IBOY Satellite Projects
Biodiversity Day, 21 June 2002 (website)
The second Backyard
Biodiversity Day on 21 June 2002 is being organized by a UK charity, Action
for Biology in Education, in partnership with the Chelsea Physic Garden
(in London) and with advice and support from a number of UK conservation
charities and learned societies.
on UK children aged 9-12, their teachers, parents, grandparents and club
leaders, this event aims to raise awareness of, and celebrate the richness
and variety of ordinary species of fauna and flora that can be found locally
(ie. within 1 mile/1.6 km) of their homes or schools. We are asking children,
with help from adults, to spend 15 minutes or so, searching for whatever
wildlife they can find, and observing and recording it in various ways
according to their abilities and situation.
We are suggesting
various activities they can do, from looking carefully and minutely at
microhabitats, in order to find all the invertebrates, small plants and
visible fungi that they can, to searching macrohabitats for the presence
of just one or two specific organisms in an online, national survey. Activities
will be posted on the website.
We envisage some
groups of children making nature diaries, others recording numbers and
distribution, yet others creating drawings, poems or essays. Some contributions
will be published on the website, others can contribute to the body of
local natural history knowledge. Children's involvement and interest is
more important at this age, than asking them for exact identification,
though adults can help with this too.
Randall, Virginia Purchon
To herald IBOY,
the National Botanic Garden of Wales in association with the Carmarthenshire
Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership, held a Biodiversity Fair at
the Gardens on Saturday 30 September, 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. At the event,
the Carmarthenshire Biodiversity Action Plan was launched by Sue Essex
AM, Secretary for Environment, Planning and Transport.
There were a range
of activities, biodiversity games and story-telling sponsored by the Arts
Council, relating the activity to the habitat or species on which it depends;
guided walks, demonstrations and exhibitions from people working in ecological
and related areas individuals, government agencies and NGO's. Topics
covered included apple varieties and grafting; tree seed sourcing and
nursery methods; bioluminescence; woods and coppice products and related
wildlife; the marine environment; fresh-water invertebrates; meadow communities,
clay and clay working; the regeneration of heather moorland; greenwood
working, charcoal burning and drawing with charcoal, and species information
bats, dormice, fungi and so on!
The aim of the
Fair was to raise awareness of biodiversity to increase understanding
of and familiarity with the word 'biodiversity' and to celebrate
our existing biodiversity engendering a curiosity to find out more about
it, and a desire to make the choices necessary to retain it.
The Gardens introduced
at the Fair observation projects planned for IBOY. Visitors to the fair
were able to register an interest in being involved in projects during
the IBOY period. Further information about the National Botanic Garden
of Wales can be found at http://www.gardenofwales.org.uk.
a transcript of the opening speech given by actor Philip Madoc
of Arthropods from the Laurissilva of the Azores (BALA)
The purpose of the current
study is to perform a community characterization using standardized sampling
methods, obtaining information on the spatial distribution and abundance
of rare arthropod endemic species in the Azores (Atlantic Islands). Comparative
information on local (Reserves) and regional (Island) species richness
could also be obtained as well as a measure of the habitat turnover of
species composition (the beta diversity component of species richness).
- Establish a data-set in
Filemaker with the current distribution (local and regional), estimated
abundance, habitat occurrence and hosts of the endemic arthropods.
- Generate distribution maps
based on the hotspot theory.
- Calculate a vulnerability
score for each of the Azorean endemic arthropod species (for targeted
- Obtain a rank of the 15
Natural Forest Reserves based in several Conservation Indices (see Borges,
P. A. V., Serrano, A.R.M. & Quartau, J. A. 2000. Ranking the Azorean
Natural Forest Reserves for conservation using their endemic arthropods.
Journal of Insect Conservation, 4: 129-147.)
- Give an integrated picture
of distribution patterns in several ecological functional groups in
the system under study. The species-range-size distributions for arthropods
will be investigated.
