02/14/14 11:37 AM

iMarine, a fully-functioning virtual lab

The director of iMarine, Donatella Castelli, talks about it.

iMarine is a virtual lab focused on the world underwater, which aim is to improve the management of fisheries and the conservation of marine living resources using science. This is a technological platform which offers a set of basic enabling facilities for researchers "as-a-service", meaning they that can be accessed from any place via the Internet.

Donatella Castelli, iMarine project director introduced the main characteristics of this  electronic platform, which has been developed under European Framework Programme 7 and involves thirteen international partners. It allows the sharing of data and collaborative analysis, offering specialized functionalities for the management, processing, and visualization of scientific data and texts.

Each virtual lab can be built choosing those elements that are more suitable to the  researcher's objective. The platform is specifically geared towards scientists, but not only for them, because one of its objectives is to support decision making at a high-level, and that is why they have created interfaces for this layer. Furthermore,  tools to connect with citizens have been developed, such as mobile applications about species, that can be useful within consumer markets.

This technology is called GCube and has  385 components, including web services, libraries and portlets. It analyses and processes a large amount of heterogeneous information like geo-spatial and biodiversity data, applying data mining techniques.

iMarine have different methods of accessing information, and modelling and analyzing it.  One of them is a statistical manager, and has been use in a project called Geomar to build statistics about relationships between the length and weight of marine species. With this device, the procedure time has been reduced by 95.4%, from the 20 days necessary to do it by hand to only 11 hours. Currently this script calculates these averages for 37.234 species. The platform offers other facilities not only to request the data-life-cycle, but also to deal with geospatial information or to make comparisons and produce maps.