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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):

Dear ABOL and DNA barcoding community,

maybe there it is now – more time to read. To make sure to provide enough reading stuff, we would like to draw your attention to two very exciting publications on the topic of DNA barcoding:
In plants, a reliable species identification with only one genetic marker is not yet possible. Therefore, the sequencing of entire chloroplast genomes becomes increasingly popular. However, this is a very cost intensive way to document regional and national floras. At the ABOL conference, Harald Meimberg (BOKU) presented a solution by means of a multi-marker approach. An alternative method is described in the first publication presented here:
Inger Alsos et. al promote Genome Skimming as a method that, in addition to freshly collected plant material, also makes the valuable treasures in the herbaria for DNA barcoding and other genomic analyzes accessible. The success rates for herbarium material were very high for most plant families – the three DNA barcoding markers (ITS2, matK and rbcL) could be obtained in more than 1000 genera from 160 families. The authors recommend Genome Skimming of herbarium material as an efficient and relatively inexpensive method for creating DNA barcodes and genomic studies.

Citation: Alsos, I.G., Lavergne, S., Merkel, M.K.F., Boleda, M., Lammers, Y., Alberti, A., Pouchon, C., Denoeud, F., Pitelkova, I., Pușcaș, M., Roquet, C., Hurdu, B.-I., Thuiller, W., Zimmermann, N.E., Hollingsworth, P.M., Coissac, E. The Treasure Vault Can be Opened: The Treasure Vault Can be Opened: Large-Scale Genome Skimming Works Well Using Herbarium and Silica Gel Dried MaterialPlants 2020, 9, 432.

The second publication emphasizes the need for standardized quantitative and qualitative insect monitoring in order to be able to recognize changes in the insect fauna in terms of abundance, species numbers and species composition. The authors around Axel Hausmann carried out comparative studies of the insect fauna in southern Germany in organic and conventional farmland using Malaise traps and light traps. Not only the species composition was recorded using DNA metabarcoding, but also the biomass and certain biological traits. Expectedly, for butterflies higher species numbers and biomass as well as higher numbers of red list species were detected in organic farmland compared with conventionally treated agricultural areas. The methodology presented here represents a time and cost efficient standardizable approach to insect monitoring.

Citation: Hausmann, A.Segerer, A.H.Greifenstein, T., Knubben, J., Moriniére, J., Bozicevic, V., Doczkal, D., Günter, A., Ulrich, W., Habel, J.C. Toward a standardized quantitative and qualitative insect monitoring schemeEcol Evol202000112.

Recently, the description of a fungus species of Inocybe section Marginatae, Inocybe antoniniana, was published. Up to now, the species is known from Austria, Germany and Turkey. The preferred habitats of the mycorrhizal fungus are beech forests, partly mixed with other tree species. The new species has been described in detail with illustrations of micro- and macromorphology, as well as genetically using ITS sequences. The Austrian collection stems from Upper Austria, near Vöcklabruck. Thus we can register another species new for science and new for Austria within the framework of ABOL (HRSM project fungi, University of Vienna).

Publication:

Bandini, D., Sesli, E., Oertel, B., & Krisai-Greilhuber, I. (2020). Inocybe antoniniana, a new species of Inocybe section Marginatae with nodulose spores. Cite

Dear ABOL community,

this year, the ABOL meeting took place in Innsbruck for the first time. Gorgeous winter weather formed the framework for the 3-day event, which consisted of the first D-A-CH User Group Meeting (UGM) on the subject of DNA methods in environmental management and the 6th ABOL meeting. The first two days with top-class lectures and interesting discussions were dedicated to the application of DNA-based methods in environmental monitoring and implementation at the legal level. At the method pitch, the participants could explore details about different methods. The last day’s ABOL meeting amended the scientific basis of DNA barcoding and the important issue of creating reliable references that are essential for further applications. The breadth of international participation and the diversity of the presentations ideally reflected the opening up of ABOL to the entire biodiversity community. We thank all speakers for the exciting contributions and all participants for coming!
Special thanks go to Michael Traugott and his team for the perfect organization and last but not least for the world premiere of the first genetic determination of a Krampus at the conference dinner :-)

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope for fruitful cooperation next year.

Best Regards,

the ABOL coordination team
***

Some impressions from the DACH-UGM and ABOL meeting (Photos by Veronika Neidel and Michaela Sonnleitner):

 

“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.

We are pleased to announce that under the lead of the University of Graz (Dr. Stephan Koblmüller) in cooperation with the Universalmuseum Joanneum (Mag. Wolfgang Paill) and the Ökoteam as economic partner (Dr. Werner Holzinger) another ABOL project has started. In the BRIDGE-1 project BIO-PLANBAR (FFG, BMVIT) the use of DNA barcoding for more efficient species identification in the context of conservation conformity of planning processes of major construction projects will be investigated.

In order to estimate the impact of construction projects on local fauna and flora, a very good knowledge of the organisms is required. As a rule, certain indicator groups are used for this purpose. DNA barcoding might simplify and accelerate the step of species identification and complement classical morphological methods, especially in juveniles, larval stages and eggs. However, the prerequisite for this is as comprehensive high quality reference database. This will be generated and/or completed within the project for relevant groups of animals (for example, bugs, cicadas, spiders, ground beetles).

More information can be found here.

Congratulations to the successful project applicants!

The ABOL coordination team

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/.

A fascinating recent publication deals with the potential of species delimitation in Lepidoptera via CO1. An international cooperation, with the participation of experts from the Tyrolean State Museums, could show that DNA barcoding is an efficient approach to determine the vast majority of European Lepidoptera.

Every determination is eased by reciprocal monophyly between species. In the absence of the latter experts are in demand to find possible explanations. The publication gives a nice overview on possible reasons for observed para- and polyphyly between species.

Reference:

Mutanen, M. et al. (2016). Species-Level Para- and Polyphyly in DNA Barcode Gene Trees: Strong Operational Bias in European Lepidoptera. Systematic Biology, 65(6), 1024–1040.

As representatives of a DNA-Barcoding-Initiative in Austria we are often asked for the value of barcoding Austrian individuals in species where DNA-Barcodes from other countries are available. The best answer is given by two papers on moths, recently published by the team around Peter Huemer at the Tiroler Landesmuseum. Some species of leafroller-moths were always regarded to have a holarctic distribution. The enhanced international comparability due to DNA-barcoding allowed experts to reveal them to be species-complexes. With Ancylis christiandiana Huemer & Wiesmair, 2016 one species could be described as new to science, based on individuals from Austria. The same is true for a species of fairy longhorn moths which was found to be a complex of 3 species. Of these, Nemophora scopolii Kozlov, Mutanen, Lee & Huemer, 2016, was likewise described from Austria.

ancylis_christiandiana02_tlm_eckelt_kleinReferences:

Gilligan, T., Huemer, P., & Wiesmair, B. (2016). Different continents, same species? Resolving the taxonomy of some Holarctic Ancylis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Zootaxa, 4178(3), 347–370.

Kozlov, M. V., Mutanen, M., Lee, K. M., & Huemer, P. (2016). Cryptic diversity in the long-horn moth Nemophora degeerella (Lepidoptera: Adelidae) revealed by morphology, DNA barcodes and genome-wide ddRAD-seq data. Systematic Entomology