Surveys during IBOY have yielded the first standardised list of arthropods
for several Azorean protected areas. 93 endemic arthropod species and
morphospecies have been recorded, collected by pitfall and canopy beating
in 19 Azorean protected areas. This information is valuable for understanding
the structure of the forest arthropod communities and for conservation.
Articles to report the findings are in preparation.
- Borges, P.A.V., Serrano,
A.R.M. & Amorim, I. (submitted). New species of cave-dwelling beetles
(Coleoptera: Carabidae: Trechinae) from the Azores). Journal of Natural
- Barreto, S., Borges, P.A.V.
& Guo, Q. (submitted). A Typing error in the Tokeshi´s test
of bimodality. Ecological Applications
Borges, P.A.V., Aguiar, C., André, G., Enghoff, E., Gaspar, C.,
Melo, C., Quartau, J.A., Ribeiro, S.P., Serrano, A.R.M., Vieira, L.,
Vitorino, A. & Wunderlich, J. (in press). Relação
entre o número de espécies e o número de táxones
de alto nível para a fauna de artrópodes dos Açores.
Martin-Piera, F., J.J. Morrone & A. Melic (Eds.). Hacia un Proyecto
CYTED para el Inventario y Estimación dela Diversidad Entomológica
en Iberoamérica: PrIBES-200. M3m: Monografias Tercer Milenio,
- Ribeiro, S.P., Borges, P.A.V.
& Gaspar, C.S. (in press). Ecology and evolution of the arborescent
Erica azorica Hochst (Ericaceae). Arquipélago. Agriculture Sciences
- Ribes, J & Borges, P.A.V.,
(2001). A new subspecies of Orthotylus junipericola Linnavuori, 1965
(Heteroptera; Miridae) from the Azores. Arquipélago. Life and
Marine Sciences 18A: 1-4.
- Neves, V.C., Fraga, J.C.,
Schafer, H., Vieira, V., Sousa, A.B. & Borges, P.A.V., (2001). The
occurrence of the Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus L. in the Azores,
with a brief review of its biology. Arquipélago. Life and Marine
Sciences 18A: 17-24.
- Borges, P.A.V., Serrano,
A.R.M. & Quartau, J.A. (2000). Ranking the Azorean Natural Forest
Reserves for conservation using their endemic arthropods. Journal of
Insect Conservation, 4: 129-147.
A. V. Borges
The International Film Festival on Insects 2001
From the 17th to the 21st of
October, 2001 the OPIE LR Office Pour les Insectes et leur Environnement,
the town of Narbonne and the Regional Nature Park Project of la
Narbonnaise en Méditerranée will present the fourth
International Film Festival on Insects, FIFI 2001.
The aims of the event are:
- To develop a scientific,
naturalist and artistic approach around insects and environment through
creativity and culture
- To promote film creation
- To implement the knowledge
on invertebrate and their habitats with the objective of promoting their
It will be held in the south
of France, in the historical town of Narbonne, on the seaside of the Mediterranean.
This year, Dr Yves Gonseth,
President of Invertebrate experts group of the European Bern Convention
will chair the International Jury. Jointly and at the same time, the Agronomic
Sciences University in Gembloux, Belgium, will organize its own regional
manifestation on insects.
After the first event in 1995,
the FIFI received the European Year of Nature Conservation
label. Every two years, the selection committee chooses the best films
from the fifth continents. In 1999, 22,000 visitors participated in the
third FIFI on the south of France, in Narbonne. This year, the fourth
FIFI received the endorsement of the ECC, Council of Europe Culture Campaign:
Europe, a mutual patrimony."
