LIFE FOR SPECIES project has been represented at several international conferences

In September, various international conferences took place in Europe, where the "LIFE FOR SPECIES" project was successfully represented. Each event was dedicated to a different species group and issues related to their research and protection. In total, four species experts from the University of Latvia's Biology Institute represented the project at three different international events.

Dmitrijs Teļnovs, the coordinator for the project's invertebrate species group, participated in the 11th symposium on the protection of saproxylic beetles from September 14th to 17th, 2023, held in Aranjuez, Spain. This series of symposiums and seminars, dedicated to the research and protection of European saproxylic beetle species, takes place every other year with a few exceptions. The aim of the 11th symposium was to share knowledge, experience, and innovative methods for detecting and monitoring saproxylic beetles in Europe, with a particular emphasis on internationally and nationally protected species.

Representing the "LIFE FOR SPECIES" project, Teļnovs delivered an oral presentation titled "The First Red List of Latvian Saproxylic Beetles - LIFE FOR SPECIES Project". The co-author of the presentation was Gunta Čekstere, LIFE FOR SPECIES project manager. Attendees were introduced to the project's objectives, tasks, activities, and achieved and planned results related to endangered and protected saproxylic beetle species in Latvia.

Participation in the symposium revealed that Latvia is the last country in the Nordic-Baltic region without a national Red List for endangered species, including saproxylic beetles. The significance and opportunities provided by the LIFE program for beetle research and protection were emphasized throughout the event.

D. Teļnovs during his presentation. Photo: K. Greķe.

From September 4th to 8th, Jānis Bajinskis, the coordinator for the project's fish species group, represented the project at the XVII European Ichthyology Congress held in Prague, Czech Republic. The congress aimed to share knowledge among scientists from various research fields. The congress featured 9 symposiums, 7 plenary lectures by leading experts in the respective fields, 119 short oral presentations, and 93 poster reports.

During the event, Bajinskis gave an oral presentation on the contribution of the LIFE FOR SPECIES project to the protection of various endangered fish species in Latvia. The co-authors of the presentation were project manager Gunta Čekstere and marine fish species expert Jānis Gruduls.

The congress also recognized the significant role of the LIFE program in funding research and protection of endangered fish species in Europe and provided valuable advice on how to successfully apply for and implement LIFE program projects.

From September 4th to 8th, the XIX European Mycologists Congress also took place in Perugia, Italy. The project was represented by two fungi species experts, Inita Dāniele and Diāna Meiere, thanks to the financial support of the LIFE FOR SPECIES project and the Latvian National Museum of Nature.

The congress covered a wide range of topics, from fungi species protection to their use in medicine. The project experts' presentations highlighted the latest additions to the Latvian Red List of endangered fungi species, made following IUCN criteria.

Dāniele delivered an oral presentation (co-authored by Meiere) titled "The New Red List of Latvian Fungi, Based on IUCN Criteria", informing about the history of fungi species protection in Latvia and the current status. She also introduced the audience to the new Red List of fungi species developed during the "LIFE FOR SPECIES" project. Meanwhile, Meiere participated in the congress with a poster report on changes in the Latvian Red List of fungi, based on IUCN criteria, providing insights into the application of IUCN criteria for evaluating these fungi species in Latvia.

Based on feedback from all the aforementioned project experts, it can be concluded that Latvia currently lags behind other European countries in creating a Red List for species. This reinforces the relevance and significance of the LIFE FOR SPECIES project in the context of species protection measures in Latvia. In general, the importance of the LIFE programme in financing and implementing protection measures for various species and species groups is also widely recognized.

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