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):

 

 

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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):

Dear ABOL community,

due to the current situation, we can finally announce that there will be an ABOL conference this year, on December 5th following the Biodiversity Forum.
Both events will take place together as Days of Biodiversity in St. Pölten – the 3rd Austrian Forum on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on December 4th and the 7th ABOL conference on December 5th. At the same time, it will also be possible to take part in the conference virtually (live streaming).

The conference fee for the ABOL meeting of € 20 for meals will be collected on site (free for students).

Abstracts for lectures and posters on DNA barcoding and its practical application can now be submitted! Please send an email to abol@nhm-wien.ac.at.

Please save the date! More detailed information will follow!

With kind regards,

the ABOL coordination team

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 and DNA barcoding community,

maybe there it is now – more time to read. To make sure to provide enough reading stuff, we would like to draw your attention to two very exciting publications on the topic of DNA barcoding:
In plants, a reliable species identification with only one genetic marker is not yet possible. Therefore, the sequencing of entire chloroplast genomes becomes increasingly popular. However, this is a very cost intensive way to document regional and national floras. At the ABOL conference, Harald Meimberg (BOKU) presented a solution by means of a multi-marker approach. An alternative method is described in the first publication presented here:
Inger Alsos et. al promote Genome Skimming as a method that, in addition to freshly collected plant material, also makes the valuable treasures in the herbaria for DNA barcoding and other genomic analyzes accessible. The success rates for herbarium material were very high for most plant families – the three DNA barcoding markers (ITS2, matK and rbcL) could be obtained in more than 1000 genera from 160 families. The authors recommend Genome Skimming of herbarium material as an efficient and relatively inexpensive method for creating DNA barcodes and genomic studies.

Citation: Alsos, I.G., Lavergne, S., Merkel, M.K.F., Boleda, M., Lammers, Y., Alberti, A., Pouchon, C., Denoeud, F., Pitelkova, I., Pușcaș, M., Roquet, C., Hurdu, B.-I., Thuiller, W., Zimmermann, N.E., Hollingsworth, P.M., Coissac, E. The Treasure Vault Can be Opened: The Treasure Vault Can be Opened: Large-Scale Genome Skimming Works Well Using Herbarium and Silica Gel Dried MaterialPlants 2020, 9, 432.

The second publication emphasizes the need for standardized quantitative and qualitative insect monitoring in order to be able to recognize changes in the insect fauna in terms of abundance, species numbers and species composition. The authors around Axel Hausmann carried out comparative studies of the insect fauna in southern Germany in organic and conventional farmland using Malaise traps and light traps. Not only the species composition was recorded using DNA metabarcoding, but also the biomass and certain biological traits. Expectedly, for butterflies higher species numbers and biomass as well as higher numbers of red list species were detected in organic farmland compared with conventionally treated agricultural areas. The methodology presented here represents a time and cost efficient standardizable approach to insect monitoring.

Citation: Hausmann, A.Segerer, A.H.Greifenstein, T., Knubben, J., Moriniére, J., Bozicevic, V., Doczkal, D., Günter, A., Ulrich, W., Habel, J.C. Toward a standardized quantitative and qualitative insect monitoring schemeEcol Evol202000112.

Recently, the description of a fungus species of Inocybe section Marginatae, Inocybe antoniniana, was published. Up to now, the species is known from Austria, Germany and Turkey. The preferred habitats of the mycorrhizal fungus are beech forests, partly mixed with other tree species. The new species has been described in detail with illustrations of micro- and macromorphology, as well as genetically using ITS sequences. The Austrian collection stems from Upper Austria, near Vöcklabruck. Thus we can register another species new for science and new for Austria within the framework of ABOL (HRSM project fungi, University of Vienna).

Publication:

Bandini, D., Sesli, E., Oertel, B., & Krisai-Greilhuber, I. (2020). Inocybe antoniniana, a new species of Inocybe section Marginatae with nodulose spores. Cite

The DNA barcode library for Austrian amphibians and reptiles is now complete. All native species were analyzed, with the exception of Vipera ursinii rakosiensis and Lissotriton helveticus, which are probably extinct or extremely rare and spatially limited.

As part of the ABOL initiative, 194 DNA barcodes were created at the University of Graz, mainly from material in scientific collections, but also from fresh material. The species identification via the respective DNA barcodes was successful in most cases, except in the hybridogenic complex of water frogs (Pelophylax spp.) and the crested newts (Triturus spp.) from regions of sympatric occurrence. The presence of Natrix helvetica and Pelophylax bergeri has been recorded for the first time in Western Austria. The comparison with existing data of European reptiles and amphibians confirmed the results obtained, but also showed the strengths and limitations of DNA barcoding in amphibians and reptiles in some special cases.

DNA barcoding once again turned out to be an efficient approach for species identification at all stages of development, but also for the discovery of new, and also invasive species. On the one hand, these data act as an important scientific basis, on the other hand, as a basis for national and transnational conservation efforts.

We congratulate the team for the successful publication! Read it here.

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

On December 18, the 2nd Austrian Forum on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services took place at VetMed Uni Vienna with the motto Land Use and Biodiversity.
In addition to lectures on the measurement and assessment of biodiversity and the launch of the Biodiversity Atlas for Austria (https://biodiversityatlas.at/), the Austrian Biodiversity Council went public with five key demands to protect biodiversity. Measures to stop the biodiversity crisis, compliance with obligations, the change into an ecologically responsible society, the strengthening of education and science, as well as the topic of the forum, the change to biodiversity-promoting land use were presented and discussed in workshops by experts.
Anyone who feels connected to the goals of the Network for Biodiversity can sign a Memorandum of Understanding (https://www.biodiversityaustria.at/netzwerk/mou/).

Dear ABOL community,

this year, the ABOL meeting took place in Innsbruck for the first time. Gorgeous winter weather formed the framework for the 3-day event, which consisted of the first D-A-CH User Group Meeting (UGM) on the subject of DNA methods in environmental management and the 6th ABOL meeting. The first two days with top-class lectures and interesting discussions were dedicated to the application of DNA-based methods in environmental monitoring and implementation at the legal level. At the method pitch, the participants could explore details about different methods. The last day’s ABOL meeting amended the scientific basis of DNA barcoding and the important issue of creating reliable references that are essential for further applications. The breadth of international participation and the diversity of the presentations ideally reflected the opening up of ABOL to the entire biodiversity community. We thank all speakers for the exciting contributions and all participants for coming!
Special thanks go to Michael Traugott and his team for the perfect organization and last but not least for the world premiere of the first genetic determination of a Krampus at the conference dinner :-)

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope for fruitful cooperation next year.

Best Regards,

the ABOL coordination team
***

Some impressions from the DACH-UGM and ABOL meeting (Photos by Veronika Neidel and Michaela Sonnleitner):