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#bioPGH Blog: BioBlitz 2021 Results!
Jun 10

#bioPGH Blog: BioBlitz 2021 Results!

By Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas, Research and Science Education Outreach Manager

Biophilia NetworkA resource of Biophilia: Pittsburgh, #bioPGH is a weekly blog and social media series that aims to encourage both children and adults to reconnect with nature and enjoy what each of our distinctive seasons has to offer. 

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The sky was a perfect clear blue, the plants seemed extra green, and nature enthusiasts of all ages were out in full force at this year’s BioBlitz on the front lawn of Phipps this past weekend!

What is a bioblitz?, one might ask. In the most traditional scientific sense, a bioblitz is an event that unites scientists and community members to identify as many living things in a given area over a set time frame. It truly is a mad dash, or a “blitz,” to quickly identify everything possible. Scientists can then use the data to better understand the health of the local ecosystem and keep a record of the living things in the study area.

Our BioBlitz and Family Fun Festival combines the science of a bioblitz with the joy of celebrating wild wonders. All day Sunday, the front of lawn of Phipps was bustling with an assortment of local scientists and naturalists, all sharing their work and chatting about the biodiversity of wild Pennsylvania. If you weren’t able to join us for the big day, check out what the excitement was all about!

A variety of local researchers and naturalists were present from universities and non-profits across the city. Each of them brought activities and demonstrations to help demonstrate their work, many led themed nature walks into Schenley Park throughout the day to explore birds, snails, spiders, fish, plants, fungi, and everything in between! And to really hone in on those powers of observation, there two botanical illustration classes offered as well! Here is just a peek of the lawn:

Dr. Michelle Valkanas shares about soil microbes.


Dr. Brady Porter and his students talk about native Pennsylvania fishes.


Dr. Tim Pearce of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History demos the teeniest of snails that can be found in leaf litter.


The Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club brought an exciting table to learn about fungi.


Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman's lab brought a pollen match-up game and an assortment plants with different adaptations.


Commonwealth Charter Academy brought their Mobile Aquaponics Lab.


Data Collection
The key of a bioblitz is the data collection! With the notable exception of last year, BioBlitz has recorded the biodiversity of Schenley Park since 2016, and this year, 142 species were recorded in total.

Note, there is some variation between years due to the differing specializations of scientists present at different events.

In a full traditional bioblitz, scientists can use the data to quickly get a snapshot of the biodiversity of a given area, and they answer variety of questions about that area - especially with data collected over several events. As you’re reading this at home, how might these species counts change if we held this event at different times of the year? What groups might stay the same? Which ones would be different? Which groups might more or fewer species at a different time of year? 

BioBlitz is held on an early Sunday in June every year – if you missed us this year, keep an eye out for 2022!

This day would not have been possible without a community or scientists and naturalists dedicated to outreach. Thank you to Drs. Brady Porter and Kyle Selcer and their students from Duquesne University, Drs. Tia-Lynn Ashman and Sara Kuebbing and their students from the University of Pittsburgh, the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club, the Mobile Aquaponics Lab of Commonwealth Cyber Academy, Dr. Tim Pearce of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Dr. Michelle Valkanas of California University of Pennsylvania, spider expert Dr. Sebastian Echeverri, Stephen Bucklin of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, naturalists and Phipps volunteers Bernie and Verna McGinley, the Citizen Science Lab, the Allegheny Land Trust, Phipps botanical illustration instructor Robin Menard, and the City of Pittsburgh.

