Nature Conservation Special: Guidelines for the monitoring of beetles protected in Europe

In a follow-up to a recent special issue, 8 research articles outline a set of verified guidelines for the monitoring of 5 saproxylic beetle species listed in the Habitats Directive

In a set of eight research publications, scientists tested various methods for the monitoring of five European saproxylic (i.e. dependent on dead wood) beetle species protected by the Habitats Directive. The aim of their work was to test and propose a standard method for each species. A key role in this conservation initiative was played by citizen scientists who made it possible for sufficient data to be collected within a significantly shorter time frame.

The special issue “Guidelines for the monitoring of the saproxylic beetles protected in Europe” is the second in succession published in the open access journal Nature Conservation. Both are produced within the framework of the European Union’s LIFE Programme Project “Monitoring of insects with public participation” (LIFE11 NAT/IT/000252 MIPP) and were presented at the European Workshop held in Mantova in May 2017. Colonel Franco Mason, project manager of the MIPP project, notes that the workshop was aimed primarily at monitoring of saproxylic beetles.

While the first article collection focused on reporting recent findings derived from monitoring surveys across the European Union, the papers in the latest issue are devoted to testing various methods for the monitoring of five selected species of protected beetles, in order to determine the most efficient methods and, subsequently, to propose them as standard methods.

12761_Public participation 2nd tweetCuriously, the public participation in the project was not limited to ecology and entomology semi-experts and aficionados. The team specifically targeted children when recruiting volunteers. One of the dissemination activities of the MIPP project was the “MIPP-iacciono gli insetti” (translated to “I like insects” from Italian), where 3000 students from primary to high school undertook 60 activities per year in order to learn how to locate and identify the target insects.

“Participation by children in environmental education programmes seems to have a great impact on their attitude and behaviour,” notes Giuseppe Carpaneto, Roma Tre University and his co-authors in their introductory article.

“Some studies have shown that children who participate in such programmes are more concerned about nature, want to learn more about environmental issues and are more prone to follow pro-environmental behaviour (e.g. waste recycling) than children who did not participate”.

In another article, included in the special issue, Fabio Mosconi of the Italian Agricultural Research Council and Sapienza University of Rome and his co-authors tested whether a specially trained Golden Retriever could locate the threatened hermit beetle faster and more efficiently than scientists using the standard “wood mould sampling” method.

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Additional information:

About the Life project MIPP

The main objective of the project MIPP is to develop and test methods for the monitoring of five beetle species listed in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive (Osmoderma eremitaLucanus cervusCerambyx cerdoRosalia alpinaMorimus funereus).

LifeWatchGreece launches a Special Paper Collection for Greek biodiversity research

Developed in the 1990s and early 2000s, LifeWatch is one of the large-scale European Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) created to support biodiversity science and its developments. Its ultimate goal is to model Earth’s biodiversity based on large-scale data, to build a vast network of partners, and to liaise with other high-quality and viable research infrastructures (RI).

Being one of the founding LifeWatch member states, Greece has not only implemented LifeWatchGreece, but it is all set and ready to “fulfill the vision of the Greek LifeWatch RI and establish it as the biodiversity Centre of Excellence for South-eastern Europe”, according to the authors of the latest Biodiversity Data Journal‘s Editorial: Dr Christos Arvanitidis, Dr Eva Chatzinikolaou, Dr Vasilis Gerovasileiou, Emmanouela Panteri, Dr Nicolas Bailly, all affiliated with the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) and part of the LifeWatchGreece Core Team, together with Nikos Minadakis, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), Alex Hardisty, Cardiff University, and Dr Wouter Los, University of Amsterdam.

lwg-presentationMaking use of the technologically advanced open access Biodiversity Data Journal and its Collections feature, the LifeWatchGreece team is publishing a vast collection of peer-reviewed scientific outputs, including software descriptions, data papers, taxonomic checklists and research articles, along with the accompanying datasets and supporting material. Their intention is to demonstrate the availability and applicability of the developed e-Services and Virtual Laboratories (vLabs) to both the scientific community, as well as the broader domain of biodiversity management.

The LifeWatchGreece Special Collection is now available in Biodiversity Data Journal, with a series of articles highlighting key contributions to the large-scale European LifeWatch RI. The Software Description papers explain the LifeWatchGreece Portal, where all the e-Services and the vLabs provided by LifeWatchGreece RI are hosted; the Data Services based on semantic web technologies, which provide detailed and specialized search paths to facilitate data mining; the R vLab which can be used for a series of statistical analyses in ecology, based on an integrated and optimized online R environment; and the Micro-CT vLab, which allows the online exploration, dissemination and interactive manipulation of micro-tomography datasets.

The LifeWatchGreece Special Collection also includes a series of taxonomic checklists (preliminary, updated and/or annotated); a series of data papers presenting historical and original datasets; and a selection of research articles reporting on the outcomes, methodologies and citizen science initiatives developed by collaborating research projects, which have shared human, hardware and software resources with LifeWatchGreece RI.

LifeWatchGreece relies on a multidisciplinary approach, involving several subsidiary initiatives; collaborations with Greek, European and World scientific communities; specialised staff, responsible for continuous updates and developments; and, of course, innovative online tools and already established IT infrastructure.

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Original source:

Arvanitidis C, Chatzinikolaou E, Gerovasileiou V, Panteri E, Bailly N, Minadakis N, Hardisty A, Los W (2016) LifeWatchGreece: Construction and operation of the National Research Infrastructure (ESFRI). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e10791. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.4.e10791

Additional information:

This work has been supported by the LifeWatchGreece infrastructure (MIS 384676), funded by the Greek Government under the General Secretariat of Research and Technology (GSRT), ESFRI Projects, National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF).