Virtual labs and virtual research environments are fundamental elements of LifeWatch, and each one will have a special agreement to become part of the new European research infrastructure, on tasks, adherence to standards, protocols and service levels, explains Peter van Tienderen.
The European forum will have its own entities, but also will integrate independent organisations. In both cases, the level of demand will be high in order to build a technological infrastructure of excellence. Additionally, the contracts for the core contributions will include agreements on production, timing delivery and adjustments, and every developement will be guided by a LifeWatch expert group.
Van Tienderen stressed the need to coordinate efforts in five different areas: species observation, data and citizen science, individual and community sensors, species traits and interactions, ecosystem services, and last but not least, earth observations.
In fact, from the user perspective, there is a need to have virtual labs in different areas such as ecosystem services (for example, river basins) or related to types of habitats or movement and habitat use.
He recalled that, nowadays in Europe there are twenty three virtual labs or virtual research environments in development or planned in many different areas, ranging from taxonomic backbone, passing through population modeling, to automated interpretation of sensor observations or to virtual research labs for the Mediterranean. At the end, there is a decision to make about which laboratories is LifeWatch going to need.
As for the LifeWatch's infrastructure, there is the challenge of integrate all useful data and resources for researchers, and build a semantic web that enables an automatic access to the information.