Tag Archive for: DNA barcoding

ABOL reference data (ABOL-RefDat) – call for project collaboration!

We are very pleased that the ABOL-RefDat project, funded by the Biodiversity Fund, started at the beginning of the year!

Our goal? The creation of at least 5,000 DNA barcodes for at least 1,500 Austrian species of animals, plants and fungi, as well as closing data gaps in Austria! A particular focus is on pollinators, soil and aquatic organisms.

As part of the RefDat project, we can award contracts for taxonomic work for the first time and are still looking for project partners!
Using checklists, we can perform GAP analyses to specifically identify taxon-specific data gaps, i.e. identify species for which no or only a few DNA barcodes of species from Austria are available in the BOLD (Barcode of Life Data System). This way we can work together to complete the reference data! As part of RefDat, collection material (that is not too old) can be used, as well as specifically newly collected material, for which collection permits must be available. The DNA barcodes generated in the project will be fed into the international database BOLD and will be available open access for numerous applications.

Requirements for cooperation:

  • suitable, morphologically well-determined material
  • submission of collection permits for new collected specimens (mandatory!)
  • deposition of reference organisms in scientific collections
  • start as soon as possible, sample processing should be completed by the beginning of 2025

Due to the relatively short project duration until October 2025, we are trying to find partners quickly.
If you are interested, please contact us as quickly as possible (abol@nhm-wien.ac.at)!

This project is funded by the Biodiversity Fund of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology of Austria.

 

Due to last year’s great success, the 2nd DNA barcoding workshop took place in September at the University of Zambia (UNZA) in the capital Lusaka.
As part of the OeAD project “Inventorying biodiversity in the tropics: Establishing a DNA-barcoding pipeline for characterizing and monitoring Zambia’s biodiversity” led by the University of Graz (Stephan Koblmüller and Lukas Zangl) and participation by ABOL and Prof. Cyprian Katongo (UNZA ) students and staff of UNZA were trained in all the necessary steps to create DNA barcodes. The workshop began with a series of lectures on various aspects of DNA barcoding as a standard approach to recording biodiversity, its possible applications in monitoring, the challenges of a national biodiversity initiatives and opportunities for students and doctoral candidates to conduct research in Austria. The remaining workshop days covered the entire process of creating DNA barcode references – from sampling to data analysis. The DNA barcodes generated from fish and dragonflies are intended to serve as a crystallization point around which a national initiative in Zambia can be formed. Using the dragonflies, the participants were also introduced to the preparation and identification of insects. Laboratory work with DNA extraction and PCR, as well as the processing and evaluation of sequence data, were particularly popular. Overall, the workshop was once again a great success with around 30 participants.

This year’s ABOL BioBlitz series was completed with the Day of Biodiversity in the Hohe Tauern National Park on the Deferegger sunny side in East Tyrol. As in previous years, the weather this weekend was rather bad. At least this year we had some sunny windows in which flying insects, especially bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies could be observed. The first evening was already dedicated to the light traps – nocturnal insects were attracted and mapped with light traps on the banks of the Schwarzach river and in the alpine area at Speikboden. Saturday was devoted entirely to searching for species in the study areas above St. Veit and St. Jakob, up to high alpine locations. In the evening, nets for catching bats were set up around the House of Water of the National Park, which served as a base, with which, together with echolocation, 5 species of bats could be detected. At the final event on Sunday, the first results and provisional species numbers were presented. Thanks to the voluntary and unpaid work of around 70 experts, the data situation in this area, which had been rather sparse until then, was significantly improved. We hope to get some more samples for the creation of DNA barcodes and to successfully complete the ABOL-BioBlitz collecting season.
We would like to thank the national park team for the perfect organization of accommodation, food and transport!

Impressions from the study area:

 

 

TdA Nockberge - Bärengrube. Photo: O. Macek

On July 7 and 8, the ABOL team was present at two simultaneous events: the Day of Biodiversity in Tyrol and the GEO-Day of Nature in Carinthia.

At the Day of Biodiversity in Tyrol, in Leutasch, four very different and exciting study areas were examined for their biodiversity. In a moor area with orchid-rich fens and an intact mountain pine high moor, night was turned into day with numerous light traps – at least for the nocturnal insects and their researchers. In addition, many fireflies, which are rarely observed in such high numbers today, lit our way. The numerous butterfly experts were also present high on the mountain in the direction of Arnkopf, at a species-rich meadow and an interesting gravel area. The beautiful weather on Saturday contributed to rich observations of various animal groups. The final event on Saturday afternoon was well attended and very informative and interesting with a very well-prepared photo presentation which was put together in a very short time. Experts from various fields contributed briefly, from the geology of the study area, a short introduction to iNaturalist to a poem about a moth (Baptria tibiale).

