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Under the title Days of Biodiversity 2020, the ABOL meeting took place this year together with the 3rd Austrian Forum on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services as an online event.

During the pre-phase, various topics were discussed in workshops, the results of which, together with other interesting lectures, were presented in the Biodiversity Forum on December 4th.
The last day of the event was dedicated to the ABOL meeting. With – as usual – quite diverse contributions regarding organisms and methods, the 7th annual meeting gave an impressive overview of the various activities within the initiative. The national networks were further strengthened through the exchange beyond the individual areas of interest. The online format also gave the conference more international visibility. We are very pleased that Dr. Katrin Vohland, Director General of the Natural History Museum Vienna, opened the ABOL meeting and underlined the important role of her institition in national and international biodiversity agendas. She also emphasized the importance of participating in EU-wide initiatives such as DiSSCo (Distributed System of Scientific Collections) and the EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) in Austria. The the morning session was devoted to the activities in ABOL and GBOL. We would like to thank our colleagues from GBOL for their interesting keynote on the recently launched Dark Taxa project, which will be of importance for many activities throughout Europe and not least ABOL will benefit from it. At the end of the morning session, Dr. Karolina Begusch-Pfefferkorn from the Federal Ministry of Science (BMBWF) gave a first insights into the European Partnerships in Horizon Europe, a very promising initiative. The afternoon sessions with a total of 13 flash talks were dedicated to a wide variety of DNA barcoding projects and applications. Covering a broad range of topices and geography they were met with great interest.
The almost 190 registrations for the Zoom-Meeting exceeded all previous ABOL meetings and the sessions were equally well attended!

We would like to thank all speakers, all participants, our sponsors and especially Heidi Weinhäupl and the organizing team of the Days of Biodiversity 2020 at the DonauUni Krems for the great cooperation!

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):

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