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Gewählte Publikation:

Dorler, D; Kropf, M; Laaha, G; Zaller, JG.
(2018): Occurrence of the invasive Spanish slug in gardens: can a citizen science approach help deciphering underlying factors?
BMC ECOL. 2018; 18: FullText FullText_BOKU

Background: The Spanish slug (Arlon vulgaris, also known as A. lusitanicus) is considered one of the most invasive species in agriculture, horticulture and private gardens all over Europe. Although this slug has been problematic for decades, there is still not much known about its occurrence across private gardens and the underlying meteorological and ecological factors. One reason for this knowledge gap is the limited access of researchers to private gardens. Here we used a citizen science approach to overcome this obstacle and examined whether the occurrence of Arionidae in Austrian gardens was associated with meteorological (air temperature, precipitation, global solar radiation, relative humidity) or ecological factors (plant diversity, earthworm activity). Occurrence of the invasive A. vulgaris versus the similar-looking native A. rufus was compared using a DNA-barcoding approach. Results: Slugs were collected from 1061 gardens from the dry Pannonian lowland to the wet alpine climate (altitudinal range 742 m). Slug abundance in gardens was best explained and negatively associated with the parameters "sum of the mean air temperature in spring","number of frost days in the previous winter"and "mean daily global solar radiation on the day of data collection". Precipitation, plant diversity and earthworm activity were also related to slug abundance, but positively. Out of our genetic sampling of collected slugs, 92% belonged to A. vulgaris. Conclusions: Our study showed that citizen science (i) is a feasible approach to record species occurrence in restricted areas across a wide geographical range and (ii) could be more widely employed in order to identify underlying environmental factors of species occurrence.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Dörler Daniel
Kropf Matthias
Laaha Gregor
Zaller Johann

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Arlon vulgaris
Arion lusitanicus
Pest slugs
DNA barcoding

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