Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Expert bioblitzes facilitate non-native fish tracking and interagency partnerships

January 31, 2020

Documenting the distribution and composition of non-native species populations can be challenging, especially when species cross jurisdictional boundaries that require interagency coordination. Herein I report the development of three tools that have been used in Florida over the past seven years to assist with tracking of non-native fishes: 1) an overarching organization to increase coordination and communication amongst stakeholders (Florida Non-Native Fish Action Alliance); 2) regularly-scheduled expert bioblitzes (Fish Slams); and 3) symposia (Fish Chats). Ten Fish Slams were held since 2012, which have included nearly 100 individuals from 20 organizations. Participants have sampled nearly 200 unique sites, capturing 36 non-native fish taxa. These activities have generated over 600 records for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. Many specimens collected during Fish Slams are deposited into natural history museums or used by researchers. Informal interactions amongst colleagues working together in the field, at check-in meetings at the end of the day, and during more structured Fish Chat symposia allow members of various organizations to become acquainted, build trust, and share information and technology, which may then lead to professional collaborations. While this program is focused on non-native fish species in south Florida, I also discuss how the expert bioblitz may be adapted to suit other taxonomic groups and a variety of conservation needs.