The 4th FIFI takes a comprehensive
and interactive approach encouraging broad participations from groups
with diverse points of view. It will include:
- An international audio-visual
competition (documentaries, animation films, etc.) about insects and
- Conferences leading to debates
on agriculture, biodiversity and nature conservation
- An organic farmers
market revealing new environmental friendly produce
- Art exhibitions and competitions
involving a gallery of photographs, sculptures, drawings, and sculptures
made of recyclable materials
- Live shows, short walks,
Insectoïd carnival parade, and choreographed entertainment
- Field trips led by entomologists
and naturalists (picture)
The FIFI is realised with the
collaboration and the support of public institutions and private companies.
For more information contact
Office of the festival FIFI:
Bureau du Festival FiFi, OPIE LR
Hôtel de ville, Service communication
BP 823, F-11100 Narbonne
Tél. +33 (0) 4 68 90 30 27 ; Fax : +33 (0) 4 68 90 30 27
The British Trust for Ornithology
and CJ Wild Bird Foods Garden BirdWatch is an open-access subscription-funded
ecological monitoring survey, collecting data on the wild birds using
private gardens across the British Isles. Established in 1995 and operating
all year round, Garden BirdWatch is probably the world's largest (in terms
of the volume of data collected) 'Citizen Science' project with over 15,000
subscribers. Participants are encouraged and educated to collect and interpret
records of common bird species as environmental indicators. Many volunteers
have no previous experience of environmental monitoring; participation
in Garden BirdWatch is frequently a stepping-stone to wider engagement
in biodiversity monitoring issues and activities.
Garden BirdWatch is funded
by volunteers' subscriptions and supported by CJ
Wildbird Foods Ltd.
Hungarian Biodiversity Monitoring System (website)
the IBOY, Hungarian scientists, educators and volunteers are joining
forces to monitor Hungarian biodiversity, and to make the information
available to a wide variety of stakeholders.
It is increasingly recognized
that we are in the midst of a rapid and catastrophic mass extinction
that increases the vulnerability of the biosphere. The urgent need
for reliable biodiversity data is reflected in several regional
and global programs. For example, the Convention on Biological Diversity
seeks indicators to detect change in biodiversity, and these must
often focus on regional levels to be applicable for decision-making.
To fulfill the national obligations undertaken as a Party to the
Convention on Biological Diversity
biologists and nature conservation experts are joining forces in
Hungary to identify the reasons for the decline of Hungarian biodiversity.
During the IBOY, a staff of
12 experts is leading a long-term biodiversity monitoring program, at
regional and national levels, within the Hungarian Biodiversity Monitoring
System (HBMS). The standardized monitoring protocols were published in
1998, following an extensive development program by the Authority for
Nature Conservation of the Ministry for the Environment, during 1995-1997,
that involved national workshops, expert groups and the internet. For
three years, from 1998-2001, the protocols are being field tested at several
locations. External scientists and volunteers assist in this monitoring.
The volunteers take education courses to learn the standard data collection
methods. At the end of 2001, the revised protocols will be published and
distributed to potential participants of the program.
Monitoring protocols have been
developed for landscape (habitat mapping), vegetation type, plant species,
ground-dwelling arthropods, larger Lepidoptera (butterflies), snails,
macroscopic invertebrates of freshwater, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds
and selected mammals. Biodiversity monitoring is carried out at species,
community and landscape scales. A comprehensive habitat classification
system for Hungary including natural and degraded habitat types, as well
as cultivated land such as wine cellars, serves as a tool for habitat
mapping of sampling plots of 25 km2. Species, community and population
observations are concentrated within these plots, unless the community
can only be found outside the plots.
To date, the results of this
on-going monitoring program are published in reports and data tables available
only to the Hungarian authorities. The aim is to develop an information
system that facilitates the integration, synthesis and interpretation
of data. GIS will enable geo-references biological information. Data accessibility
will be regulated at three levels:
- free access to licensed
- conditional access to special
data for the scientific community and decision makers
- free access to the public
Demeter and Katalin Török
on Habitat and Taxa (website)
This inventory on the habitat and taxa aims to map the biodiversity of
Spain (at a scale of 10 x 10 UTM squares). Presented in six layers on
the Banco de Datos de la Naturaleza webpage, the project will study:
- Freshwater fishes
- Amphibians and reptiles
- Breeding birds
- Terrestrial mammals
- Threatened vascular plants
(an estimated 500 species) and
- Habitats (vegetation types)
Invertebrates will be added in the future. Each of the layers
will be published as a book and made available on the Internet. The first
inventory, freshwater fishes, has been finished and published. Maps of
amphibians and reptiles, breeding birds and terrestrial mammals are well
advanced and will be published in 2002. The two remaining layers, flora
and vegetation, will be completed in 2003.
