The University Bioquest is a worldwide competition among the universities to discover, learn and help map out the biodiversity for scientific research and conservation around the world .This competition is basically conducted to protect the life on earth and also to increase the awareness on biodiversity among the University students.
This year, the unibioquest 2019 was a spectacular event for us Sri Lankans, as a team of University students from the University of Peradeniya was able to win the overall championship of UniBioquest 2019 which was held during the period of 1st of April to 30th of April.
The Questa game competition was first started in 2017 between UC Santa Barbara (USA) and Sydney University (Australia).Then the same competition was extended to 20 Universities in 2018. In 2019 fifty Universities from 14 countries around the world have participated in this competition. Some of the universities which have participated in this game are as follows:
- 1.The University of Adelaide
- 2. Macquarie University
- 3. University of Melbourne
- 4. University of New England
- 5. Monash University- Clayton
This competition is organized by World’s reputed Universities in collaboration with the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity. Questa game is basically an app-based game that lets its users win points by spotting, capturing (photographing) & identifying wildlife. Then the uploaded plant and animal species are identified by the specialists which are there all over the world. The resulting biodiversity data is shared with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF.org) for scientific and research and conservation.The team from University of Peradeniya has won overall championship under the following categories.
|Correct identifications-Team champions||12,693|
|Top Spotters (Kumudhu)||32,111|
|Top identifiers (Kumudhu)||52,654|
|Top sightings (Tharindhu)||957|
This year, 66 students from the “Biology Guild” of the Faculty of Agriculture and 9 students from the “Zoologist Association of University of Peradeniya” of the Faculty of Science took participation in the competition and the University of Peradeniya team was lead and guided by Anushka Bandara Tennakoon who is a third year student of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya. Due to the dedication and the teamwork of the members of the Peradeniya University team, they were able to secure the victory. Since the University of Peradeniya was a state owned university, the matter of affording $1500 as the competition entrance fee was one of the biggest hardships that the team had to face before the beginning of the competition. And fortunately, the organizing committee was humble enough to understand their position and agreed to waive the entrance fee granting the university team, a chance to participate in the competition.
One of the prominent criteria of the competition was to capture the pictures of the animals in their natural habitats. It was rather quite interesting and difficult at the same time as they needed to be captured in their natural livelihood. This competition completely changed the attitude of the questers towards the biodiversity and it was quite a joyful experience for the questers.
Some of the Top spotters who were able to capture some amazing plant and animal species were Kumudu B. Wijesooriya, Tharindu Dilshan, Tharaka de Alwis, Sashika denipitiya, Thilina Hettiarachchi and Sampath Chamara etc.
Identification of this plant and animal species with its scientific name is another important aspect of this game. For that, Kumudu B. wijesooriya of the Faculty of Science helped questers to a great extent. He won two titles such as the Champion Spotter and the Champion identifier from all over the world. Tharindu Dilshan of the Faculty of Agriculture won the Top Sighting title by capturing a rare stick insect. Some of the Top identifiers were Kumudu B. wijesooriya, Heshan Liyanagedara, Bhashitha Madushani Konara, Anushka Bandara Tennakoon, Thiranya Wanigarathna and Tharaka de Alwis etc.
Dr. Kanishka Ukuwela, a Senior Lecturer of the Faculty of Applied Science of the Rajarata University helped the questers to identify some of the captured species. And the Senior lecturer Dr. Suranga Kodithuwakku and Dr. Dimanthi Jayathilake from the Faculty of Agriculture guided the questers and gave their continuous support to win the UniBioquest 2019. And also our heartfelt thanks go to our Dean of Faculty of Agriculture Prof.D.K.N.G.Pushpakumara, University of Peradeniya for helping us and encouraging us to face this competition with confidence.