First results were presented, there was a lot to find on the four survey plots: 11 orchid species, about 200 different butterflies, including the rare dusky large blue (Phengaris nausithous), more than 50 bird species, including black grouse, golden eagle and tawny owl, some recordings on the bat-detector and sundew and moorland hawker in the moorland. As part of the post-processing, some more exciting species will surely be added to the species list. Also, the culinary art and the interaction among the experts wasn’t missed out, before we started the long journey home, which was definitively worth it! Many thanks to the organizing team!

The other part of the ABOL team took part in the GEO Day of Nature in the Nockberge. With the ‘Bärengrube’ (translated ‘bear-cave’) near Innerkrems we went this year to north-exposed sites of the biosphere reserve, with a diverse geology and soils, from dolomite to mica schist and numerous boggy areas. Not in every organism group the call for ‘bear’ associations could be served as elegantly as the botanical Lycopodium, a pun that loses its punch line in English. Not even the butterfly experts were successful due to the lack of Arctiinae sightings. The familiar atmosphere and the perfect weather led to the fact that nevertheless nobody was grieved. Moreover, the sightings of all three grouse species consoled even the melancholic about the absence of species like Contarinia baeri.

Our thanks go again to the organizers of E.C.O., the biosphere reserve team and the Ökoteam for the perfect organization and for opening the wide field of bear puns.

Impressions from Leutasch in Tyrol:

Impressions from the Nockberge:

This year ABOL participated for the second time in the ÖEG insect camp with a BioBlitz. This year the four-day camp took place in the picturesque scenery of the Salzburger Kalkhochalpen of the Naturepark Weißbach and led us to species-rich mountain meadows, forest edges, swamp meadows up to alpine lawns.

Before starting into the field, the variety of different fields of expertise became apparent in the form of the stored equipment: Leaf vacuums for bugs, cicadas and various hymenoptera, beetle traps, luminous traps for moths and other nocturnal animals, hoverfly-, wild bee-, butterfly- & dragonfly-nets, sieves for millipedes, mosquito traps and much more. All framed by identification literature, binoculars, taxidermy utensils and a wide variety of collecting tubes.

In a short ABOL-presentation, the relevance of an Austria-wide DNA reference database and DNA-based identification approaches were presented. Interested participants could pick up tubes prepared by the ABOL team to barcode their collected animals. A Malaise trap for a metabarcoding approach was also set up again.

The days were very suitable for professional exchange and a common barbecue with an enjoyable evening in the naturepark rounded off the program wonderfully.

It can be said that the goal of the ÖEG, the promotion, documentation and representation of scientific entomology in Austria, was fully achieved during the four days. A big thank-you to the youth referent of the ÖEG Elisabeth Huber and the team of the Naturepark Weißbach, the schedule was flawless! Thank you very much for having us!

Impressions:

The first two Days of Biodiversity took this year place in Vienna (allotment Villaweg) and Lower Austria (Klosterneuburg, Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald).

In Klosterneuburg, we were exploring species-rich meadows, natural Wienerwald brooks, or the biosphere reserve core zone “Dombachgraben” in fantastic early summer weather. In Vienna, too, the weather left nothing to be desired – only the floodlights of the nearby soccer field competed in the evening with the insect light traps and bat catching, including a night tour. Nevertheless, a Viennese peacock moth (Saturnia pyri) could be observed at a light trap, a highlight for everyone!

While in Vienna all sites in and around the Villaweg allotment were easily accessible on foot, the area in Klosterneuburg, on the northern edge of the Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald, extended over several square kilometers and a shuttle service was provided. The species search started on Friday morning and ended on Saturday noon in a festival of biodiversity with information booths and expert excursions!

Even though DNA barcoding may appear to be a more complex topic at first glance, our ABOL information booth was well visited and we could inform visitors about the different activities of ABOL as well as win experts for the ABOL BioBlitz! At this point we would like to thank the organizers for the great organization!

