Ready for a Saturday Night of Bioblitz at the UC Davis Arboretum?

Like to participate in an evening City Nature Challenge Bioblitz on the UC Davis campus and search for insects? And document other fauna and flora, as well?

Doctoral student Grace Horne of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology is coordinating a City Nature Challenge Bioblitz on Saturday, April 27 from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. The family-friendly event, funded by the UC Davis Center for Citizen and Community Science, is open to all interested persons. "All ages are welcome," Horne said.

The nature challengers will meet at the Wyatt Deck, located at the west end of the Redwood Grove, across Arboretum Drive from the Wyatt Pavilion Theater.  Registration is underway on this Eventbrite link:

"It's perfect for nature enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels,” Horne said, adding that it promises to be “an exciting opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of bugs.”

Dubbed the #iluvbugs City Nature Challenge Arboretum BioBlitz and billed as "illuminating biodiversity search," the event will be an extension of Horne's first-ever "glowing bugs" exhibit (showcasing plant-insect interactions under ultraviolet light) at Briggs Hall during the 110th annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 20.  

Bioblitz participants "will take photos of plants and animals--especially bugs!--and upload these observations to the community science platform, iNaturalist,” she said. “All you need to bring is a smartphone or a photo-taking device. We will have a table with small lenses, bug boxes, field guides, insect specimens, and more to help you make observations of wildlife. Local experts will also be available to assist in identifying the wildlife.”

The bioblitz is affiliated with the City Nature Challenge Sacramento. CNC is an annual worldwide competition among some 500 cities with the goal of documenting the most biodiversity within a four-day period. "Participants use the iNaturalist app and platform to photograph, catalog, identify, and organize observations of wildlife in their area," according to the CNC website. "From April 26-29, any iNaturalist photo uploaded within the Sacramento Region will count towards our goal of 10,000 observations."

"We are looking to make as many quality observations as we can during the UC Davis Bioblitz," said Horne, who is marking her second consecutive year hosting a bioblitz in the Arboretum.   

Participants are asked to bring a flashlight, comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent, a camera/cell phone, binoculars (if desired), a water bottle, and weather-appropriate clothing. 

Meineke Lab. Horne, who joined the UC Davis entomology graduate program in 2021 and studies with urban landscape entomologist and assistant professor Emily Meineke, is a 2021 graduate of Colby College, Waterville, ME, where she received her bachelor's degree in biology and environmental science, magna cum laude. Her thesis: "Reduced Performance of Ash-Specialist Caterpillars on Non-Native, Cultivated Oleaceous Plants.”

At UC Davis, Horne studies "plant-insect interactions using long-term data—primarily expert-collected observations and natural history collections. "Currently, I am investigating how moth populations in Davis and Stebbins Cold Canyon have changed over the past 30 or so years using data collected by John de Benedictis of the Bohart Museum of Entomology." 

She is an alumna of The Caterpillar Lab in Marlborough, NH.  "At The Caterpillar Lab, we brought together caterpillars and their host plants to teach about species interactions, conservation, and ecology," Horne said. "Our work brought us to museums, libraries, 4th grade classrooms, farmers' markets, etc." 

Horne co-chairs the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's Picnic Day Committee with forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey. This year all of the department's exhibits and activities, including those hosted by the Bohart Museum of Entomology, will be at Briggs Hall.  

Her Picnic Day exhibit, “I IUV Bugs," is her brainchild. The project is primarily designed by the Meineke lab, "especially (doctoral student) Marielle Hansel Friedman," Horne said.  "We will have plants from the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery and local/pet-trade arthropods which glow under ultraviolet light. With this exhibit, we seek to highlight the interplay between light, color, and species interactions."