02/18/14 11:26 PM

Pillars of the LifeWatch foundation: EUDAT, GBIF and LTER

LifeWatch will rely on some existing organizations, and they are going to be pillars of this distributed infrastructure, which objective is to connect biology and environmental researchers, and bring useful services to decision makers and citizens. EUDAT, GBIF and LTER will supply essential data flow and usefulness tools to manage the enormous amount of existing information.

Sergui Girona introduced EUDAT, an European initiative to establish a collaborative data infrastructure (CDI) oriented to all kinds of scientists across the continent. LifeWatch is one of the eight research communities involved in this project, which comprises a total of 25 partners, including data centres, technology providers and funding agencies from 13 countries.

Its challenge, as its name suggests, is to build models and architectures for data management, which are placed in distributed sources, and make them interoperable. Specifically, EUDAT should replicate data,  use selected centers for storage in order to guarantee safekeeping, and its repository will provide a data inventory from different communities.

Turning to the Global Biodiversity Facility (GBIF), its Spanish representative, Francisco Pando, explained that is an inter-governmental organization with 53 governments and 43 international institutions round the world. LifeWatch is working closely with GBIF, whose main goal is to provide open and online access to biodiversity data to underpin science.

The most noteworthy thing of the project is that it has developed standards and applied protocols in order to make data accessible. Further to this, they have boosted the digitalisation of collections and literature related to biology. Indeed,  it has more than 429 million data records distributed along 14,632 datasets. Nowadays, its activity is focused on species and specimen-level data, and collections are its first priority.

Finally, the spokesperson of LTER Spain, Francisco Bonet, noted that this is a network for long-term ecological studies, whose main objective is to better understand how ecosystems work and to recognize and interpret environmental changes.

LTER provide tools and recommendations that allow users to analyze their data together with data from other sites belonging to this international network. It is comprised of 430 sites from 21 countries worldwide, covering marine, terrestrial and freshwater regions. Specifically, there is a project about environmental quality and atmospheric pressure assessment across Europe, that works as a case study of the use of this network.