ABOL BioBlitz events are used to digitize taxonomic expertise in the context of the Days of Biodiversity – this is a way how rare, private biodiversity knowledge can be made available to society. This is the central message of an article recently published in the Barcode Bulletin (iBOL).
In times of rapid loss of biodiversity, we are faced with the challenge of generating reliable biodiversity data as fast as possible and making it accessible. A substantial part of the knowledge about biodiversity – e.g. about certain insect groups – are owned by private experts, often only by a few people. During the Days of Biodiversity, which take place annually in almost all federal states, valuable data is generated and genetically underpinned by means of DNA barcoding as part of the ABOL BioBlitz  efforts and made universally available via the international BOLD database.
Read more on this topic in our article ABOL BIOBLITZ: DNA BARCODING SAFEGUARDS TAXONOMIC KNOWLEDGE – The Austrian Barcode of Life (ABOL) initiative uses DNA barcoding to safeguard and make publicly accessible rare knowledge on biodiversity generated in the course of local BioBlitz events”

Grundalm - BP Nockberge - Photo: Christian Komposch, ÖKOTEAM

Parallel to the Day of Biodiversity (Tag der Artenvielfalt) in the National Park Hohe Tauern, the 5th GEO Nature Day was held in the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge on 17th & 18th June. Similar to the previous year, ABOL participated with the BioBlitz campaign to demonstrate the opportunities of DNA-barcoding to the taxonomic experts, and also to actively participate in collecting. Over 60 experts tried to find as many species as possible around the Grundalm within 24 hours. Some of the experts were also accompanied by their children, which not only increased the family atmosphere of the event, but also raised the number of collecting people.

Due to the sensational number of participants, the targeted species number was quickly set – more participants than last year should result in more species detected, therefore the goal was more than 2,000 species! It was clear to everyone that this not entirely serious goal would be difficult to achieve, due to the high altitude of the study area (1600 and 2300 m above sea level). The rainy weather also dampened theses overly ambitious expectations. In the end, not a single dragonfly could be found, despite the intensive search by several odonatologists. Light traps set up at night also failed to meet expectations due to the weather. Under normal conditions, dozens of insect species with hundreds of individuals would be recorded. This year, only a handful of arthropods were detected with the light traps. Nevertheless, with about 850 species a sensational result was achieved and the number will even increase due to re-determinations and the analysis of e.g. sediment samples.  It is especially nice that many species typical for these altitudes could be found, such as the brown discus snail (Discus ruderatus), the Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) or the Alpine salamander (Salamandra atra). Fortunately, several species relevant for the BioBlitz campaign were collected too, for which DNA barcodes will soon be created and made available on BOLD.

The excellent organization of the event should also be mentioned. From accommodation to the offer of a shuttle service to the study area, to a great catering including an excellent cake buffet from local farmers and the distribution of Biosphere Reserve Nockberge tube scarves, everything was perfect. The latter were in times of Corona very useful as mouth and nose protection, but also as headgear at temperatures below 10°C. The final commitment of the organizers for further GEO Biodiversity Days can only be topped with the appropriate hours of sunshine…

A few pictures from the 5th GEO Nature Day  in the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge (photos: N. Szucsich, C. Leeb, V. Pail, title photo: C. Komposch – ÖKOTEAM):

 

 

Gruppenfoto_cNPHT_Hechenblaikner_small

Like last year, ABOL again participated with a BioBlitz campaign in the day of biodiversity (Tag der Artenvielfalt) in the National Park Hohe Tauern. The experts met from 17th to 19th July in the Tyrolean part of the Hohe Tauern, in the Umbaltal – a vallay with lonely side valleys and a wide range of habitats up to the glacier region. After registration in Prägraten, where also general information was given, the 66 participants swarmed out to the different investigation areas in search of various animal groups, plants and fungi. A cell phone app made data acquisition easier. When darkness fell, nocturnal insects were attracted by means of light traps at different altitudes and the calls of bats were recorded using a batcorder. Despite poor weather conditions, interesting observations could be made, and many montane to alpine species were identified. We are very happy about the great interest in genetic recording of biodiversity using DNA barcodes, especially among the numerous young participants. Many thanks on behalf of the ABOL team! Thanks also to the organization team for the smooth running, the booking of accommodations – in the Virgental or in the Clarahütte at approximately 2000 m, for the shuttle options to the starting points, as well as for the fine regional meals.

