Little things count on Fraser

Expert naturalists and scientists from Darwin to Melbourne are preparing to converge on Fraser Island (Kgari) at the end of November to help identify any living thing that slivers, swims, hops, runs, flies or blows in the breeze.

One of the organisers, John Sinclair, said that it is vital to learn more about Fraser’s eco system so that it can be better protected and managed, which is why FIDO (Fraser Island Defenders Organisation), QPWS, and the University of the Sunshine Coast are collaborating to organise one of Australia’s biggest BioBlitzs.

“It is difficult to know how to protect plant and animal species that you don’t know even occur there and knowing them is critical to the island’s World Heritage status, “ Mr Sinclair said.

UNESCO recognizes the Fraser Island as “an outstanding example of significant ongoing biological processes.”

Mr Sinclair said that the response from scientists to scrutinize the 50 square kilometre study area between the beach and Lake Birrabeen so far has exceeded expectations.

He added that the experts who have so far nominated to take part in the BioBlitz are volunteers and are being drawn from naturalists clubs, various societies in biological specialities, museums, and universities.

“One of the scientists who helped identify almost 300 species of ants and 57 species of Collembola (springtails) in a CSIRO study of Cooloola soils in the late 1970s will lead a team seeking to identify similar small critters that turn over K’Gari’s soils, while other experts are identifying fungi, mammals, reptiles, birds and spiders amongst other things,” Mr Sinclair said.

Base camp for the BioBlitz will be at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Dilli Village Fraser Island Research and Learning Centre. The study area extends from the ocean beach to Lake Birrabeen, covering all six dune systems and encompassing most ecosystem types.

The BioBlitz will run from November 28 to December 4. While participants will need to meet their own costs, this is a unique opportunity to work with experts from an array of disciplines in a very attractive field setting.

Find out more: www.fido.org.au or call John on 0418 650 535.