In June 2020, The Whistler Naturalists held their annual BioBlitz session featuring two talks by BC scientists over Zoom. The goal of a BioBlitz is to introduce people to real (and fun) science and the amazing biodiversity around us. Split into two parts, the BioBlitz features a talk by local scientists, sharing facts and knowledge about the wonders of biodiversity, and a field portion of the BioBlitz, which is tentatively scheduled this year for July. During the field portion, scientists and volunteers spend 24 hours counting as many species as possible – mammals, birds, plants, frogs, fish, bugs, and so many more – in order to give us ongoing data about the local ecosystem and its inhabitants.
The Whistler Naturalists have been around since 1999 and have hosted 13 previous BioBlitz events, making them one of the longest running BioBlitz events. Their aim is to increase local knowledge of and appreciation for the natural world in the Whistler area. Because of COVID-19 this year, the Whistler Naturalists have had to adapt their regular programming and move online, meaning this presentations are now available to us all from the comforts of our own homes.
This year, Kristina Swerhun kicks off the event with an overview of the Whistler Naturalists followed by an introduction of the two scientists – Bryce Kendrick and Jordan Rosenfeld. Bryce, goes first, giving us a lecture about fungi, their diversity, and his role in helping us to learn all that we have. “My life, 86 years and counting, is a comma, possibly an exclamation mark, in the history of life on earth.” Going way (way) back, Bryce explains the history of the science of mycology and how far its come during his lifetime, introducing us to a multitude of fungi and teaching us about their incredible functions.
Jorden Rosenfeld then comes on to speak about “The Fire of Life” or “oxidative respiration or metabolism”, otherwise known as energy use or conversion in animals. His talk features basic science as well as fascinating insights into the use of energy in animals and ecosystems.
If you’re hooked, head on over to The Whistler Naturalists page to find out more about all the cool things they do for Whistler and about their future events and projects.
More About The Scientists
Bryce Kendrick has studied fungi for 67 years, published over 300 mycological papers and several books, and described more than 250 new taxa. He specializes in the study of moulds and other microscopic fungi. He taught at the University of Waterloo for 30 years before retiring to Vancouver Island in 1994. He now works diligently at extirpating invasive alien plants like broom, gorse, Daphne and toadflax from ecologically sensitive areas in the Saanich Peninsula, assists his wife in her garden, reads widely, listen to a lot of music and does a lot of E-mailing.
Jordan Rosenfeld is an aquatic ecologist who lives in Vancouver. His childhood was spent in Ontario collecting bugs and falling into streams. He eventually blundered out to the west coast, where he studies the effect of habitat on ecological processes in streams and energetic constraints on fish distribution and abundance. His specific research is focused on modelling fish habitat, habitat requirements of fish species at risk, optimal stream flows, bioenergetic modelling of juvenile salmonid growth, and understanding how habitat structure affects energy flow in streams. In his spare time Jordan likes to sit on a couch watching TV.
AWARE has been proud to partner with The Whistler Naturalists as a charitable partner and we can’t wait for more BioBlitzes down the road!