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The last BioBlitz this year was carried out by ABOL in the course of the Biodiversity Day in the Hohe Tauern National Park. The study area ranged from montane to alpine altitudes in the upper Mur valley in the national park municipality of Muhr im Lungau. The JUFA Hotel in St. Michael, the Sticklerhütte and the Rotgüldenseehütte served as bases. A total of 64 experts on 25 different groups of organisms took part in the Biodiversity Day; many of them also participated in the ABOL BioBlitz.

Unfortunately, heavy rainfalls accompanied the event – not a good precondition for successful surveys. On the one hand, many species were not active and also the experts had problems to move forward in the often steep and slippery terrain. Nevertheless, due to persistence and creativity a considerable number of species could again be detected. As planned, some researchers set up their light traps already on Friday evening to attract nocturnal insects – especially butterflies. Fortunately, the temperatures did not drop very much, so that many, mostly characteristic mountain species, could already be surveyed during this action. In addition, five bat species were detected by sound detectors. Naturally, most of the species were recorded by the botanists, which were able to work even in bad weather by the persevering group. The data recording in this case was mainly done via the app ObsMapp (observation.org).

In the course of a pleasant get-together at the JUFA Hotel on Sunday morning, the results and findings of the last two days were discussed, there was also opportunity to exchange ideas with other experts and and to give the participants a short summary of the BioBlitzes from the past two years.

We would like to thank the National Park team for the excellent organization, the transport with shuttle busses and the nice accommodations. A big thank you from our side also to all who participated again in the ABOL-BioBlitz action!

Impressiones from the study area (Photos: M. Sonnleitner):

In Tyrol, ABOL was once again able to participate in the Day of Biodiversity with a BioBlitz Initiative. Selected areas in the Nature Park Kaunergrat were examined – from wet to dry, lean meadows to bog areas, boulder fields, alpine meadows and alpine grasslands. In addition to butterfly experts, who began their surveys with light traps on Friday evening, experts on beetles, grasshoppers, flies, hymenoptera, birds, mammals, plants and fungi took part in the event. On Saturday, the participants flocked to the various survey areas to compile as comprehensive a species list as possible by late afternoon. Finally, at 16h, an invitation was extended to the Experts’ Coffee in the Nature Park House “Gacher Blick”, where there was time to exchange ideas and to let the Day of Biodiversity come to a pleasant end. A final presentation of the results will take place this year for the first time in autumn – probably partly online.

We would like to thank all participants of the ABOL BioBlitz! A big thank also goes to the organisers of the Day of Biodiversity, who managed with great spontaneity to move the planned event location from the Pfundser Tschey to the Kaunergrat Nature Park and still provide perfect catering and accommodation.

Impressions from the study area: (Photos: C. Leeb):

The third ABOL BioBlitz of this year took place as part of the GEO day of nature in the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge in Carinthia. 70 experts and companions surveyed animal, plant and fungus species at the basis of the Zunderwand and in the vicinity of the Erlacherhaus. Due to the special geological situation, where limestone islands protrude from the silicate bedrock, the diversity of species is particularly great here, as lime- and silicate-loving species coexist. The focus was also on the numerous peculiarities occurring here, especially species that are very rare or only narrowly distributed. The study area was rich in different habitats such as pastures, limestone grasslands, rock crevices and scree slopes, bogs, drainage fields and creeks. Therefore, more than 1180 species could be registered within 24 hours. The beautiful weather also contributed to the success. On the other hand, there were also groups that were surprisingly rarely found, such as bumblebees, whose main season had obviously not yet started. However, the exact number of species that was recorded will only be known after extensive post-processing by the respective experts. We hope for active participation in the ABOL BioBlitz and are confident that we can close one or the other gap in the DNA barcode reference data for Austria.

We would like to thank the organizers and the participants in the ABOL BioBlitz!

Impressions from the event and the study area (Photos: M. Sonnleitner):

For the third time, ABOL was able to participate at the Day of Biodiversity in the Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald with a BioBlitz action. Around 70 biodiversity experts explored the Eichgraben municipal area on June 18th and 19th, 2021 in order to record as much fauna, flora and funga species as possible. Although the conditions were not ideal for some groups of animals and plants – many meadows had been mowed shortly before and there was high temperature and drought – more than 1,300 species could be detected this year. DNA barcodes will be generated from some of them after they have been identified and processed by the experts in the course of the ABOL BioBlitz campaign.

The first nature enthusiasts arrived on Friday morning in search of species – the last ones set up their light traps on Friday night to attract and detect various nocturnal insects. On Saturday morning, experts poured out into the municipality again and tried to compile a list of species as comprehensive as possible by early afternoon. The old nursery in the village of Eichgraben served as a base, where the Biosphere Reserve team took care of the well-being of the participants and provided lunch packages and cold drinks. Unfortunately, due to the Corona-regulations, no public event like in the years before the pandemic could take place this year. For those interested, however, there was the opportunity to take part in various nature excursions.

We would like to thank the Biosphere Reserve team for the excellent organization and all those who participated in the ABOL BioBlitz!

Impressiones from the study area (Photos: C. Leeb, M. Sonnleitner):

The first ABOL BioBlitz 2021 took place on June 11th and 12th, at the Danube Island (Donauinsel) during the 20th Vienna Day of Biodiversity organized by the departments of the municipality of Vienna for environmental protection and water. Numerous biodiversity experts swarmed out to record the fauna, flora and funga of the Donauinsel, especially in the area of ​​Wehr 1 and Tritonwasser, whereby samples were also collected for the creation of DNA barcodes.

Experts met on Friday evening to attract moths and other nocturnal insects with numerous light traps. On Saturday, when the weather was mostly fine, the well-developed, species-rich meadows around the basecamp were investigated. Not only the honey bee was strongly represented on the numerous flowering Knautia individuals but also the solitary bee Andrena hattorfiana, which is an oligolectic species feeding on Knautia pollen and a few other Dipsacaceae. Even the parasite of A. hattorfiana, Nomada armata, could be detected. Numerous other insect species were found in the meadows. The nearby Triton water with beautiful silting zones in which water frogs could be found in large numbers was particularly interesting for the amphibia experts. It is particularly gratifying that – although the data reporting has not yet been completed – with Trigoniophthalmus alternatus, a representative of the large group of bristletails, a new record for Vienna has already been booked.
Unfortunately, due to the corona pandemic, no public event could take place this year, but it should be rescheduled at the same place next year.
We would like to thank the organizers and the participants of the ABOL BioBlitz!

Impressions from the study area (Photos: N. Szucsich, C. Leeb, M. Sonnleitner):

After two successful runs in 2019 and 2020 ABOL BioBlitzes are already well known in the community . This year we will again take part in the Days of Biodiversity and call collectors to take part in the ABOL BioBlitz campaign. The aim is to sample collected and determined animals (especially insects) for genetic analysis. Thereby, added value can be created – we can contribute to the DNA barcoding database, secure the determination and convey an innovative method.

More information: ABOL BioBlitz 2021

For the first time this year, we are also offering Data Workshops in which the handling of DNA barcoding data and the international BOLD database can be learned and practiced. The online workshops can be attended by collectors and other interested persons. The dates are set as required. If you are interested, please send an email to Oliver.Macek@nhm-wien.ac.at.

More information: Data workshops

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):