of citizen scientists visited 28 sites in two weeks and collected 700 specimens. While the majority of specimens have yet to be identified, one early interesting find was a bumblebee, Bombus flavidus, a record for North Cascades.

Bats, moths, and butterflies rounded out the bioblitz and yielded observations of three bat species, 48 moths and 18 butterflies, according to a park news release.

Overall, 17 volunteers joined the iNaturalist project and provided 311 observations of 136 species.

So far 220 species have been documented, but identification of bees, moths, mosses and lichens continues (136 on iNaturalist, 48 moths, 12 snow beetles, three bats, four bees, 18 butterflies). As for new species for the park lists, participants documented 80 taxa — 48 moths, nine snow beetles, four bees, one moss species, 18 butterflies, according to the release.

As of yet, no species new to science have been found, but two range extensions — one moth and one moss — and a first documentation of honeybees (exotic) in a subalpine area have been recorded, the report said.