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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):

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

This year the popular Citizen Science Campaign City Nature Challenge will again take place – from April 30th to May 3rd, 2021. Cities and urban regions can register for the international biodiversity event and compete against each other in order to observe and document as many species of animals, plants or fungi as possible.

Last year, more than 800,000 wild species were reported in over 240 cities around the world. Austria participated for the first time in 2020 with the regions Vienna, Graz and Krems/Wachau.
It is very pleasing that significantly more Austrian regions have registered this year:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenges-in-oesterreich-2021 (in German only)

Everybody can participate!

Species can be reported during the 4 days in the regions specified above. Simply install the iNaturalist app and create a free account, take a photo of the animal or plant – upload it and add the determination as far as possible. It is important that the species found are correctly identified – many experts take part in this and will add the correct species name of the depicted organisms. All experts are invited to participate in the determination process!

Tutorials: iNaturalist Youtube channel

 

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”

Who does not know them from the own garden, the Spanish slug? A study at the BOKU Vienna showed that Citizen Scientists can contribute to investigate the abundance of slugs of the genus Arion in private gardens. The quality of determinations could be kept high in the study by using the DNA barcoding approach. The publication is freely available at https://bmcecol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12898-018-0179-7.

 

In keeping with the theme of a workshop held in the context of this year’s ABOL conference, a review will be devoted to the topic “Genetic methods in biological assessment of aquatic habitats”. The paper provides information on the benefits and pitfalls of (e)DNA metabarcoding approaches for calculating biotic indices, provides insights into potential future developments, and provides recommendations for the future integration of DNA metabarcoding to routine biomonitoring programs. The publication can be found at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718316322.

 

Two publications on alpine moth species show benefits, firstly of integrative approaches, and secondly of international collaboration within the DNA barcoding community.

A comparison of representatives of the Agrotis fatidica species-group from the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Apennines and southern Norway led to the description of two new species. The publication can be found at https://nl.pensoft.net/article/23090/.

Among other things, a study on representatives of the genus Udea found evidence of hybridization between two species. The publication can be downloaded at https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/22020/.