From 22 May to 30 June, anyone could participate in the first BioBlitz at KU Leuven. The goal was to count as many plant and animal species as possible on the university’s various campuses. After over a month of counting, the results are nothing short of remarkable: 581 volunteers counted about 1,500 species! These data, together with those of 17 other European universities, are compiled by the Association for European Life Science Universities. KU Leuven is thrilled that this initiative was so enthusiastically received and eagerly anticipates the next edition!
A BioBlitz is an inventory of the different plant and animal species found in a specific area within a designated time frame. As part of the ICA Biodiversity Challenge, the partners of the Association for European Life Science Universities aim to assess the biodiversity at various European universities. Biodiversity is crucial in its own right, as well as for the sustainability of our planet and societies, so it comes as no surprise that it’s an important topic in research, education, and raising public awareness. KU Leuven participated with all its campuses spread across Flanders and managed to identify roughly 1,500 different plant and animal species.
"If we want KU Leuven students and staff members, and by extension all citizens, to care for biodiversity, they need to know what biodiversity entails. After all, it’s about much more than just rainforests and coral reefs. We believe projects like this help showcase how beautiful and diverse our university campuses are, even though they are increasingly located in urbanised areas," said Professor Jos Van Orshoven, dean of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.
"We can definitely consider this first edition a great success. The observations from this BioBlitz can provide a solid foundation for comparing future observations or counts. This way, we can report on the evolution of biodiversity on the KU Leuven campuses and shape policy accordingly," said Filip Volckaert, professor of biodiversity conservation. "We are already looking forward to what comes next!"
BioBlitz aan KU Leuven in cijfers:
- 1,488 different plant and animal species
- 9,115 registered observations
- Counted on 7 different KU Leuven campuses
- 581 volunteers
Overview of all observations