LifeWatch ERIC in support of AgroEcology

LifeWatch ERIC in support of AgroEcology Communities of Practice

On 9 February 2021, LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer Juan Miguel González-Aranda participated as speaker and in the discussions at a workshop co-organised by ScienceDigital@UNGA75 and the European Research Area (ERA) Agenda 2021-2027 to present a vision for research and innovation in Agri-food systems and explore opportunities for universities and industry.

The meeting was organised as part of the United Nations General Assembly 75th Anniversary (UNGA75) events, in line with EU Green Deal objectives to achieve a green transition and digital transformation while delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which require a full understanding of the Agri-Food context and, in particular, AgroEcology. 

Dr González-Aranda presented LifeWatch ERIC as a distributed ICT e-Infrastructure which is helping to address the primary challenges outlined in the European Commission’s comprehensive strategy on AgroEcology. It has already played a key role in the establishment of the European AgroEcology Living Lab and Research Infrastructure Network, as key partner of the homonymous H2020 Coordination Support Action, ALL-Ready.

LifeWatch ERIC offers expertise and e-Services in Data Management Platforms & Plans (DMPs), Virtual Research Environments (VREs), and Intellectual Property Rights and Global Data Protection Regulation (IPR & GDPR) technologies. Disruptive Blockchain technologies are also a unique feature of the applications available in LifeBlock – the LifeWatch ERIC Blockchain platform – which guarantee the integrity and provenance of data, and provide a model for the e-Services vital to European AgroEcology Communities of Practice. Structuring e-Tools to assess the socioeconomic valorization of ecosystem services and their impacts is another important aspect to be considered in supporting the complexities associated with the accomplishment of SDGs 2030.

Click here for the complete agenda of the Research and Innovation in Agri-food Systems workshop.

Life in the North Sea is becoming more exotic

VLIZ Alien Species Consortium

A recent study of 14 national and international institutions – the “VLIZ Alien Species Consortium” – revealed the presence of 79 exotic (alien) marine and brackish species in the Belgian part of the North Sea and the Scheldt estuary. This translates to a 15% increase in alien species in these areas over the past decade (2012-2020). An increase in intercontinental shipping, a better monitoring of these species, and movement of species for aquaculture purposes are all likely explanations.

The VLIZ Alien Species Consortium compiled their findings in a book, and factsheets for all 79 exotic species are available through their website (both book and website are only available in Dutch).

The taxonomic information and alien distributions of these 79 Belgian alien species are also available through the Belgian Register of Marine Species (BeRMS) and the World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRiMS), both sub-registers of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). WoRMS, WRiMS and BeRMS are all contributors to the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone.

By compiling taxonomic information, native and alien distributions, and other relevant information (such as e.g. invasiveness, impact, pathways of introduction), the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone offers scientists and policy makers the needed information to analyze the current situation and to work towards possible prevention measures to stop further introductions and spreading of these species. All of this – linked to the currently maintained ‘Watch-list’ that keeps track of potential new introductions in the area – can lead to the set-up of a fast detection system and the development of a control and management framework.

See the Complete Species List here.