A few pictures from the study area (photos: C. Lettner, M. Sonnleitner; title photo: NPHT Hechenblaikner):

The planned festive event as part of the 15th anniversary of the Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald fell victim to the measures of the Covid-19 pandemic, like so many other events in this year. The numerous experts from a wide range of disciplines nevertheless made the search for species a festival of biodiversity. Again, we were able to contribute with an ABOL BioBlitz!

All day on Friday and Saturday morning, more than 80 experts swarmed out in the study area, which was located in the 18th district of Vienna, in and around the Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark, in search for as many animal, plant and fungi species as possible. In addition to meadows and forests, three cemeteries, the Pötzleinsdorfer, the Neustifter and the Gersthofer cemetery, characterized by a very high biodiversity, were accessible for this event.  When darkness fell, various lepidopterists set light traps and the bat fauna was surveyed by experts.

Despite the poor weather conditions – especially on the second day – around 940 species of animals, plants and fungi were found within 24 hours. Part of these will be sampled again this year for establishing DNA barcodes. A warm thank in advance to all experts for participating in the ABOL BioBlitz. Thanks also to the event team for the good organization and catering, which worked perfectly despite the difficult general conditions due to the current Covid-19 measures!

A detailed report (in German only) and further photos can be found on the website of the Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald ->here.

Some impressions from the Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark (Photos: M. Sonnleitner):

 

Dear ABOL community, dear colleagues,

Knowledge about biodiversity is more important than ever, not only in the scientific community, but also among the general public. The Days of Biodiversity have been significantly  contributing to our knowledge on biodiversity for many years. ABOL will this year again participate in Days of Biodiversity with ABOL BioBlitz actions in order to make the knowledge, provided by experts, available for the society. As last year, experts are invited to provide samples of determined organisms for DNA barcoding. Last year we were able to sample around 1.900 animals in this way and substantially contributed to Austrian reference data. More information and dates can be found -> here. This page is continuously updated.

In addition, we would like to draw your attention to the City Nature Challenge 2020, in which Austria will take part for the first time in Vienna, Graz and Wachau. The challenge takes place from 24th to 27th April. The observation data of plants, animals and fungi are recorded via the iNaturalist platform. Anyone can use e.g. cell phones to photograph organisms and upload photos, which are then determined by experts. The aim of the City Nature Challenge is to document the biodiversity in cities in a global competition. An exact knowledge of the species is not necessary, because the observations are, as far as possible, determined via crowdsourcing (i.e. from other iNaturalist users). Everyone can participate as a notifier and as a determining expert. This challenge is also well suited as a school project.

To this end, Lorin Timaeus holds lectures and a workshop for teachers. All dates can be found at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-wien/journal; Registration until March 11th at cncwien@gmail.com. Instructions for the iNaturalist app can be found at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-wien?tab=about

“Summit of Biodiversity at the foot of Mt. Grossglockner” was the motto of the 13th Day of Biodiversity of the Hohe Tauern National Park, in which ABOL again participated with a BioBlitz. From 26th to 28th July, more than 60 experts examined the Gössnitztal, an elongated high valley at an altitude of about 2,000 m, and the valley floor around Heiligenblut. In addition to plants and fungi numerous groups of animals were processed, a mobile app often facilitated the data acquisition. At dusk, light traps were installed to attract nocturnal insects – especially moths – at different altitudes. In addition, bats were observed and their calls recorded by a batcorder.
We are pleased that the genetic detection of species diversity using DNA barcodes has met with great interest. Thus, numerous samples can contribute to the establishment of a Genetic Guide of Austrian biodiversity.

A big compliment and a great thank you to all organizers. No logistical challenges – several accommodations had to be organized, researchers had to take buses to the starting point for hikes, etc. – was too big.
We would like to thank the entire National Park team and the experts for their cooperation in the ABOL-BioBlitz!

