Monadenia fidelis // Pacific Sideband Snail // Camas Hill

The Metchosin Biodiversity Project rebooted the annual Metchosin BioBlitz in 2016, turning it into two different kinds of events. One kind of event was a public celebration, Metchosin Biodiversity Day, with walks and talks and displays. The second kind of event--actually a series of events--was a targeted inventory of special species groups and special places.

The 2017 Metchosin Bioblitz calendar has started. Metchosin Biodiversity Day has had to be put on hold for this year because of awkward vacation schedules. The public is encouraged to stop by the CRD Marine Day at Witty's Lagoon CRD Park in the second week of July--details in the CRD Parks brochure when it is available. At this event, you can participate in CRD's beach seine and watch divers bring up offshore marine organisms seldom seen by the beachwalking public. In the fall, the public is invited to our annual Metchosin MycoBlitz (November 3/4).

Several targeted Blitz events are happening in 2017. The Metchosin Biodiversity Project cooperated with SVIMS (the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society) to survey mushrooms at Pearson College. By piggybacking on a Metchosin talk and walk event that tapped into local lichen expertise, we expanded our lichen count. See the reports on these events below.

A lot of Metchosin species have been located during the six years of the Metchosin BioBlitzes and MycoBlitzes. Our species count edged over the 2300 mark in 2016. Here is the summary of our counts at the beginning of 2017, broken down by organism groups.  You can also view the entire set of observations--more than 10,000--by species group and by scientific name.  In the Results tab at the left are descriptions of each of our BioBlitz events, with lots of pictures and good memories of days in the field.

Lichen Talk and Walk in March, 2017

The black spots on this Tower Point lungwort lichen look, at first glance, as though they might be reproductive structures of the lichen. In fact, the spots are a fungus (Plectocarpon lichenum) living on the lichen.  Photo by Kem Luther.(Click for larger version.)

With a Ryan Batten lichen talk and walk event coming up on March 11, Ryan, Hans Roemer, and Kem Luther, along with Jenifer Penny and Marta Donovan from the Conservation Data Centre, visited Tower Point at Witty's Lagoon CRD Park to check out what lichens the talk and walk group might find.  

Alas, the weather at Tower Point proved highly uncooperative. The group of researchers, confronted by a stinging salt spray and crashing waves, struggled to stay warm and dry enough to enjoy the lichens.  They did find a number of interesting lichens, however, and one fungus that is a symbiont on lichens (pictured above) The fungus was a new addition to the Metchosin BioBlitz database.

Nephroma Tephromela
 Two lichens from Devonian. The one at the top is Nephroma laevigatum, Mustard Kidney Lichen. It is easy to identify because it is the only Nephroma whose medulla (inner layer) is a bright yellow. The other is the common but stunning crustose rock lichen, Tephromela atra (black-eye lichen). Photos by Kem Luther (Click for larger versions.)

Devonian 2017 lichen foray group
Ryan Batten (light blue coat) shows some tree-based lichens to the members of the Devonian walk and talk group. Photo by Moralea Milne. (Click for a larger version.)

The experience at the Tower Point site convinced the group to take the talk and walk participants to Devonian Park on Saturday, March 11. A group of about 15 people accompanied Ryan on this walk.

The two lichen forays to Tower Point and to Devonian added four new lichens to the BioBlitz inventory, bringing the total to 294. The new ones were Melanelia olivacea (Spotted Camouflage Lichen), Punctelia jeckeri (Speckled Shield Lichen), Leptogium gelatinosum (Petaled Vinyl), and Menegazzia terebrata (Tree Flute Lichen). One moss and one fungus were also added.

 While scanning the Devonian Park rocks for interesting lichens, Ryan came across a moss that isn't seen much around Metchosin. This is Ulota phyllantha, an urn moss that is characterized by numerous gemmae (small cell clusters that can grow into new mosses) clinging to the tops of the moss stems. Photo by Kem Luther. (Click for larger versions.)

SVIMS Mushroom Foray at Pearson, March 4, 2017

Pearson 2017 foray group
The SVIMS group gathers at Pearson at 10:00 am, March 4, 2017, to organize the upcoming foray. Photo by James Hollko (Click for larger version.)

On March 4, 2017, around 35 SVIMS members joined Puget Sound Mycological Society's Danny Miller and Vancouver Mycological Society member Brooke Fochuk for a foray in the Pearson College woods.

Also present at this 2017 foray were four nonhuman mushroom hunters--truffle dogs. The dogs have been specially trained to seek out underground mushrooms and point out the locations to their human controllers--a job usually done in previous centuries by truffle pigs. Many of the underground mushrooms in Metchosin are inedible, but a few are choice, including the Oregon White Truffle and Oregon Black Truffle. For further information on BC Truffles, see this article by SVIMS member Shannon Berch. At the Pearson event, the dogs failed to find any truffles (except the ones explicitly planted to show the dogs' ability), but everyone enjoyed watching the truffle dogs do their work.

Brooke and Dexter Larissa and Luna
 Brooke Fochuk with her truffle dog Dexter (top) talks to Juliet Pendray. Larissa and her truffle dog Della (bottom). Photos by Adolf Ceska (Click for larger versions.)

Pearson 2017 SVIMS foray leaders
Some leaders of the SVIMS foray. Left to right, Adolf Ceska, Bryce Kendrick, Oluna Ceska, Danny Miller. Danny Miller is the Education Chair of the Puget Sound Mycological Society. Photo by James Hollko (Click for larger version.)

Several foray leaders, including Metchosin's own Andy MacKinnon, helped the attendees identify the mushrooms. Adolf and Oluna Ceska and Bryce Kendrick later compiled a list of 45 different mushroom species found during the day.

The 45 species were entered into the Metchosin BioBlitz database. A dozen of the sightings were completely new to the database. They were Arrhenia epichysium, Cladobotryum mycophilum, Coniophora puteana, Galerina dimorphocystis, Gloeophyllum sepiarium, Helvella maculata, Hypocrea sp., Leptodontidium elatius/trabinellum, Mycena parabolica, Penicillium sp., Propolis leonis, and Sarea resinae.

Fomitopsis cajanderi Fomitopsis cajanderi bottom
 A beauty discovered at the 2017 SVIMS Pearson College foray--Fomitopsis cajanderi, the Rosy Conk. Top and bottom shown. Photos by James Hollko. (Click for larger versions.)

Artwork by Gala Milne

              Artwork by Gala Milne