Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Conducts First Ever Biodiversity Assessment by Citizen Science in South Georgia

29 December 2017

BioBlitz in the Sub-Antarctic to Continue on Expedition in March 2018

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, the global leader of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, has completed the first stage in their pilot Citizen Science BioBlitz in the Sub-Antarctic, marking the first ever biodiversity assessment done by citizen science in South Georgia. With a resounding 80% guest participation, the goal was a digital record of every living organism that they encountered.

© Ralph Lee Hopkins

Lindblad’s first BioBlitz series was launched aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer on two November voyages in one of the planet’s most wildlife-rich locations. In the Southern Ocean, data is scarce and exceedingly expensive to collect by classic scientific survey expeditions. Enter citizen science, where Lindblad’s guests – equipped with a camera or iPhone on hikes, Zodiac cruises and along beaches - made a real and meaningful contribution to science, with 7,500+ photos contributed documenting the Sub-Antarctic ecosystems and marine systems of these remote places.

The program is being spearheaded by Lindblad naturalist Dr. Jimmy White, who has coordinated education and research teams for national universities, international non-government organizations, and documentary companies, and whose expertise lies in the coordination and implementation of field education and remote area research.

“By providing our guests the opportunity to participate in a BioBlitz, our goal is to inspire and engage travelers with more accessible, meaningful and personal wildlife experiences, through wildlife photo-ID, to ultimately improve the science and understanding of the Antarctic ecosystems and marine ecosystems of these remote places,” said Dr. White.

Retired NASA Astronaut Kathleen Sullivan, onboard as a Global Perspectives guest speaker, noted the parallels that she saw with the experiments she conducted while on the space shuttle, and the citizen science programs featured on the Lindblad fleet. “The Lindblad-National Geographic vessels bring a greater number of people to a greater number of places than professional scientific parties can touch in a year. That’s such a fantastic resource.”

© Michael S. Nolan

Guests will have another opportunity to participate in the Citizen Science BioBlitz on the upcoming 19-day South Georgia and the Falklands expedition departing March 6, 2018. Highlights include walking amid one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles including tens of thousands of stately king penguins on a single beach; observing magnificent albatross in the Falklands and seeing Magellanic penguins peeking from their burrows; hiking in the footsteps of “the Boss,” Sir Ernest Shackleton, and hearing his tale of survival; paddling a kayak amid curious fur seals; exploring in a Zodiac among the bergs; and taking photography skills to the next level side-by-side a National Geographic photographer.

Joining the March 6th voyage as Global Perspective guest speakers are adventurers Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay, sons of the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Hillary is the first second-generation to climb Mt Everest, he has climbed the Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the seven continents) and he has been on over 40 mountaineering expeditions around the world. Jamling did not idle in the shadow of paternal legacies. He is a member of a living dynasty of climbers, with 11 of his relatives summiting Mount Everest. Jamling's spiritual journey has led him to an attachment to the Himalayan region and its majestic jagged 8000-meter peaks.

This voyage also makes the crossing one-way from South America to the Falklands by air rather than sea, allowing guests one more full day among the incredible penguin colonies of South Georgia.

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