Master in e-Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sciences

A new Master in e-Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sciences (EBES) degree will be offered next year by the University of Salento and LifeWatch ERIC, to prepare the next generation of professionals to apply data tools and concepts to ecology, and develop innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to environmental issues. 

LifeWatch ERIC, together with the University of Salento (and soon also the Ionian University in Corfu), is offering students who enrol in this master’s degree the opportunity to combine these disciplines in a single professional development programme in this exciting new field. e-Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sciences (EBES) is the newest International M.Sc. available at UniSalento, as from next academic year 2020-2021, as a double degree and exclusively taught in English.

A new generation of scientists and experts is needed in e-biodiversity and ecosystem sciences, professionals who are trained to apply data science tools and concepts to ecology, and develop innovative solutions to these key issues, and others, by blending the sciences and working in interdisciplinary teams.

Global challenges, like the climate crisis and the current COVID-19 pandemic, call for a deeper understanding of ecological phenomena at various levels of scale, to identify patterns and underlying mechanisms of biodiversity organisation and ecosystem functioning, and design scenarios of future change. 

Science is changing: informatics and data are becoming ever more prominent and are opening up new opportunities to advance our knowledge and provide science-based solutions to society’s needs. We have big data but we lack the ability to take full advantage of them. 

Thanks to the strategic partnership with LifeWatch ERIC, students of the Master in e-Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sciences will have the unique opportunity to spend from 6- to 12-month mobility periods abroad during their second year, taking advantage of dedicated LifeWatch ERIC fellowships or those of the ERASMUS+ programme. EBES students will also be welcomed within the LifeWatch ERIC Partner Institution Network, offering access to infrastructure facilities and Virtual Research Environments to work on their master’s thesis.

Check the brochure (updated 2021–2022 version) and the University of Salento webpage for more info.

Four post-doc positions at URT CNR IRET Lecce

Four post-doc positions have just been announced at URT-CNR IRET in Lecce for research activities in the framework of LifeWatch Italy.

The application deadline for all these calls is 10 September 2020.

Please check these attached documents for more information:

Development of data quality control and data analysis services in the context of e-Science 

Semantic technologies to support the distributed data centres of LifeWatch in biodiversity and ecosystem research

Development of a Virtual Research Environment for the implementation of scientific applications in a distributed cloud infrastructure

Harmonisation and analysis of morpho-functional trait data and the organisation of phytoplankton guilds.

Portuguese Pollinators

Polinizadores de Portugal"

PORBIOTA/LifeWatch Portgual together with a plethora of museums, academic institutions, NGOs, municipalities, schools and other partners in Portugal, is promoting the “Polinizadores de Portugal” initiative to foster public (individual) participation in the collection of distribution data of Portuguese pollinators. 

Polinizadores de Portugal” (Pollinators of Portugal), is a citizen science project launched by CIBIO-InBIO and Parque Biológico de Gaia, and is based on the BioDiversity4All platform, the Portuguese node of the iNaturalist Network. The intention is to better understand the distribution of pollinating species, their rarity and the periods in which flowers are visited. Since January, over 18000 records of more than 1800 species of arthropods have already been submitted. 

The first public campaign took place in May, during the lockdown, when citizens were called on to use a camera or cell phone and register the pollinators that visit flowers at home and surrounding areas, while fully respecting the safety measures in place. Citizens inspected pots on their balconies and in the gardens and more than 5,500 records were gathered in a single month.

Moths and butterflies were the most recorded insects, followed by beetles, flies and the group that includes bees, wasps and ants. 

A new campaign will take place 12-20 September, celebrating Ecology Day on 14 September and International Microorganism Day on 17 September, to help focus attention on the intricate connections between organisms, nature and our daily lives. 

The data recovered comprises mostly information on insects and will be an important contribution to the knowledge and study of the entomofauna of Portugal. It will also constitute a precious tool to assist in the elaboration of the first Red List of Invertebrates in Portugal. Can you help us? We are counting on you too! Here are those links again: BioDiversity4All, and the Launch of the National Citizen Science Project.

Rare European Pine Marten captured by the camera trap network


The camera trap network CATREIN recently captured a European pine marten on image in Heverleebos, a forest south of the city of Leuven, Belgium.

The main purpose of the camera traps installed in the area is to study the presence and distribution of wild boar. To make that possible, cameras are positioned randomly in the larger area of Meerdaalwoud, Heverleebos and the Dijle valley. The camera locations are changed monthly, in collaboration with the local hunters and a nature conservation NGO. The image annotation process is done in Agouti.

Recently, one of the cameras in Heverleebos unexpectedly filmed a European pine marten. Observations of this species have become rare in the region. Twenty years ago, the species was even thought to be extinct in Heverleebos. Nevertheless, the larger region of Meerdaalwoud has always been a suitable habitat for European pine martens. The rediscovery illustrated again the potential of the use of CT in collaboration with local stakeholders as a non-invasive tool to monitor and detect both general and rare illusive and/or night-active species. Camera trap software such as Agouti to annotate both target species and by-catch species creates a great potential for safeguarding these observation records for the future.

The camera trap network CATREIN is part of the Flemish LifeWatch infrastructure. You can read more about the Rare European pine marten captured by the camera trap network here and here.

The tripod frame: mooring acoustic receivers on the seabed

Acoustic telemetry

A new design to overcome the challenges of installing acoustic telemetry receivers on the seabed

Installing scientific instruments in a marine environment comes with many challenges. Equipment has to withstand the physical forces of tides, currents and storms. Researchers have to take into account the effects of biofouling, corrosion and human activities. Even access to the study site can pose its difficulties, as diving is limited by depth and weather conditions. Practical deployment mechanisms are therefore needed to sustain consistent data flows.

Acoustic telemetry enables the observation of animal movements in aquatic environments. Individual animals are fitted with a transmitter, relaying a signal that can be picked up by acoustic receivers. To facilitate a convenient installation of these instruments, the LifeWatch VLIZ team developed and tested a new design, mounting a receiver with an acoustic release on a tripod frame. This frame enables the recovery of all equipment and better yet, improves the quality of the data.

In a blog post published recently on, Jolien Goossens from Ghent University (and formerly LifeWatch VLIZ) tells us about the challenges of installing acoustic receivers on the seabed and this new tripod frame to overcome them. Click here for the full blog post and here for the scientific article published in the journal “Methods in Ecology and Evolution“. 

HIRING | 3 open vacancies

LifeWatch ERIC is looking to hire a:

  1. Scientific developer for essential biodiversity variables workflows 

LOCATION: LifeWatch ERIC Virtual Laboratory and Innovation Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

POSITION: Full-time, 24 months, with possible extension

DEADLINE for applications: 31 August 2020

Information is available on the website, in the Work with us section.

  1. Developer for Cloud-based Virtual Research Environments

LOCATION: LifeWatch ERIC Virtual Laboratory and Innovation Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

POSITION: Full-time, 24 months, with possible extension

DEADLINE for applications: 31 August 2020

Information is available on the website, in the Work with us section.

  1. Scientific developer for ecological applications of LiDAR Remote Sensing

LOCATION: LifeWatch ERIC Virtual Laboratory and Innovation Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

POSITION: Full-time, 24 months, with possible extension

DEADLINE for applications: 31 August 2020

Information is available on the website, in the Work with us section.