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):

 

 

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.

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

The first ABOL BioBlitz on May 17th & 18th took place at the GEO Day of Biodiversity on the eastern shore of Millstättersee in Carinthia. The approximately 45 participating experts reported more than 1000 species of plants, fungi and animals within 24 hours. We thank everyone for their active participation in the ABOL-BioBlitz campaign and are looking forward to the results.
One of the highlights was the presentation of the day catches from Millstättersee by professional fisherman Günter Palle, including perch, catfish, lake trout, brown trout etc.
Thanks also to the organizers for the warm welcome and the nice service!

We look forward to the next ABOL BioBlitz at the TdA in Grein, Upper Austria.

Your ABOL team

Click here for information on the ABOL BioBlitz (in German only).

(c) Entry picture: C. Komposch

Dear ABOL community and biodiversity enthusiasts,

as announced at the ABOL meeting in December, ABOL is participating in this year’s Biodiversity Days (Tage der Artenvielfalt, TdA). The aim of the ABOL BioBlitz Actions is the creation of DNA barcodes of as many species as possible collected at the TdAs and determined by the participating experts (our BioBlitz website, in German). ABOL would like to involve further experts in the initiative and at the same time we hope that through this joint action the attention of regional and national media will increasingly be drawn to us.
Therefore we ask for numerous participation in the TdAs and the associated barcoding actions.

We ask you to mark the dates and sign up early. We would like to thank all organizers for their interest in the cooperation.

17./18. May – TdA Biosphere Reserve Nockberge: East banks of Millstättersee and surrounding mountainsides (information from the organizer)
31. May/1. June – TdA Upper Austria: Grein (information from the organizer)
14./15. June – TdA Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald: Pressbaum (information from the organizer)
21./22. June – TdA Vienna: BOKU site Knödelhüttenstraße in the 14th district of Vienna
05./06. July – TdA Tyrol: Brandenbergtal, municipality Brandenberg
26. – 28. July – TdA Hohe Tauern National Park: Carinthia, Gössnitztal (information from the organizer)

Since DNA barcoding is a standardized method, the vouchers should, if possible, be deposited in public scientific collections (museums). The sending of the samples and the sequencing costs are handled by the ABOL initiative.

All those who want to join, please contact our ABOL BioBlitz coordinator Sabine Schoder or the ABOL coordination team, so that we can support the process as well as possible (collection, sampling etc.).

We look forward to the joint actions,

With kind regards,

Your ABOL coordination team

We are pleased to announce that under the lead of the University of Graz (Dr. Stephan Koblmüller) in cooperation with the Universalmuseum Joanneum (Mag. Wolfgang Paill) and the Ökoteam as economic partner (Dr. Werner Holzinger) another ABOL project has started. In the BRIDGE-1 project BIO-PLANBAR (FFG, BMVIT) the use of DNA barcoding for more efficient species identification in the context of conservation conformity of planning processes of major construction projects will be investigated.

In order to estimate the impact of construction projects on local fauna and flora, a very good knowledge of the organisms is required. As a rule, certain indicator groups are used for this purpose. DNA barcoding might simplify and accelerate the step of species identification and complement classical morphological methods, especially in juveniles, larval stages and eggs. However, the prerequisite for this is as comprehensive high quality reference database. This will be generated and/or completed within the project for relevant groups of animals (for example, bugs, cicadas, spiders, ground beetles).

More information can be found here.

Congratulations to the successful project applicants!

The ABOL coordination team

With March 1st the HRSM (Hochschulraumstrukturmittel) project has been launched. The project is funded with 1 Million Euro by the Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and aims at developing DNA barcoding pipelines for ABOL at universities. Commendably, the University of Graz has taken the leadership. Project partners are the University of Vienna, the University of Salzburg, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, and the University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna. Thus, we are able to announce that the overall ABOL project has successfully started before the end of the pilot phase. However, this does not mean we may rest on our laurels – many smaller and larger projects have to be initiated to reach our long-term target, the establishment of DNA barcodes for all animal, fungi as well as plant species of Austria that these eventually can be utilized for diverse applications. To reach this goal we need the cooperation of all experts and institutions who address biodiversity!

Read more (in German)…