Habitat occurrence of the European Pond Turtle in the Danube floodplains (Austria): comparison of the traditional evaluation and eDNA-based method


Katharina Vesely

MSc Student
Advisor: Günter Gollmann

Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
University of Vienna


The threatened European Pond Turtle, Emys orbicularis (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Donau-Auen National Park is the only native, reproducing population in Austria. As a part of the RIMECO project, analyses the spatiotemporal dynamics vertebrate metacommunities in the dynamic riverine landscapes (Danube River), the distribution of the European Pond Turtle will be determined by an eDNA-based method. The sampling is performed by boating using a crossflow filtration capsule allowing to obtain an integrative sample representative of the whole water body. Up to 30 liters of water in the first 20 cm depth was filtered at 23 sampling sites along the shoreline and open water areas. (The eDNA analysis has not yet been completed). These results will be compared to traditional sampling, capture-recapture method using fish trapes. The elusive aquatic reptile with shy behaviour was detected in five out of six waters. Only in two study areas the population size could be calculated probable due the long distance to the nesting places which are concentrated in a few places on an artificial flood-protection dike. Additional, habitat and chemical variables were recorded of each sampling transect. The Construction of a statistical model including all the available variables for each site with relative abundance of the pond turtle as response variable is currently in progress.



© Katharina Veseley