Dear ABOL Community,

probably not surprising to anyone, we decided to hold the Days of Biodiversity ONLINE.
We kindly ask for contributions for the 7th ABOL meeting – either for talks of 20 minutes (+ 10 minutes discussion) or for flash talks of 5 minutes (+ 3 minutes of discussion). Please register and send your abstract to abol@nhm-wien.ac.at by November 15. The conference language at the ABOL meeting is English (German at the Biodiversity Forum).
Participation is free this year – however we kindly ask for donations -> here!
For more information about the ABOL meeting visit our conference page: https://www.abol.ac.at/en/abol-meeting-2020/

The 3rd Austrian Forum on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services will also take place online for the first time this year (Forum Dec. 4, 2020 / Pre-Workshops Nov. 23-30, 2020). Registration will be possible from next Wednesday, October 28, 2020.
The call for posters is open until November 11, 2020.
Further information here: https://www.biodiversityaustria.at/tage-der-biodiversitaet-2020/

We look forward to exciting days together despite the changed circumstances!

Your ABOL coordination team

Due to the situation, this year’s Tyrolean Day of Biodiversity was for the first time held in autumn (September 4th and 5th) and ABOL was on board again. The municipality of Kössen near the Bavarian border was the chosen location. In wonderful late summer weather, the butterfly experts swarmed out on Friday evening and set up their light constructions in order to attract as many nocturnal insects as possible. On Saturday, the experts were out all day in the vicinity of Kössen to record and collect animals and plants. The study areas were very diverse: The Kaltenbachmoos – a peat bog, the Entenlochklamm / “Antenloch” – an impressive gorge, the Loferberg – a largely wooded area, and the region near the Straubingerhaus – a mosaic of montane forests and pastures. A special highlight was the rafting excursion in the Entenlochklamm, during which river banks and caves were screened for traces of mammals. E.g. beaver, marten, otter and fox tracks were sighted, supplemented by the discovery of a dead water shrew.
The expert café, the presentation of the results and the dinner gave us the opportunity to exchange ideas and for networking. Thanks to all experts for providing tissue samples for DNA barcoding, as well as to the organization team for the smooth organization and the good food!

Impressions from the study area (Photos: S. Schoder, M. Sonnleitner):

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):

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.