Sunday, May 17, 2009

Right Place, Right Time

The National Park Service and National Geographic Society joined forces this past weekend to hold a 24-hour BioBlitz at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (to see a National Geographic account of the event, click here). I participated by leading survey teams at Miller Woods Pannes, Howe's Prairie, and Inland Marsh. My teams tallied over 200 plant species at these sites during our field trips. However, my most exciting find came at my campsite at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore campground.

In April 2005, Keith found Collinsia sparsiflora, a species native to the extreme western United States and never before seen in Indiana or the Chicago Region, at the horsemen's campground at Potato Creek State Park.
Soon after Keith's observation, the campsites were herbicided by the park, and this plant hasn't been seen at this location since.

On Friday, I spotted what I believe to be Collinsia parviflora, a species native to the western United States, Canada, and scattered counties in the northeastern United States, growing in gravel at my campsite.
Until now (if my identification is confirmed), this species was not known from Indiana or the Chicago Region. The closest known population of maiden blue-eyed Mary to northwest Indiana is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At my campsite, there were several individuals of Collinsia parviflora, so I made a collection in addition to taking photographs.
My campsite was chosen for me by someone from the National Park Service... I guess they picked the "right place" for me to stay.

Now for the "right time" part... I found this plant when botanizing my campsite by lantern with Maryland botanist Joe Metzger, who was sharing the campsite with me, at approximately 9:00 PM CDT, in the dark. Who says that the only good botanizing takes place during the day? I guess I take this 24-hour BioBlitz thing pretty literally!

I am interested in hearing opinions about my identification, especially if you have seen Collinsia parviflora.


Keith said...

Wow - nice find! My plants at Potato Creek turned out to be Collinsia parviflora, as well. They were confirmed by Susan Kalisz at the University of Pittsburg and a Collinsia researcher from Washington State. I'll try to find her name and let you know. Excellent find!

Anonymous said...

Oi. Parabéns por seu excelente blog. Gostaria de lhe convidar para visitar meu blog e conhecer alguma coisa sobre o Brasil. Abração

orchidartist said...

Sounds as if you weren't quite as deterred (or at least discouraged) by the cold and wet weather during the bioblitz as some researchers were! Good work! Was Ken Klick there? I'm sorry I had to work Friday and monitor cypcans Saturday or I would have been out there too, helping out!

Scott said...

Hi orchidartist. Yes, the weather was terrible on Friday, but I had tough teams in the field. Most people who did go out actually quit early. We botanized for our full amount of time, soaking wet. Luckily, my tent was dry Friday night!

I honestly don't know if Ken Klick was there or not. I didn't see him, but with that many people, there were many that I know were there that I didn't see. It was a very fun event, as have been all of the BioBlitzes (the others much smaller) that I've attended. For anyone reading this that has not participated in a BioBlitz of some kind, I recommend that you join one soon.

Nick said...

That is a great find! Now go find that Thismia. Swink and Wilhelm has it flowering 25 JUL-8 SEP

Scott said...

Thanks Nick. Thismia americana is certainly on my radar!