On the 5th and 6th of July the 5. ABOL BioBlitz took place in the Brandeberg Valley as part of the day of biodiversity in Tyrol.
After our arrival on Friday some butterfly experts invited for an evening excursion with light trapping. The participants could not only marvel at the moths attracted by the light, but also got an interesting introduction on different lighting constructions and light traps. Due to perfect weather conditions, many nocturnal insects have been attracted, including some very exciting species of moths, e.g. Pericallia matronula.
The Kaiserhaus near the Kaiserklamm provided perfect meals and overnight stays. On Saturday morning, the experts flocked independently to the site to collect a variety of animal and plant groups, as well as mushrooms. Again, a part of the collected species will be sampled for the generation of DNA barcodes.
In the late afternoon there was a cozy end including summary of the raised biodiversity in the modern parish hall of the municipality Brandenberg. We were entertained by volunteers from the community, who provided a rich pastry and buffet. In addition, there was time to inform the experts on ABOL and the DNA barcoding procedure in general.
We would like to thank the organizers, the municipality Brandenberg and the Kaiserhaus for the successful event and the warm hospitality, as well as the experts for the readiness to participate in the ABOL BioBlitz.
We are already curious about the results and look forward to the next BioBlitz action on the Day of Biodiversity in the Hohe Tauern!

On the day of biodiversity in Vienna we likewise participated with an ABOL-BioBlitz. On 22 June 2019 the Vienna Environmental Protection Department (MA 22) in cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) invited everyone intersetsted in biodiversity to the Knödelhüttenstraße, in the 14th district of Vienna. There the 1. Cross-border biodiversity day took place, in the frame of the Interreg project CITY NATURE“ with Slovakia.

In the morning, the surrounding forest and ecologically valuable meadows of the area were visited by experts, collecting various insect groups. The “Salzwiese” proved to be particularly rich in species, offering diverse habitat conditions due to their varying degrees of humidity. Some of the collected species will be again used to generate DNA barcodes.

The afternoon offered a varied program of guided tours on insects, birds, mammals and plants, barn mowing and reaper mowing demonstrations, biodiversity and conservation information booths. Again, ABOL was represented with an information booth.

The ABOL team would like to thank the interested experts for joining the ABOL-BioBlitz and the event team for the organization!

For further information from MA 22 to TdA Vienna click here


Photos: © Nikolaus Szucsich, group photo © Matthias Nemmert

The 3rd ABOL BioBlitz we were able to perform during the Day of Biodiversity in the Biosphere reserve Wienerwald in Pressbaum.
On Friday all day and on Saturday morning, about 80 experts examined the area around the municipality Pressbaum. The rather large area has been divided into 33 locations, well marked on detailed maps. Insects were caught, fungi and plant species collected, and bats observed during a night excursion. In total, the experts registered a provisional number of 1151 species. Again this time, some of the collected species will be sampled for the creation of DNA barcodes.
The Saturday afternoon offered a comprehensive entertainment program, numerous information stands, children’s program, regional delicacies, a quiz and much more. Also ABOL was represented here with an information stand, at which interested DNA barcoding was brought closer. Selected species were used to show how they can be genetically determined using the BOLD database (Barcode of Life Database). Despite the heat, many adults and children took part in the program and gained insights into local biodiversity.
We would like to thank the organizers for the excellent organization, as well as the experts for the interest and participation in the ABOL BioBlitz campaign!
More information and more pictures (in German only) -> here!

(c) BP Wienerwald

(c) M. Sonnleitner

Last weekend the second ABOL BioBlitz took place. This time we were guests at the Day of Biodiversity at the Mühlbergerhof in Grein, Upper Austria. Organized by the Naturschutzbund OÖ and the Biology Center Linz of the Upper Austrian Landesmuseum, about 25 experts examined the biodiversity in the vicinity of the organic farm. Birds were observed, funghi collected, plant species collected and insects caught. Part of the collected organisms will then be used for the creation of DNA barcodes. No less important was the cozy get-together and the professional networking with the best hospitality. We thank you for the successful event and the warm welcome to the organizers and the experts for the willingness to participate to the BioBlitz!

More information and photographs (in German only) -> here

Copyright Photographs: M. Sonnleitner