Naturalia Hispanica website
was formed by the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente of Spain. It is the information
system for the Conservation of the Biodiversity and is part of the Interchange
Mechanism of Information of the Agreement on Biological Diversity.
present state of plant biodiversity of the Danube Inferior Basin
The modifications of natural
vegetation in Southeast Romania are very extensive. In order to obtain
the most arable land possible most of the forests were cleared. Today,
small areas of forests lie in isolated islands. Recently, in the 1970s
to the present, dams were constructed for protection against flooding
along the Danube and along the lower reaches of the tributaries to the
Danube. Due to the dams, an extensive area from Danube Island, Suhaia,
Greaca, Calarisi, and Brates is not flooded any more resulting in the
natural aquatic catchments being lost. Ialomita and Braila Islands, have
been transformed into arable land. The transformation of the land is reflected
has modified the natural vegetation of those areas. This project will
study the changes in the plant biodiversity in the affected areas.
The study of floristic biodiversity
of affected areas in Romania will be accomplished with plant habitat surveys.
The surveys emphasize vegetation community structure and will provide
a base to compare the previous vegetation with the current vegetation.
As a result of these aquatic basin transformations, the aquatic and marsh
vegetation that is characteristic of these regions has virtually disappeared.
The comparison will show the vegetation's' evolution and what measures
should be taken to conserve areas that contain rare and threatened species.
The aim of the project is to draw up a list of all the species in the
study area, targeting the rare and threatened species that are being lost.
of area covered by project
diversity of soil biota and mineralization processes in grassland ecosystems
European grasslands are a diverse
set of ecosystems that are structured by a variety of factors such as
climate, soil nutrient availability, and human impact. Soil communities
are subject to ecosystem constraints, but they also impose their own constraints
on the ecosystem. It is known that there is high spatial variability in
different biotic and abiotic ecosystem components, which are hard to explain
satisfactorily. In recent years, researchers have become increasingly
interested in the role of biological diversity in ecosystem processes.
There are few attempts to quantify spatial variation in factors such as
plant species composition, soil chemistry or invertebrate communities.
The results of these studies point to the need to investigate how the
spatial variation of the habitat links the structure of the communities,
soil properties and mineralization processes in geostatistics manner of
modeling and methods.
It is possible that accelerated
matter mineralization in different locations of the same ecosystem is
accompanied by a decrease of communities diversity, changes in trophic
structures, diminishing body size of consumers and increasing turnover
rate as it was found for stressed ecosystems.
The aim of this project is
to evaluate how changes in diversity of communities are associated with
changes in mineralization processes and nutrient transfer within a grassland
ecosystem. The following variables may be assessed in the Institute of
- Plant species and biomass
- Epigeic and soil invertebrates
(Acarina, Collembola, Diptera larvae, Coleoptera, Nematoda, Enchytraeidae,
Lunbricidae, Formicidae, Araneae, Carabidae)
- Physical and chemical properties
of the soil
- Soil activity indices(enzymatic
activity, CO2 diffusion, N mineralization)
- C, N and other element retention
in plant and invertebrate biomass. CO-operation with European scientific
center in comparative research, exchange data, expertise and experiences
The project will provide new
scientific information on the degree of spatial heterogeneity and diversity
of grassland ecosystem and will develop innovative approaches in understanding
the basis of soil community diversity and mineralization processes.
