The eastern yellow-bellied racer is thought to be a threatened species in Saskatchewan, and it's hope the survey will help to clarify its population status
Photo Credit: courtesy Laura Gardiner

“Bio-Blitz”: The Royal Saskatchewan Museum seeks better data on bio-diversity in the province


It is a formidable and daunting task. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is coordinating what is being called the largest bio-blitz ever conducted in the prairie province.

Ray Poulin, the Chief Curator at Royal Saskatchewan Museum and a specialist in vertebrate zoology, is leading the wildlife survey.

Dr Ray Poulin, Chief curator at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, coordinator of the effort to determine the bio diversity in the province, starting with the south-west corner © Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Saskatchewan, the middle prairie province, is not the biggest province in Canada in area, in fact its in seventh place, but it’s still huge at five times the size of England.  To conduct this survey, the teams of researchers and students will start out initially in the south-west corner of the province.

They will simply collect data and specimens in their areas in an effort to catalogue the species that exist, and estimate their numbers.

Dr Poulin says the project will help to establish a baseline of the biodiversity in the province, something that really hasn’t been done before.  He adds, therefore that ther really hasn’t been an accurate picture of the biodiversity in the province and how that has or may change over time.

“The Prairies are no longer that wild, native prairie space. There is a lot of crops grown and a lot of human activity that has changed the landscape,” says Dr Poulin.   “For some species, that has been great. For other species, not so much. But until we are actually out there looking, we don’t know which direction it goes”

Saskatchewan also has a wide variety of environments from dry desert, to forest, to hills, wetlands, and of course vast plains.

The survey should also help determine which species are endangered and which are not, and which ones might be mis-labelled. In other words, a species might be listed as “endangered” when the survey might show ample populations, or the opposite.

About the size of a soft-drink can, burrowing owl populations are reported to be declining throughout N America. The bio-blitz will help determine their numbers and identify their habitats in the province, as a baseline for future studies © Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre

In what is being called the largest wildlife survey ever done in Saskatchewan, researchers and students are preparing to cast a wide net across the southern part of the province to address the lack of knowledge regarding biodiversity and certain species.

“The Prairies are no longer that wild, native prairie space. There is a lot of crops grown and a lot of human activity that has changed the landscape,” Ray Poulin, chief curator of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, said.

“For some species, that has been great. For other species, not so much. But until we are actually out there looking, we don’t know which direction it goes.”

The scientists and students will spend the summer collected data and specimens whieh will be analyzed over the winter in what is expected to be a year-long exercise.  Although not confirmed, it is possible that the “bio-blitz” will continue to other areas of the province in future years, again with the purpose being to establish better and more complete data on the bio-diversity of the province.

Categories: Environment, Internet, Science and Technology
Tags: ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.