LifeWatch Wallonia-Brussels publishes Wallonia ecotope database

This prototype of object-based landscape description provides more than 80 biotic and abiotic variables for functionally homogeneous landscape units. Online navigation tools help you navigate through the integrated information layers and the database is available for ecological modelers.

In the framework of LifeWatch, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation is financing a research program as a partnership between the Earth and Life Institute (UCL) (link is external) and the Unit for Biodiversity and Landscape (Ulg-Gbx). The LifeWatch Wallonia-Brussels (LW-WB) team combines a strong experience in land cover mapping through with biodiversity modeling expertise.

To share this experience with the biodiversity community and to help biodiversity research, the LW-WB team launched a webGIS, where thematic information derived from remote sensing data is combined with integrated abiotic variables provided in numeric fields. The spatial unit to compute the variables is the ecotope, a small polygon with largely homogeneous ecological functions. Those ecotopes are derived from homogeneous patches of land cover and topography.

The data are currently covering the Walloon Region.

For a download of the data and a description of the currently existing fields, click on the link below.


Aristotle and marine biodiversity

Many people are unaware that the great Greek philosopher Aristotle can also be regarded as “the father of marine biodiversity”. Indeed, this “Linnaeus avant la lettre” spent a considerable part of his life studying marine species. In fact, more than 40% of the animals he studied in his zoological works had a marine origin. If Aristotle were still alive today, he would have made an excellent ambassador for modern marine biodiversity research. To highlight his very early contributions to the study of marine biodiversity, we are featuring a series of five stories that cover different aspects of his life and research, linking his work to current initiatives and projects, and demonstrating that at least part of his work is still relevant and very much alive today…

In recognition of Aristotle’s important contribution to philosophy and science, UNESCO declared 2016 (the year of his 2400th birth anniversary) as the “Aristotle Anniversary Year”. To celebrate his specific contributions to marine sciences, we are featuring 5 stories, linking Aristotle’s scientific contributions to taxonomy, ecology and species distributions to current-day initiatives such as the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the European LifeWatch (featuring the Belgian and Greek contributions), the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and the European node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (EurOBIS).  

Aristotle, the ‘marine Linnaeus’ avant la lettre

Aristotle and his remarkable achievements in the field of marine taxonomy

Aristotle and his work on marine species traits

Aristotle on species distributions and migration patterns

Aristotle and how he contributed to marine animal nomenclature