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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 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/).

Biodiversity is a term that is far from being firmly anchored in people’s minds. Global climate change can no longer be ignored as a fact, problem and danger, “Fridays for Future” is an expression of this situation. By contrast, the “Sixth Mass Extinction” is fully under way, yet many people are still unaware of the term biodiversity. This, and the fact that a trend reversal of global warming cannot take place without simultaneously stopping habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity, was addressed in Elisabeth Haring´s talk at the “Fridays For Future” strike on 15.11. on the Stock im Eisenplatz in Vienna.

https://fridaysforfuture.at/regionalgruppen/wien

 

The dependence of man on his living environment is reflected far too little in political action. In order to give a stronger voice to biodiversity, a Biodiversity Council has recently been set up by experts. A first press release can be read here.
Hopefully, the Biodiversity Council will grow in the future, so that biodiversity can become one of several equal societal goals, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Your ABOL coordination team

“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!

Biodiversity loss currently receives much attention in media. One trigger for this is the recently published WWF Living Planet Report 2018, which shows a persistent massive population decline in vertebrates. The Living Planet Index (LPI) has been compiled every two years since 1998, and makes statements about the evolution of thousands of vertebrate species. The dramatic result shows a decline in natural populations with a decrease of individual numbers of 60% on average since 1970.

For the first time the LPI was compiled for Austria, in a cooperation of WWF and BOKU. The study examined the period between 1986 and 2015. The result is worrying: the mentioned 70% decline in vertebrates even exceeds the global value.

In invertebrates, an equally dramatic decline was reported by Hallmann et. al 2017. According tot he study the insect biomass faced a decline of more than 75% in the last 27 years in Germany.

Lecturers of the nternational Symposium on Insect Conservation at the Natural History Museum Stuttgart suggested a nine-point-action against insect decline, where they suggest solutions to political stakeholders.

A key point is the demand for a research and education offensive to close the huge gaps in our knowledge on biodiversity. Only then can the dramatic loss of insect biomass be underpinned with information on species. Biodiversity initiatives such as ABOL can significantly contribute to this task.