Impressions:

 

After 2 years of virtual conferences, we were very happy to be able to hold the ABOL annual conference physically again this year. On November 18th the time had come. The 9th ABOL conference took place in the Haus für Natur, Museum Niederösterreich, after the 5th Austrian Biodiversity Forum. As usual, the lecture program was exciting and very broad in topics. The inspiring keynote lecture by Natasha de Vere from the University of Copenhagen on pollen metabarcoding was one of the morning highlights, followed by lectures on different applications of metabarcoding and eDNA barcoding. We were also very pleased to welcome Cyprian Katongo from the University of Zambia to the ABOL meeting and hear about planned DNA barcoding activities in Zambia. The focal points in the afternoon were the detection of disease vectors using DNA barcoding, but also various groups of organisms such as molluscs, butterflies, gentians and the impressive dung fungi. We would like to thank all the speakers for their exciting contributions and the participants for the lively discussions. Unfortunately, with around 55 participants, the conference was less well attended than the conferences before the pandemic.
Special thanks also go to the Museum Niederösterreich for the good cooperation and our sponsors Microsynth, Eppendorf and MDPI Diversity.

       

Impressions of the meeting (Photos: M. Sonnleitner):

Gruppenfoto ABOL 2022

Gruppenfoto ABOL 2022

DNA barcoding workshop - lab work. Photo: M. Sonnleitner

 

DNA barcoding workshop at the University of Zambia

In early October, ABOL held a DNA barcoding workshop at the University of Zambia (UNZA) in Lusaka together with Prof. Cyprian Katongo. The workshop – as part of the OeAD cooperation development research project “DNA barcoding of Zambia’s biodiversity” (led by the University of Graz) – aimed to teach students and employees the method and applications of DNA barcoding. The workshop started with two keynote lectures by Prof. Christian Sturmbauer (Univ. Graz). This was followed by a series of lectures on various aspects of biodiversity and DNA barcoding, held by Stephan Koblmüller (Univ. Graz), Cyprian Katongo (UNZA), Nikola Szucsich and Michaela Sonnleitner (ABOL coordination). After the strenuous introduction, the sampling trip to the Kafue and Zambezi rivers was certainly a highlight for the approximately 30 participants. Equipped with nets, the participants tried to catch different species of dragonflies and damselflies, which was very successful after a short training phase. Odonata are good indicator organisms for the quality of water bodies and are therefore well suited for starting a biodiversity survey. Suitable identification literature is also available. In addition, fish specimens for sampling were provided by the Department of Fisheries. The next day, tissue samples were taken from the dragonflies and fish and the animals were dry mounted/prepared for storage. The DNA extraction was carried out in the laboratory of veterinary medicine under the guidance of Lukas Zangl (University of Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum) and Stephan Koblmüller. The last two days were dedicated to data analysis and interpretation. The participants were able to edit sequence data provided by the course leaders, calculate phylogenetic trees, etc. The participants were enthusiastic and committed to the task until the very end. We hope that the workshop has contributed to establish DNA barcoding as an approach to investigate Zambia’s rich biodiversity.

Impressiones from the workshop:

Geo-Tag Nockberge 2022; St. Lorenzen at Reichenau. Photo: C. Leeb

This year’s GEO Nature Day in the Nockberge Biosphere Reserve was dedicated to wet habitats around St. Lorenzen ob Reichenau. Consequently, there was also some moisture from above on the first day – the herpetologists thanked them with proof of the complete amphibian inventory, with alpine salamander, alpine newt, common toad and common frog. On Saturday, when the weather was beautiful, we went to the peat bog of St Lorenzen, among other sites. Designated as Ramsar protection area in 2011, dragonfly species were also found here for the first time during the Geo-day in the Nockberge. Although the moor, with a high proportion of rarities, is considered a relatively species-poor habitat, thanks to the many experts, around 1000 species were again recorded this year.

The Carinthia University of Applied Sciences used various types of traps, which, for the first time for the GEO Nature Day, are to be analyzed using DNA barcoding. In addition, environmental samples were taken to test an eDNA approach, which is likely to significantly increase the number of species detected.

A great thanks to the organizers and all participants in the ABOL BioBlitz!

A few impressions from the study area:

The long journey was worth it: on July 8th and 9th the Day of Biodiversity, including a ABOL-BioBlitz, took place in the Ehrwald Basin/Biberwier, in the Ausserfern region of Tyrol. In the large valley basin, framed by the Wetterstein Mountains and the striking Zugspitze massif, the local bird sanctuary with the remains of a former extensive moor landscape was collected and mapped for 24 hours by experts from various groups of organisms. Further study areas were the picturesque Weißensee, a moist, steep southern slope and other smaller areas. The sunny weather contributed to the fact that plenty of flying insects could also be recorded. We hope for numerous samples from the participants, from which ABOL will have DNA barcodes created, and thank you very much in advance for your commitment. We would also like to thank the organizers for allowing ABOL to take part once again, as well as for the excellent catering and organization!

A few impressions from the study area:

Tag Archive for: DNA barcoding