Species List 


Acadian Flycatcher

American Goldfinch

American Robin

Baltimore Oriole

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Blue Jay

Brown-headed Cowbird

Carolina Chickadee

Cedar Waxwing

Chimney Swift

Chipping Sparrow

Downy Woodpecker

European Starling

Gray Catbird

House Finch

House Sparrow

House Wren

Mourning Dove

Northern Cardinal

Northern Flicker

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Orchard Oriole

Peregrine Falcon

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-winged Blackbird

Scarlet Tanager

Song Sparrow

White-breasted Nuthatch

Wood Thrush

Yellow Warbler





Pumpkinseed X Bluegill hybrid



Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Chipmunk




American bullfrog



Hippodamia parenthesis, Parenthesis Lady Beetle


Formicidae, Ant

Isopoda, Isopod

Lumbricina, earthworm

Diplopoda, Millipede

Chilopoda, Centipede

Leucauge venusta, Orchard Orbweaver

Vallonia excentrica, Land snail


Plants, Scientific and common/regional name

Eryngium, Eryngos

Cornus, dogwoods

Staphylea trifolia, American bladdernut

Fagus sylvatica, European beech

Aralia elata, Japanese angelica tree

Platanus, planes

Carpinus caroliniana, American hornbeam

Quercus bicolor, swamp white oak

Amaranthus, amaranths

Setaria, foxtails and bristlegrasses

Fagus sylvatica, European beech

Leonurus cardiaca, common motherwort

Pontederia cordata, pickerelweed

Nymphaea, water-lilies

Cercidiphyllum japonicum, katsura tree

Phytolacca americana, American pokeweed

Aesculus hippocastanum, horse-chestnut

Trifolium repens, white clover

Morus alba, white mulberry

Vitis, grapevines

Celtis occidentalis, common hackberry

Allium vineale, wild garlic

Lindera benzoin, northern spicebush

Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Virginia creeper

Platanus x hispanica, London Plane

Paulownia tomentosa, princess tree

Quercus rubra, northern red oak

Persicaria, knotweeds, smartweeds, and waterpeppers

Alliaria petiolata, garlic mustard

Acer saccharum, sugar maple


Geum, avens

Ginkgo biloba, ginkgo

Toxicodendron radicans, poison ivy

Arctium lappa, greater burdock

Cornus drummondii, roughleaf dogwood

Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle

Asclepias syriaca, common milkweed

Woodsia obtusa, blunt woodsia

Pilosella caespitosa, meadow hawkweed

Potentilla recta, sulphur cinquefoil

Ambrosia artemisiifolia, common ragweed


Sedum acre, Biting Stonecrop

Asplenium platyneuron, ebony spleenwort

Philadelphus coronarius, Sweet Mock Orange

Acer platanoides, Norway maple

Woodsia obtusa, blunt woodsia

Ageratina altissima, white snakeroot

Aegopodium podagraria, Goutweed

Polystichum acrostichoides, Christmas fern

Carex, true sedges

Staphylea trifolia, American bladdernut

Erigeron philadelphicus, Philadelphia fleabane

Oxalis stricta, upright yellow woodsorrel

Rhamnus cathartica, common buckthorn

Chelidonium majus, Greater celandine

Toxicodendron radicans, poison ivy

Leonurus cardiaca, common motherwort

Artemisia vulgaris, common mugwort

Magnolia acuminata, Cucumber-tree

Zizia aurea, Golden Alexander

Plantago major, greater plantain

Ulmus americana, American elm

Sanicula odorata, clustered black snakeroot

Cercis canadensis, eastern redbud

Vinca minor, lesser periwinkle

Podophyllum peltatum, mayapple

Artemisia vulgaris, common mugwort

Lonicera, Honeysuckles

Sanicula odorata, Clustered black snakeroot

Ailanthus altissima, Tree-of-heaven


Fungi and Lichens, Scientific and regional/common name

Agrocybe praecox (Spring Agrocybe)

 Allodus podophylli (Mayapple Rust)

 Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (Coral Slime)

 Crepidotus applanatus (Flat Crep)

 Daldinia childiae (Carbon Balls)

 Hemitrichia clavata

 Hydnoporia olivacea (Brown-toothed Crust Fungus)

 Inocybe rimosa (Straw-colored Fiber-head)

 Kretzschmaria deusta (Carbon Cushion, Brittle Cinder)

 Lycogala epidendrum (Wolf’s Milk Slime)

 Panaeolus foenisecii (The Lawn Mowers Mushroom)

 Perenniporia robiniophila (Locust polypore)

 Xerocomellus chrysenteron (Red-Cracked Bolete)