Petal, Grzegorz Makulec
School of Biodiversity (website)
The Virtual School of Biodiversity
is a response to two emerging global trends:
- Higher education faces new
opportunities from the use of new technologies in teaching. Universities
worldwide are forming global associations, committed to co-operation
in teaching and research that can deliver quality-assured education.
- Promoting education, public
awareness and training in environmental issues can help redress the
problem that biodiversity, a vital resource for all humankind, is being
destroyed at unprecedented rates.
The Virtual School of Biodiversity
seeks to address both trends in a synergistic manner, by developing and
delivering, via the World Wide Web, biodiversity- related courseware and
teaching resources, and to research the technology and educational benefit
of this model of education.
The Virtual School of Biodiversity
focuses on developing student-centered, distributed learning resources,
covering the broad subject areas of biodiversity and biosystematics. The
educational model is of distributed learning via the World Wide Web, with
students and teachers at participating institutions making use of distributed
resources. The Virtual School of Biodiversity commissions international
experts to provide content and resources on a particular topic, which
it develops into tutorial-style courseware. These resources are currently
used to deliver an undergraduate module in biodiversity, which is jointly
taught at the universities of Hong Kong and Nottingham.
The Virtual School of Biodiversity
aims to build up its network of participating higher education institutions
and to increase its portfolio of quality-assured, biodiversity-related
teaching resources. The Virtual School of Biodiversity is keen to offer
its resources to developing countries that might otherwise lack access
to such resources, and offer these resources to a wider audience beyond
The Virtual School of Biodiversity
is a collaborative partnership in the field of distributed biodiversity
education between The University of Hong Kong, The University of Nottingham
and The Natural History Museum, London. The project is lead jointly by
the Department of Ecology & Biodiversity at The University of Hong
Kong and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University
Data Validation Project (VDVP)
The Volunteer Data Validation
Project (VDVP) is an 18-month project that started in April 2001.
The project will:
- conduct an extensive review
of literature concerning the validity of data collected by volunteers.
- establish an NGO methodology
group with experience in using volunteers for data collection, that
will be surveyed and help develop transferable guidelines and methodologies
surveying NGOs and field researchers about the validity of data collected
- conduct three field trials
that will both provide important biodiversity information and quantitatively
assess the validity of data collected by volunteers. The field trials
will use innovative methodologies developed by the projects Scientific
Volunteer Validation Committee. They are:
- Mapping the Marine Biodiversity
of British Shores an existing Earthwatch project led by Drs.
Stewart Evans and Judy Foster-Smith, Dove Marine Laboratory, University
of Newcastle, UK
- Mammal Monitoring at
Wytham Woods an existing Earthwatch project led by Drs. David
MacDonald and Chris Newman, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit,
- A forestry research
project, led by Prof. Jeff Burley, Oxford Forestry Institute
In recent years the availability
of funding for field research has been steadily reduced and scientists
have had to seek alternative sources of support. Such alternative funding
often provides the scientists with both financial and human resources.
Creating an environment where non-specialist volunteers and scientists
can work together for a common purpose, on research projects, is also
an effective method of introducing the public to the scientific community
and its important role in conserving biodiversity.
An advantage of working with
volunteers is that it provides the scientists with a cost-effective method
of collecting large datasets within shorter time frames. Potential disadvantages
are that data collected by non-specialist volunteers may be scientifically
unreliable, and many scientists are put off by what are perceived to be
the logistical and methodological challenges of using volunteers. In addition,
limited information is readily available regarding the validity of the
data collected by volunteers and appropriate methodologies for using them.
As a volunteer-based organization Earthwatch is coordinating a major international
volunteer data validation project to address these issues.
The results of the project
- a scientific paper on the
validation and validity of volunteer collected data
- guidelines for scientists
on how to design effective biological data collecting projects that
These publications will be
distributed to relevant parties, and it is ultimately hoped that the project
will help maximize the full potential of non-specialist volunteers in