Tag Archive for: workshop

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.

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:

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.

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.

The new ABOL workshop offer “BOLD & data analysis” has started successfully.

In February, the first two workshops familiarized already a total of 28 participants with the international Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) and enabled them to get insights into the analysis tools of this platform. During the workshops the participants had the opportunity to work actively with the platform and practice the interpretation of the DNA barcoding data.
The online format of the workshops facilitated cross-border participation – members from a total of 15 institutes were represented from Austria, Germany, Croatia and Italy. Due to the different levels of knowledge, from DNA barcoding newbies to veterans, lively discussions developed about the BOLD, its various functions, details and possibilities and the topic of DNA barcoding in general.
Equipped with introductory information, the participants were able to use a test data set to cope with simple and advanced exercises autonomously and to experience the most common situations on BOLD themselves. BOLD offers good possibilities to solve (simple) DNA barcode analyzes without much effort. In addition, individual and special questions from the participants were addressed, such as the topic of DNA barcoding of museum material, data upload to BOLD & communication with other BOLD users, as well as the weak points of the platform.
Furthermore, we wanted to show how important good data quality is for the usability of a reference database and that BOLD promotes this approach, but the community is just as responsible for constantly improving the quality.

We are very pleased, that the participants also took the chance to strengthen the network of the Austrian and neighbouring biodiversity community in the course of these ABOL workshops.
The next workshop is on March 26th, and more workshops will certainly follow in the future! If you are interested, please contact Oliver Macek by email!

Current information about the workshops can be found on our website:

Dear ABOL community,

First of all a thank you to all participants of our ABOL meeting. This year we decided for the first time for accompanying workshops – thank you for the stimulating discussions, we hope to be able to offer such events again soon. A special thanks to all presenters for the thrilling contributions. This allowed us to get a good overview of what is already running and what is possible with DNA barcoding.

Thanks to all for the many, positive feedback. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope for fruitful cooperation next year.

Our picture gallery gives a small impression of the two days at the NHM (photo credits: A. Schumacher, M. Sonnleitner, should anyone not agree with the publication of one or more pictures, please send an email to abol@nhm-wien.ac.at) ,

Best regards, your ABOL team

Dear ABOL community and biodiversity enthusiasts,

the program of this years´ABOL meeting is now complete and can be downloaded here: program-ABOL-meeting2018.

For further information please visit our conference website!

We are happy that so many people have registered and hope for productive workshops and an exciting symposium!

Your ABOL coordination team



The ABOL coordination team offers workshops to learn how to use the ABOL database. The workshops are designed for beginners, thus previous knowledge about the database software specify or databases in general is not required.

The first ABOL database workshop took place on the 6th of November. The next workshops will be held at the Natural History Museum Vienna on the 21st of November and the 6th of December. However, both workshops are already fully booked, which is why we look forward to offer more workshops in January! The workshop will take 4 hours with an additional 30 minutes break. More workshops are planned for 2018 and can take place at other institutions by request.

Registration is open. If you are interested to take part in the workshops in January, don’t hesitate to contact us!


Please send an email to denise.grau@nhm-wien.ac.at if you want to register for one of the workshops. In case you cannot make it, please let us know in time!

We highly recommend to bring your own laptop, although you can attend the workshops without one. Please make sure to install the database software specify beforehand. Feel free to use the database manual – installation & login, step 1 & 2 for help: https://www.abol.ac.at/project/installation

If you need help with the installation, please let us know.

Documentation as well as example data will be sent to you via email.

The workshops are free of charge.

We are looking forward to having you at our workshops!

ABOL was one focus at the “Workshop alpine landsnails” in Johnsbach, Styria. Nikola Szucsich presented the ABOL project and pointed out the outstanding importance of nature conservation areas for biodiversity in general and thus for biodiversity research and conservation in particular. In this respect the National Park Gesäuse with its numerous endemics was an appropriate location to present the endeavours of the ABOL initiative to register the fauna and flora of Austria by means of integrative taxonomic methods and with a proper database solution.

One of the pilot projects in frame of ABOL, the register of Austrian mollusc species, was practised on site. Within excursions in the national park data on the mollusc fauna has been recorded, which will be part of the database. Besides that, a basic set of data is already available from former studies of the “Working group alpine landsnails” and from the rich scientific collections of the Natural History Museum in Vienna as well. Along these lines reports on the data quality of the collections and legal foundations of collecting as well as presentations about biodiversity studies from other parts of Austria complemented this DNA barcoding focus.

We would like to thank the management of the National Park Gesäuse for mental, organisational and financial support and the “Friends of the Natural History Museum Vienna” for financial support. Finally, we are grateful to all the participants of the workshop for being there, for the interesting discussions and the good mood!