'GEO-Tag der Natur'

24 hours, 1185 species

On 2 and 3 July 2021 the 6th ‚GEO-Tag der Natur’ took place in the UNESCO biosphere reserve Kärntner Nockberge’ (‘UNESCO Biosphärenpark Salzburger Lungau und Kärntner Nockberge‘) which meant that 24 hours turned into a paradise for naturalists: About 80 researchers and their companions met near the ‘Zunderwand’ area to investigate the biodiversity around the area.

Since more than 20 years the ‘GEO-Tag der Natur’ is Europe’s biggest field research event taking place in several places across the continent. Its aim is to foster awareness for biodiversity, especially for the participants’ local area and, in our case, to explore the biosphere reserve: Anything growing, flowering, creeping and crawling in the creeks or the alpine meadows between of the area was enthusiastically detected.

Whereas the plant species in this area are already quite well researched, there is a need to catch up in regard to invertebrates.

This time, many different experts from the University of Graz, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna and the Natural History Museum Vienna participated in the event: apart from several private researchers, experts for butterflies, wild bees, beetles and one for centipedes were on-site.

Within 24 hours they managed to spot 1185 wild flora and fauna, a remarkable amount considering the location’s altitude and the special location around the rock face: The limestone grasslands around the ‘Zunderwand’ amid the primary rock are a distinctive feature of the Nockberge offering habitats for several adapted plant and animal specialists which can flourish in such tough conditions.

At the end of the event, the researchers, delighted by the unique surroundings, presented their most valuable findings.

To exactly identify them, for several of the collected species magnifying glasses or microscopes will be used. Individual findings will be genetically sequenced thereby complementing the development of the Austrian gene database (project ABOL).

We especially thank the landowners for their goodwill. Together with ÖKOTEAM Graz we will edit all the outcomes and publish them in a brochure next year.

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