Earth is diverse. Having a diverse environment creates biodiversity. But how much do we know about the diverse biological creatures and organisms? University BioQuest is held annually to find out which university has the best wildlife spotters and identifiers.
University BioQuest is a global competition which is held in partnership with ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity where biodiversities are mapped with the help of universities. The resulting data from the competition is shared with the Global Biodiversity Information Faculty which is essential for scientific research and conservation.
QuestGame competition started in 2017 between UC Santa Barbara and Sydney University and expanded to 20 universities next year. There were about 100 participants with 70,000 submissions of sightings and identifications from around the world. In April 2019 competition, there were 50 universities involved in BioQuest games and received about 95,000 sightings and identifications which helped to map 2500 species. University of Peradeniya was the top team in BioQuest 2019.
There are several categories in this game such as Champion Spotters Team Trophy, Champion Identifiers Team Trophy and Most Valuable Team Ribbon. There are prizes for individual performances as well. 50$ Amazon Gift cards are awarded for, Champion Spotter who scores highest individual score, Champion Identifier who provided highest number of correct IDs, Best Find who scores highest individual sightings within the university premises and Active Adventurer prize for a randomly picked winner who has submitted at least five sightings within the period of competition.
In second round of BioQuest 2020 which was held in August, University of Peradeniya showed their brilliance once again. Team Pera became the Champion Spotters winners and University of Sydney Team 1 and University of Queensland-Goddard Dungeons became 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
Champion Identifier category was also conquered by team Pera becoming the champions. 2nd place was achieved by University of Sydney Team 1 and 3rd by University of Queensland-BIOL3209-2020 teams after a tight contest.
Champion spotter and Champion identifier were also from University of Peradeniya adding more color to team Pera.
Under Champion spotter, all the 3 top rankings were conquered by Team Pera. Accordingly, Supipi of University of Peradeniya scored 170,568 points and won the 1st place while Heshan of the same team won 2nd place scoring 168,692 points and Tharindu Dilshan,their colleague won the 3rd place scoring 158,384 points respectively.
Heshan, Tharindu Dilshan and Supipi also won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively in Champion Identifier division. Novice Champion Spotter (for new players) was won by Saranga Konara from team Pera and 2nd and 3rd places of the same divisions were won by Aron of University of Sydney Team 2 and KushiniK of University of Peradeniya.
Prize for the Best Find was awarded to Thavisha of team Pera for spotting Eutropis species. (runner up to cwpaine who spotted Emydura krefftii).
Beating the own record and marking a win of all time, BioQuesters of University of Peradeniya conquered BioQuest competitions marking the top places in almost every category. We, perabeats with much pride felicitate Team Pera and wish them Good Luck hoping victory in the next year too.
Words by- Yasas Kasun.