News Releases

First Inter-island Bioblitz Brings Campuses and Communities Together to Document Biodiversity

For Release Upon Receipt - November 28, 2022

St. Augustine

Dr Amy Deacon, Lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at the Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI St. Augustine Campus

 The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago. Monday, 28th November 2022 — This weekend, December 3-4, nature lovers in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Jamaica will come together virtually for 24 hours to document this region’s biodiversity and raise awareness of its importance. 

 The University of the West Indies (The UWI), St. Augustine Campus’ Faculty of Science and Technology, has partnered with the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club (TTFNC) to run highly successful annual Bioblitz events in Trinidad and Tobago since 2012. Due to the pandemic, the last two have been virtual events focused on documenting the species in backyards and gardens. More than 1,300 different species were documented during the 2020 virtual event alone. 

 Bioblitzes take place worldwide as a way to engage people with their local biodiversity while also contributing valuable data on the distributions of species. They usually involve experts, students, and the public intensively surveying a particular area for biodiversity over the 24hr period.  

 For the first time ever and to mark its 11th year, the Trinidad & Tobago Bioblitz is expanding its reach to Barbados and Jamaica, by partnering with colleagues at sister campuses Cave Hill and Mona, as well as with a number of environmental NGOs on each island, to stage the first ever ‘Inter-Island Bioblitz’.  

 Dr Amy Deacon, Lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at the Faculty of Science and Technology, has been involved in organizing the Bioblitz since 2012. She says “All 10 previous Bioblitzes have added enormously to our understanding of the distribution of species in T&T by engaging students, communities and the general public in scientific surveys. At the same time, they have been effective in raising awareness of local biodiversity. It was the obvious next step to expand such a successful event within the region” 

 Nature-lovers in all three countries are invited to participate virtually from their own backyards from noon to noon December 3rd to December 4th, 2022. UWI graduate and Bioblitz co-organiser Stephanie Warren-Gittens explains how to join in: “All you have to do is take photos of any organisms you come across during the 24 hours. These can include birds flying above, lizards scurrying along your fences, butterflies fluttering through your garden flowers or a strange insect climbing on your wall - we want to see what exists in your backyard!” 

 Participants then add to the species list by signing up for a free account on (either on the app on a desktop computer) and join the “Inter-Island Bioblitz 2022” project. Simply upload your photo observations to the iNaturalist platform on the weekend of the event and your photos will automatically be added to the project.  

 After the weekend, the 2022 findings will be compared with those from the last two backyard Bioblitz events held in 2020 and 2021 for a more comprehensive look at the backyard biodiversity. Previous ‘top ten’ species have included bronze lizards, scarlet peacock butterflies and cane toads. Excitingly, comparisons can be made between the backyard’ species found across islands – which island has the most species; how many species are shared between the islands; and how many are unique.  

Deacon hopes that this event will be the first of many collaborations among the campuses and the islands as they relate to understanding and protecting precious Caribbean biodiversity. 

 For more information contact: 

Dr Amy Deacon (UWI St Augustine):  

Professor Julia Horrocks (UWI Cavehill):  

Ms Claudia Lewis (UWI Mona):  

More info on previous Bioblitzes:  

More info on this year’s event:  


 About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

 From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

 The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

 The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). In the latest World University Rankings 2022, released in September 2021, The UWI moved up an impressive 94 places from last year. In the current global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI stands among the top 1.5%.

 The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean, it is also in the top 20 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

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(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)