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6 April 2017

Citizen science project for the research on butterflies in Austria is extended by DNA barcoding project

The 'Schmetterlings-App' (Butterfly-App) of the collaborative citizen science project by 'Blühendes Österreich' (initiative by REWE International AG) and 'Global 2000' (Austrian environmental organization) counts after one year already 11.000 downloads, 2.000 participating users and over 6.000 butterfly observations. The app compares the images captured by users with pictures of known species; the visual butterfly content is published with descriptions (characteristics, where the day moth can be found - environment and geographical position in Austria, if the respective butterfly is threatened, endangered or not endangered,...) additionally at the website schmetterlingsapp.at. If no match can be found, the community (citizen science!) will be asked for supporting the determination (like finding the name of the day moth, information about sightings,...) with crowd knowledge. The rules are very easy - forbidden is to harm the animals in any way. This is also the reason why nets or cages are tabu.

The 'Schmetterlings-App' started last year. Now, 'Tiroler Landesmuseen' and 'Blühendes Österreich' announce the extension of the butterfly project by genetic analysis, DNA barcoding. Aim of the project-extension is the protection of biodiversity. Currently, more than 50% of in Austria living butterfly species are endangered. The reasons (chemical pollution, fewer flower meadows,...) can be summarized: decreasing living spaces. The results of the analysis, the DNA sequences or DNA barcodes will be used for environmentally friendly landscape planning.

The DNA-barcoding project 'Butterflies from Austria' is part of the 'Austrian Barcode of Life' initiative. The data will be integrated into the network BOLD (Barcode of Life Datasystems) for further research projects.


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